Gotham Episode Review: "Mad City: Follow the White Rabbit"

by StevenHelmer

A review of the season 3 television episode that first aired October 24, 2016.

Synopsis: The Mad Hatter, Jervis Tetch (Benedict Samuel) is back and is seeking revenge on Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) by threatening to kill either Valerie Vale (Jamie Chung) or Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) and forcing Gordon to pick which one. Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) realizes he is in love with Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) and struggles to find a way to tell him.

Review

So far, I've enjoyed this new season of "Gotham" and, in particular, the addition of the Mad Hatter. However, I have to say I wasn't as impressed with last night's episode as I thought I would be.

I'll start out with the whole "choose one to die" scenario he offered Jim Gordon. How many other times have we seen that play out over the course of other shows/movies? In other words, it's been done before. And, in all honesty, his decision really wasn't unexpected. We all know he's still hurting from Leslie leaving him and I just don't see any situation, especially since she is engaged to another man, where he chooses her over his existing girlfriend.

I also feel as though Tetch was a bit underutilized in this episode. He has the ability to control people through hypnosis yet he doesn't take advantage of that gift and use it on Valerie and Leslie? Why pull the trigger when he could force them to do it themselves? He could even have created a scenario where they will kill each other if Gordon doesn't shoot one of them. Instead, we had a dull tea party with a predictable outcome.

On the subject of the Mad Hatter, I'm still waiting for an explanation about his Alice in Wonderland fascination. I figured it would be something he would get from being exposed to his sister's blood. Instead, he seems to have come up with it completely on his own. I'm not opposed to this. I just would like to hear why.

The part with the Penguin preparing to come out of the closet and confess his love for Nygma honestly wasn't that unexpected since, up until this point, their relationship seemed to be heading in that direction. I'm still a bit undecided about how I feel about this, however. I'm not really opposed to one of the main characters being gay. But, for very hard to explain reasons, I'm just not sure I like the idea of Penguin being that character.

That being said, I do see this creating some serious tension between him and Nygma, especially since there is a Kristen Kringle (Chelsea Spack) doppleganger capturing the latter's attention (I personally think she's one of his split personalities). When that happens, things really could get ugly and fun to watch as a result.

Final Opinion

As I said, I'm not really sure I liked the way the writers used the Mad Hatter in this episode, especially the decision not to have him hypnotize any of the main characters. I'm just hoping this was an unavoidable consequence of setting up a much broader storyline and not a sign of things to come.

My Grade: C

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Updated: 10/25/2016, StevenHelmer
 
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