In this episode of Gotham, “Mad City: Blood Rush,” Barnes fights to maintain control, Gordon returns to work and is immediately thrown into a grisly case and awkward run-ins with his ex, and Penguin convinces Nygma to break up with Isabella.
The formerly squeaky clean, by-the-book Barnes was a dot every “I” and cross every “T” kind of guy, but he’s been going through some changes ever since being exposed to Alice Tetch’s toxic blood. And his ability to control his anger is diminishing — not that the criminals on the receiving end of his wrath are people to feel sorry for.
FOX Sets Gotham Winter Finale Date and More >>>
Barnes Takes the Law into His Own Hands
The latest criminal is a shady character that Barnes encounters on his way home from the store. He notices the guy loading something into a van. And instead of letting the suspicious character go, Barnes follows him, only to find the guy disposing of a corpse. The guy claims he’s just a “cleaner,” meaning someone else committed the murder, a man who goes by the name of “The Toad.” This guy’s just been paid to chop up the body and dispose of it in a bathtub full of acid. The guy begs to be arrested, but Barnes says they’re way past that.
Nygma is Haunted By His Past
Nygma and Isabella’s relationship is going well. A woman who likes riddles and doesn’t care that she’s dating a killer is certainly a keeper. But Isabella’s resemblance to Miss Kringle is starting to take a toll on Nygma. It turns out he’s got a guilty conscious after all. Now he’s even having visions of his former flame; that can’t be good for Nygma’s sanity, which he’s holding onto by a very thin thread. She’s taunting him as much as his darker half did and questions how long before Nygma snaps and Isabella suffers her same fate.
Barnes Looks for Answers
Gordon is back on the job, and he and Bullock head to a warehouse where the body of Paulie Pennies — a clean-up guy for the Gotham underworld — has been, for lack of a more creative word, whacked. Paulie met a grisly end. Captain Barnes literally ripped Paulie apart. Their initial suspicions that Paulie’s death could have been at the hands of a competitor go right out the window.
The Only Cure is Giving In
Barnes goes to see Tetch, who is in police custody. Barnes wants to know how to beat the virus, but Tetch isn’t going to hand over information without something in return. Tetch says that Alice’s virus makes the darkest parts of a person sing. He wants to know what darkness Alice has brought to life inside Barnes. Barnes responds that it’s his anger at criminals and the guilty, but Tetch says that what he sees is violent, bloody rage.
Tetch tells Barnes there is a cure — he needs to give in. And if Barnes thinks things are bad now, they’re only going to get worse. Tetch promises that even as the virus grows stronger, it waxes and wanes. Barnes may think he’s winning, but then he’ll hear the voices — dark voices from deep within who will help him see the world as it really is. Soon, there will be no Captain Barnes, only Alice.
Gordon has to speak to Lee about the bodies found at the crime scene. Things are a bit awkward. Gordon breaks the news that he and Vale are no longer an item. And Lee has to admit that her fiance isn’t thrilled that she and Gordon are working together again. But they get past the personal stuff and move on to business. One body — the one Paulie was disposing of when Barnes stumbled across him — had his face removed with a razor or scalpel. Definitely the work of a professional.
Gordon and Bullock meet with Barnes to discuss the case, and Barnes is faced with pictures of his own handiwork. Gordon shares that the John Doe had his face removed to hide his identity, but it doesn’t make sense since the acid would have taken care of that anyway. Barnes announces that he’ll be running point.
The Worst Wingman Ever
Nygma confides in his dear pal Penguin that he’s concerned Isabella’s likeness to Kristen could unleash the killer inside of him. Penguin can hardly contain his glee. If Nygma really loves Isabella, he’ll break up with her in order to protect her. But Nygma can’t do it, so he asks Penguin to do it for him. He only asks that Penguin be gentle.
Penguin wastes no time in calling on Isabella, who is just about to leave for a conference. He tells Isabella it’s over. He questions what the two really have in common besides her physical similarity to his ex, a predilection towards order and a facility with riddles. Nygma is exceptionally intelligent and imaginative who deserves to be appreciated on his own level, and Penguin makes it clear Isabella isn’t that person. Best to end things now. Isabella agrees that she doesn’t deserve Nygma, but she isn’t going to let him go. They love each other, and that’s rare. Penguin understands because he loves Nygma too; she can see it.
Penguin loses his patience and orders Isabella to let Nygma go. She plans to write to him and let him know he’s got nothing to fear, but she’s not going anywhere. She knows the fact that she looks like Miss Kringle is vexing Nygma, but she’s going to put his mind at ease.
Quiz: Which TV Vigilante Are You? >>>
The Toad and the Man Who Steals Faces
Barnes tracks down Toad on his own. He finds the mid-level thug in some dive bar. Toad isn’t intimidated by Barnes or his badge, which leads to a physical altercation. Toad finds himself with a broken beer bottle at his throat. Barnes wants to know who the identity of John Doe is, but the Toad swears he’s just a go-between. The man Barnes wants is Dr. Symon. He’s a plastic surgeon who has a side business providing new faces for people in trouble. The Toad doesn’t know where the faces came from; he was just tasked with getting rid of the bodies.
The Toad leads Barnes to Dr. Symon, who is just about to claim another victim. Barnes tells Symon he’s under arrest, and the good doctor surrenders. But Barnes sees the faces of other victims preserved in jars in Symon’s macabre little lab. His anger escalates, and he demands to know how many faces Symon has taken. The smug doc won’t talk without an attorney, and Barnes begins to hear voices saying “guilty” over and over.
Fox tells Bullock and Gordon that Lee wants them to pay particular attention to the level of strength it would take to detach Paulie’s head from his body — extreme. As for the John Doe, they haven’t gotten any hits on his prints, but a puncture mark in his arm would indicate he had been drugged. Fox plans to run a toxicology report.
Gordon wonders why Fox would bring him the M.E.’s findings and not Lee since Lucius is in forensics. Fox states that Lee has left for the day. Carmine Falcone is throwing her and Marco an engagement party, to which Gordon is most definitely not on the guest list.
Barnes arrives, with Dr. Symon fully intact, so he was able to control himself in spite of the evil sweet nothings being whispered in his ear. Barnes tells Gordon that Symon had a girl on the table. If he’d arrived just a few minutes later, he’d have been too late. Gordon reassures Barnes that he did it, but Barnes asks Gordon if he’s ever had the feeling he won the battle but he was going to lose the war. Gordon replies that wars are fought one battle at a time.
An unexpected guest takes Lee by surprise at her engagement party. Barbara has tagged along as some man’s plus-one. She’s ready to put their differences in the past. Yes, she tried to kill Lee, but she’s willing to forgive and forget that Lee beat her unconscious. Lee is about to have Barbara escorted out when she agrees to go willingly. Before making her exit, Barbara asks if Lee misses being with Gordon. Does she miss being close to all that heat, the darkness and light? Lee assures Barbara that she has no regrets about parting ways with the tortured Jim Gordon. Barbara finds it sad that Lee actually seems to believe what she’s saying.
The wheels of justice are heavily greased in Gotham. Bullock informs Gordon that Symon has walked. The girl refuses to press charges — paid off for her silence — and a judge ordered Symon’s immediate release. This particular psychopath is heavily connected. In addition to being a “faceman” for the mob, he also injects Botox and implants into Gotham’s elite. Fox confirms that the toxicology report ties Symon to the John Doe murder, so Bullock and Gordon go after the doctor.
Also in attendance at Lee and Marco’s engagement bash is Captain Barnes. Carmine Falcone introduces himself, but even though the two men have never met, Barnes know Falcone by reputation. Barnes lets Falcone know that he’s not above the law; nobody is. Falcone responds that in his experience, men possessed of such self-certainty are often trying to convince themselves.
Barnes makes a call to the precinct, telling one of the officers that he’s bringing Gordon the man responsible for Paulie Pennies’ murder. As he hangs up, he spots Dr. Symon. Barnes’ eyes go green, his face vein-y and the word “guilty” starts echoing in his head — only this time, he speaks it out loud.
Bullock and Gordon arrive at Lee’s party to arrest Symon. Lee questions if it can wait. If Symon showed up there, he isn’t exactly running. Mario intervenes, and Gordon informs him there’s a murder suspect among their guests, Dr. Maxwell Symon. Mario states that if Gordon tries to arrest Symon, he’ll have to fight off every woman there. Gordon replies that Symon is a murderer, and he’d be curious to know how Mario’s father knows him, but Mario is confident that Carmine and Symon’s relationship is strictly legit.
Bullock heads into the party to snag Symon, Lee returns to her guests and Mario decides he wants to have a few words with Gordon. Mario wants Gordon to admit that he still loves Lee. He warns Gordon that he loves Lee, and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her. Gordon advises him to lose the jealousy; it’s weak. Mario punches Gordon, and Gordon takes it on the chin — literally — for Lee.
Barnes finds Symon in the bathroom and begins to beat the crap out of him. Symon calls Barnes insane, but the Captain has had an epiphany. All these years, he put his trust in the system and the law, holding himself back from what he really wanted to do. Barnes grabs Symon by the throat and begins slamming him against the wall. Symon says Barnes has to follow the law. Barnes insists he is the law: judge, jury and executioner. He throws Symon through the wall, who falls to his death.
Nygma arrives at Isabella’s. Penguin informed him of Isabella’s position, but he still believes that them breaking up is for the best. Isabella says she understands Nygma’s fear because it comes from a place of love. She knows he won’t hurt her. She emerges from her bathroom looking exactly like Miss Kringle. (She found old photos in the paper.) She forces Edward to face his darkest fears, even placing his hand around her neck. Nygma passes the test.
Penguin is impressed that Isabella fought for Nygma. It’s just too bad she underestimated her opponent. Poor Nygma is going to be heartbroken, but luckily, he’s got a shoulder to cry on.
One of Penguin’s thugs tampered with the brakes on Isabella’s car, and the last thing we see is her car careening towards an oncoming train.
Figuring that Symon gave them the slip, Gordon leaves the party to head back to the doctor’s house but finds the man still barely alive outside. Gordon asks who did this, and Symon calls out Barnes with his dying breath.
Do you think Barnes has embraced his inner darkness? Would you consider him a villain since he’s only killing bad guys? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Gotham season 3 airs Mondays at 8/7c on FOX. Want more news? Like our Gotham Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of FOX)