Gotham Episode Review: "Mad City: Better to Reign in Hell"

by StevenHelmer

A review of the season 3 television episode that first aired on September 19, 2016.

Synopsis: After discovering Leslie (Morena Baccarin) has moved on from him, Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) returns to Gotham as a bounty hunter chasing the Indian Hill escapees. However, when Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) offers a $1 million bounty for Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), Gordon's decision to collect puts him directly at odds with the Gotham City Police Department.


I had planned on watching this episode a couple nights ago, when it first aired. However, a heavy rain storm knocked out my Direct TV connection just as the show came on and, because of that, I was forced to wait until last night, when I could order it and watch it on Amazon. As it turns out, it was worth the wait.

Following last season's finale, I wasn't sure how Gordon was going to be able to return to Gotham City and continue his heroics while Barnes (Michael Chiklis) was still in charge of the Gotham City PD. The decision to make him a bounty hunter was actually pretty clever. Gordon, in that role, is still able to bend rules to catch the bad guys and, while he still has Barnes running some interference, he can do it without fear of losing his job (just maybe going to prison again).

Of course, I'm not really sure just how long this new career choice will last. Barnes' decision not to arrest Gordon for getting his witness kidnapped (and ultimately killed) shows he might be losing some of his bite. And, I'm sure his little coughing fit was a subtle clue of something to come in regards to his character. If/when that happens, I'm sure Gordon will end up back with the police department.

I think the most intriguing thing about this episode had to be Gotham's newest club owners, Barbara (Erin Richards) and Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) because they make a very dangerous team. In fact, the way Barbara continues to show she is criminally insane still makes me wonder if she's the one who is destined to be the infamous Joker with Tabitha becoming Harley Quinn. Obviously, this is pure speculation on my part with no real evidence supporting my theory.

The one character I'm still not warming up to, however, is Fish Mooney. I didn't like her in season one and was glad when they killed her off. Now that she's been brought back from the dead, I still just have a hard time finding something I like about her.

Sure, the writers threw in that whole mind control power thing. But, considering Penguin is equally as gifted at convincing people to do what he wants them to do, without having that power, it just isn't enough to make her interesting. I really hope they decide to kill her off.

I'm also undecided about this new character, reporter Valerie Vale (Jamie Chung). So far, the only real purpose for her, as far as I can tell, is as a potential love interest for Gordon. If that's the case, then they should have just brought back Leslie. She's new so I'll give the series more time to give her some depth. But, I really do hope she brings more to the table.

Final Opinion

I'm guessing the whole bounty hunter thing won't even last until the mid-season break. But, overall, I thought this was a good season premiere. We got a good introduction to all the players, both new and established, and the battle lines were drawn. I'm definitely looking forward to next week's episode as a result.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 09/21/2016, StevenHelmer
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