This half of Gotham‘s third season has been filled with so many moving parts that, at times, it’s been a bit dizzying to keep track of who wants to kill whom and why. But tonight’s two-part finale sews up those dangling threads rather seamlessly and presents a new and, dare I say, optimistic vision for the future of this city.
It’s fair to say that Gotham has moved at warp speed through some of the developments in its most recent episodes — consider Bruce’s almost-overnight personality makeover with the Shaman, Jim’s blink-and-you’d-miss-it ascension through the Court of Owls ranks, and Ivy’s inexplicable allegiance to Oswald. Tonight, though, that breakneck pace feels almost like a bit of mercy because who wants to spend too much time with Gotham in shambles like this?
Yes, the city has fallen right into ruins, just as Kathryn wanted. As it turns out, the strand of the virus that Mario had were merely a prototype, and Strange has since developed something a lot more efficient at consuming its host. This is why the infected are already merrily running roughshod over the city and why Jim is struggling to stave off those effects in himself. The virus gives volume to that little voice inside a person’s head that tells them to act on their darkest instincts, and his is telling him he’s a killer, urging him to own his rage. Harvey knows that he’s trying to beat it back through sheer force of will, but with the department already overrun with looters and shooters swarming the entire city, Jim can’t be trusted with a piece just yet.
The good news is that Lucius Fox suspects that Strange made an antidote to the Alice Tetch virus (next season, this man needs more lines than just these convenient stroke-of-brilliance asides, guys). After being let go by Alfred in exchange for information on the explosive device that would’ve infected more people than it did, Strange is running scared, knowing full well what’s going to happen to Gotham. But tracking him down isn’t the real trouble Jim and Harvey will have when it comes to getting their hands on his cure.
See, there are competing factions of opportunists roaming about without any supervision right now. Fish Mooney has returned from the dead, courting the Penguin to join her ranks (which makes exactly zero sense, since he killed her, but for convenience’s sake, we’ll have to allow it). She wants control of the city and thinks the virus might be one way to get it. When she finds out there’s an antidote, her interests are even more piqued; that’s gold in a goblet right there. Same goes for Barbara, who’s been just waiting for a chance to truly seize the city. She convinces Ed to put his little vengeance mission against Penguin on the back burner so that he’ll help her “consolidate power,” but he’s still got his own, very singular mission in mind.
Fish manages to snatch Strange from the train station before he can board, and although she’s almost intercepted by Gordon and Harvey, her odd alignment with Penguin starts to pay off, since she’s able to make good use of his henchman, Freeze, to summon up an ice wall and steal Strange away.
Freeze (and Bridgit) are all too happy to help Fish and Penguin deal with Strange because they’ve both still got grudges against the man who made them into “freaks” to begin with. Penguin decides to deliver Strange a taste of his own torture medicine — or, as Strange calls it, therapy — by placing a device on his head that’ll make him feel like he’s having hot lava poured down his decapitated body. So it’s a fun day for everyone, basically.
It doesn’t take long for Strange to cough up the goods on where the antidote serum is located, and great news! There’s enough to cure every person in town. But Jim’s hot on their case, having partially submitted to his viral strength long enough to break through the ice wall, and although he knows it’s risky to keep letting himself be overcome by the virus, he uses his super strength again to fight off Fish’s goons and take her down (again), inadvertently destroying the cure vials in the process. This time, she’ll go willingly into that good night, even though she had aspirations of Gotham-wide domination not five minutes before. Harrumph. Oswald’s pretty upset about it, but Virus-Jim has no time to suffer his histrionics. He has Penguin cuffed and thrown in the slammer at the precinct, along with Strange, and since neither has been infected, they can’t just pry those bars away from themselves like others have…
(Recap continues on page 2)