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Gotham: To Our Deaths and Beyond

After a whole episode of Gotham giving us what everybody wants, it evens the score by giving us one that absolutely no-one wants.

This is a horrible review of a horrible installment.

After my initial dismay - I'm trying to understate myself here - over the misguided storyline of Barbara and the Ninjas, I tried to tackle it for one review by simply pretending it never existed.

Unfortunately, Gotham doesn't give up. It's a show that loves doubling down on its mistakes, and it's absolutely hellbent on force-feeding us this tripe whether we like it or not. In this episode it's like an infectious disease, dragging actual likable characters into the gutter with it.

Want Bruce and Selina? Here's our Barbara Special Sauce with it! Incredibly, the show even manages to take a piss on the relationship between those two, as their roles are reduced to mere window-dressing with no concern over if their interactions are the least bit believable.

I will admit to this: As of current, I am fast-forwarding Barbara's scenes on my first viewing. I've never done that with any part of Gotham in the past, not even with Fish Mooney. (With Peyton List as Poison Ivy, I came really close.) Really good episodes, I "slow-forward", that is, I take breaks every five minutes to take in the whole awesomeness of it all.

There's very little awesomeness to this episode.

Let's start by talking about Bruce, Selina and Alfred, because when you add Alfred's (lack of) perspective to this it truly becomes hilarious.

A short review of history here: Alfred's had misgivings about Bruce hanging out with Selina from day one, and this is despite the fact that Selina has arguably never actually hurt Bruce. This does not necessarily mean Alfred's misgivings have never been justified, but she's stopped short of that.

Here, however, Selina enlists Bruce to help out Tabitha. This promptly leads to him being manselled for the umpteenth time by some no-name League of Assassins dudes who spill his blood to resurrect Ra's Al Ghul, his greatest nemesis.

Selina never once lifts a hand to stop her partners from abusing her former boyfriend throughout the episode, consistently siding with them no matter how shitty they act, but apparently, that's no biggie. Bruce certainly has no problem letting her brush it over. "Why does it have to be about sides?" Well, Selina, maybe it'll stop being about sides once your friends stop kidnapping the boy you're in love with to feed him to various monsters?

Unlike Selina, who was actually on the other side that time around and arguably saved Bruce's life, Tabitha was complicit in the plot to murder him in season two. Now, Tabitha uses him to raise a supernatural villain who's threatened to kill everyone Bruce loves. Yet Alfred has zero objections to help her and Barbara out again ten minutes later. His only response? "Just don't stab us in the back. Again." Please.

Not only that, but after Barbara and Tabitha foolishly steals the knife from Bruce to go at Ra's alone - that would be the "stab in the back", by the way, making Bruce and Alfred come across particularly impotent, but that can't be helped in service of Babs' story - Selina easily convinces him to run after them and try to save them?!

And again, Alfred says nothing - apparently, he'll raise grievance over Bruce risking his life for a no-name thief, but when it comes to villains who've actually threatened Bruce's life and who treat him with the condescension normally reserved for an impudent twelve-year-old, it's a different story.

Surely, at some point there must come a time to step out of the way between people and their own Darwin awards?

Speaking of Selina, the most important development between her and Bruce in this episode should've been that she finds out that Bruce has actually killed someone. Of course, since that is so, it's treated as a mere afterthought, with Selina only quipping how he can't kill him again and "turn into a douche."

Instead, in the obligatory tender moment between the two at the end of the installment, she just tells him that he "did good," right before their fake-out kiss. That's pretty rich. In what universe does Bruce, or any other on the alleged "team good guys", do "good" in this episode? All they do is march from epic fail to epic fail. Ra's is alive. The knife is shattered. Not even Barbara is dealt with, as Tabitha's firmly returned to sidekick status.

In an ideal world, I can think of only one good thing in all of this, and that is Selina wrested from the influence of Tabs and Babs, but this is no ideal world, so I'm not sure if even that will happen.

For Barbara, the only real significance to her arc in this plot seems to be how the show has apparently decided that "she must have bad-ass ninja minions," even if their reason to follow her now makes absolutely zero sense. The women of the League allegedly served the Demon's Head, they served "power" and they hated "weakness." They chided Barbara for being more interested in her petty goals of self-aggrandizing than in rebuilding the League and carrying on the torch.

Now, Barbara actually gives up said torch in what they can only view as an ultimate act of weakness in saving her lover, yet... they choose to follow her anyway, and renounce their loyalty to their eternal master.

No, it's pretty clear by now, the women of the League don't hate weakness. They just hate men.

The second part of the episode is the Robin Hood antics of Lee and Riddler, and that is more serviceable, even if that one too makes precious little sense. I guess the main takeaway is that 1.; it seems Riddler does in fact love Lee, and 2.; Lee does in fact love Riddler, with her sacrificing herself for him at the end getting arrested. Good to get that out of the way.

Why are they in love? Well, Riddler thinks Lee is sort of a villain, and Lee... Yeah, I have no idea what Lee thinks. Then again, this is Gotham, so I guess we need no reason beyond they have the hots for each other.

The fun part of this is mostly Riddler talking to himself, with the "good" Edward gradually bleeding into him, and I guess that's how they'll solve this equation. Of course, Cory will sell it - and I have to point that out; all actors involved do their damnedest to sell their respective storylines, that's never been a part of Gotham's problems - but we'll see if the actual story will be able to keep up with his performance.

This is as far as I can drive my review this time around. I know I haven't covered it all, but it nearly took me two weeks, and I guess that tells you all you need to know about my level of enthusiasm.

Gotham, next week... surprise me. You have Bruce. You have Selina. You have Penguin. You have Riddler. You have the Joker. You even have Ra's. Surely you can find a way to work something good with them.

... please?

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