Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages…the Haly Circus has come to Gotham! And with the Loyd/Grayson families headlining, we’re given a lot of Easter Eggs for the future of this fair city but not much else.Explaining the circus brawl to Captain Essen
For date number six (or is it five?) Gordon and Lee Thompkins have a night out on the town, enjoying the circus. Everything is going swimmingly until some drunken clowns attack the main attraction—the Flying Graysons. From there, it devolves into a serious brawl in which the off duty detective has to bring out his GCPD credentials to break up the ruckus. From there he probes into what caused the rhubarb when Mary Loyd, Juliette to John Grayson’s Romeo, mentions it’s probably the fault of Lilah. With wannabe detective Lee as his backup, Gordon searches for snake charmer Lilah only to find her redhaired son, Jerome, and her prized snake, the latter of which he uses to sniff out Ms. Lilah, who’s dead as dead can be. What had originally been nothing more than a senseless but amusing family feud has now become a full blown murder mystery.
While Fish Mooney—prisoner in God knows where—rallies her new ‘subjects’ against the marauders coming to take individuals for experimentation and Oswald’s club is bringing in very little business (that’ll happen when you allow your less than talented mother time on the mic), Gordon is digging deeper into the case, bringing the entire stage of circus performers in for questioning. The two patriarchs, if you will, are Owen Loyd and Alphonse Grayson. Loyd seems to be a drunk while Alphonse and his brood are looked at as arrogant pricks and they’ve continued a feud first started around the time of the Great War over a horse. Yes, just like the majority of real life feuds, the origin of this one brings into question the intelligence of all those involved.
Gordon briefs the Captain on the investigation and Nygma and Lee have nailed Lilah’s time and cause of death. The primary suspects are Owen and Alphonse, both lovers of the dearly departed, and pointing fingers at the other for her death. Then in walks Mr. Cicero. A blind fortune teller who seems to be in tune with the supernatural, gives the detectives Lilah’s message from the great beyond. “The servant of the devil lies in the garden of the Iron Sisters.” Gordon believes the message to be nothing more than a load of shiitake but Lee’s not so dismissive of the message and lets her detective boyfriend have it for his lack of openness in the matter.
Oh, and Barbara Kean has come back to Gotham, ready to recapture the heart of her beloved Jim. She’s even using Selina Kyle (still crashing at the penthouse with Ivy) as her fashionista, wishing to wow Gordon with the perfect ensemble. Kean’s purpose may be the personal but for Bruce Wayne, his focus lies in the professional as he’s called a meeting with Wayne Enterprises Board, one that Alfred’s totally against and reminds young Bruce that addressing the Board with his concerns may turn out to be a deadly mistake for the last surviving Wayne.
Their mini tiff behind them, Jim and Lee are enjoying a quiet meal when the good doctor has an epiphany on the blind fortune teller’s words: the “Iron Sisters” point to Arkham Bridge and the “garden” must be the park just below the structure. Somewhat strong-armed by his exuberant and determined girlfriend, Jim searches the park with Lee in tow…and find the hatchet murder weapon, inscribed with the Hellfire Club’s (not of the Marvel persuasion) initials. Gordon brings Cicero back into the station for questioning and eventually pulls Jerome in as well. If you didn’t already know, Jim Gordon’s pretty good at the detective gig. He shows it this time by assembling the entire sordid puzzle. Jerome murdered his mother and Cicero helped him cover it up. Why? Because Jerome’s his son. Poor Jerome…he’s distraught by the revelation, until he’s not. His transformation is swift and a revelation as he gives the audience a preview into the mind of the psychopath Batman will come to know as his greatest enemy; The Joker.
Lee’s shaken by everything she’s seen but is also energized. After suggesting they go home, she and Gordon kiss. Unseen by the pair, is Barbara Kean, ready to make things right with Jim. She’s too late though and storms off, forced to live with her mistakes.
On the subject of mistakes, Zsasz pays Oswald a visit with a message from Don Falcone. Despite his wit, it’s plain to see that Oswald knows squat about running a club thus they’ve decided to help him out with it. Butch Gilzean is back in the fold and ready to use his know-how to make the club all that it can be. Though Oswald balks at the suggestion, terrified of Butch, Zsasz assures him that Butch “will do exactly what you say.”Bruce takes it to the Wayne Enterprises Board
Things wind down with Bruce’s meeting with the Board. They initially see it as pandering to a young, naïve, and ignorant child but quickly realize this isn’t a typical prepubescent teen. He wants to know more about the underworld involvement in the Arkham project as well as chemical weapons manufacturing, both which point to executives higher up on the Wayne Enterprises food chain being on the take. He promises more to come, a warning shot across the bow of the Board’s smug faces. His is a small victory, just as Fish Mooney’s is as well. She’s turned things around for herself and, possibly, her ‘people’. She’s secured a meeting with the Manager, the brains behind her capture.
The Future…Now and Then
- Once again, ‘Gotham’has pulled out all the comic stops, exploring two plot points which will become a major part of Batman lore. The inclusion of the Haly Circus is the genesis for both points. First is the Loyd/Grayson bloodlines. For those not in the know, Dick Grayson, the Boy Wonder and Batman’s eventual sidekick, was born to John Grayson and Mary Loyd Grayson. This couple was a part of the circus and, after all is said and done, are engaged by episode end. The second and somewhat forced (in my opinion) introduction was Jerome, son to the snake charming and free-loving Lilah and the blind fortune teller, Cicero. If not for the promos for the episode, no one would have thought twice about young Jerome. As it is, though, his twisted, vulpine visage and chilling laughter was our first taste of the Joker.
- A bit more on Jerome’s metamorphosis. Though entertaining and decidedly off-putting (in a good way), it all seemed a bit too forced. Yes, the Joker himself is an over-the-top character but that doesn’t mean his introduction needed to be so overt. But as things go, their heavy-handed approach to the Joker was not nearly as bad as…
- …the continual need to show a young Bruce Wayne as a miniature adult. This week he took on the Board, demanding answers for their corruption (who’s not corrupt in this city?). I have no issues with them showing the kid as a bit more mature than his peers but continually reminding us of these traits that will make up the ‘world’s greatest detective’ is wearing a bit thin.
- One thing decidedly NOT wearing thin is the Jim Gordon/Lee Thompkins relationship. The chemistry between the two is extremely strong and Lee’s persona brings out the best in Jim. His relationship with Barbara Kean always seemed to contain a bit of distance, lacking any warmth or affection. There’s a playfulness between Jim and Lee that was never a part of his partnership with Barbara. One can only guess as to where things will go from here but one thing I’ve always believed is that while source material is important, there is no need to follow things to the letter. Let’s only hope the writers of ‘Gotham’believe this as well and fight to keep Lee Thompkins in Gordon’s future for a long time…