Gotham Episode Review: "Mad City: Red Queen"

by StevenHelmer

A review of the season 3 television episode that first aired October 31, 2016.

Synopsis: The Mad Hatter (Benedict Samuel) decides to get revenge on Gotham City by crashing the Founder’s Day dinner and poisoning the city’s elite with his deceased sister’s tainted blood. It will be up to the GCPD to stop him since Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) has been subdued by a psychedelic drug known as Red Queen and, in his hallucinating state, is reexamining his choices.


When the Mad Hatter was first introduced this season, I was thrilled. And, overall, I do still think he’s one of the better bad guys Gordon and company have faced on this series. However, as the season has progressed, I think he has worn out his welcome. Assuming his arrest and the decision to send him to Arkham Asylum lasts for a while; the murderous Jervis Tetch couldn’t have been subdued at a better time because his character has simply lost some momentum.

Part of the reason I feel this way is, for unexplained reasons, the writers decided make him a common criminal. His appeal, early on this season, was largely due to his ability to hypnotize people into doing his bidding, including the show’s heroes. But, for some reason, he decided to stop doing that and, instead, has been choosing to use a gun to threaten people.

If he would have stuck with the former, he could have simply hypnotized the city’s elites and made them voluntarily drink the poisoned wine or turned the police back when they entered the room to interrupt him.  And what was up with him having to resort to bribery to get a security guard to leave his post? It’s as though he suddenly just forgot he had a really cool ability.

I’m still a bit mixed about Gordon’s psychedelic trip and his re-evaluation of his life, mostly because it’s something that has been done before and the end result was kind of predictable. However, I do have to admit, I liked the twist involving Barbara (Erin Richards) as his guide through his self conscience. He obviously still has some seriously twisted unresolved issues with her.

The part with Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) and his new girlfriend, Isabella (Chelsea Spack) proved to be more entertaining than I was expecting it to be. I’m still undecided about Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) acting a bit like a jealous school girl but I suspect her resemblance to the deceased Kristen Kringle isn’t a coincidence. In fact, am I the only one who thinks she looks an awful lot like a younger version of the mysterious Kathryn (Leslie Hendrix)? It’ll be interesting to see where this new relationship goes.

Final Opinion

It wasn't an awful episode. But, I think it would have been considerably better if the writers wouldn't have allowed the Mad Hatter to lose some steam and, at very least, let him use his hypnotic ability. Because they didn't, I really can't rate this much higher than average.

My Grade: C

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Updated: 11/01/2016, StevenHelmer
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