Gotham: Ace Chemicals

Bruce: "Jeremiah, this ends tonight!"
Jeremiah: "No Bruce. Now it begins!"

At the end of the day, I realize Gotham wasn't just trying to tell the story of The Joker's origin (for the sixth time now I believe) in Season 5 – they were also showing a very devoted competition between Selina and Jeremiah to become Bruce's one true love interest.

Judging from the title 'Ace Chemicals', many, and rightfully so, were led to suspect that this episode would depict at long last the iconic genesis for The Joker's bleached mug and green locks, and yet, I took a slower pace to finally starting my own takeaway from this episode, simply put, because I was curious to see how other viewers were handling this episode's turn of events. And to my surprise, I was seeing frustration stemming from other's reviews, not as a result of the episode itself, but because of the showrunners' staunch assertion that Jeremiah was in fact not The Joker, even in spite of the depiction we just witnessed of one of the character's most exemplary origins. Personally, I don't see what all the fuss is about, because I've always believed it is important to judge a product based on what you as the viewer take away from it, and not what a showrunner or writer says they intended for the takeaway. So for the time being, my judgment is no longer reserved and I'm pretty content with Jeremiah being effectively Gotham City's official clown prince of crime.

To recap, Joker's maddened state has led him to believe that he needs to be ingrained in the tragedy of Bruce's parents' death, because if he cannot bond to Bruce through love, then he'll try to do so through hate. This, combined with his antics involving the recreation of Thomas and Martha's likeness in two ordinary civilians and having Mad Hatter hypnotize Alfred into becoming Jeremiah's loyal servant, felt wonderfully in spirit for Joker's crazed logic, even if at times it felt a little too contrived and convenient. And I express sympathy too for Alfred, it doesn't feel that long ago since he was abducted and tormented by Joker and Scarecrow back in 'One Bad Day' – when does he finally get to retire from all this action so that he can hold a silver plate, announce that "dinner is served", and call it a day?

I also enjoyed, as well as finding it oddly appropriate too given its premise, Joker's incorporation of, or rather his own incorporation into The Mark of Zorro to further taunt Bruce, and the twist right to the very end that Joker was intending to use a hypnotized Gordon and Lee as part of his ploy as well had me taken aback. Unfortunately, 'Ace Chemicals' had to be the first episode this season that possessed such a divide between its two subplots of the week in terms of enjoyment. As a matter of fact, it's practically a crime that the Bruce-Joker subplot gets less screentime than the subplot regarding, yes, you guessed it, another love triangle between Gordon, Barbara, and Lee. Because Gotham's only gone the extra mile to do that every other bloody season before.

After Barbara revealed to Gordon, in front of Lee no less, that she was pregnant last week, I was holding out that Lee may actually be the mature adult here and not let the revelation affect her in any way.

But silly me, I was foolish enough to think Gotham's writers could resist such an opportunity to fill up a quarter of this episode with dialogue so played out, Gordon even admits firsthand that he's going to recycle his words last spoken to Lee in the Season 4 finale. And if I'm being fair, in regards to Lee's stance, any person in the right frame of mind could reasonably say Gordon's proudest moment would not be sleeping with a mob boss who has attempted on multiple instances in the past to murder him. But that doesn't mean Lee's off the hook either. For example, I was shocked that Gordon never called her out on her hypocrisy by bringing up how she spent half of Season 4 sleeping with the riddle-obsessed psychopath that not only framed Gordon for the murder of a police officer, but also indirectly led to Lee's miscarriage in Season 2.

The rest of this episode features various and piteous attempts on Oswald's life. Selina and Barbara both still want revenge on Oswald for killing Tabitha, but this late into the season, not only do these sudden yearnings for Oswald's head seem a bit abrupt, but I'm struggling to remember the last time Selina and Tabitha even shared a scene since the spring premiere of Season 4 last year. Furthermore, Barbara is hastily, and I do mean hastily, talked into sparing Oswald in a shoehorned effort to make it seem as if Barbara suddenly wants reform for herself for the sake of her unborn child. I am thrilled though that Oswald and Ed are going to be working together again to abscond from Gotham City, though I have a sneaking suspicion that Oswald's offer to Ed concerning an escape was really, in disguise, a romantic plea to run away with him. I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't watch a spinoff featuring those two on the lam.

Aaron Studer loves spending his time reading, writing and defending the existence of cryptids because they can’t do it themselves.

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