In this episode of Gotham, “Mad City: Red Queen,” the Mad Hatter plans to use his sister’s blood to bring down the entire city, Gordon faces his fears and makes a decision about his future, and Penguin tries to break up Nygma and Isabella.

Gordon continues to be tortured by every decision he makes or does not make. The latest is getting his latest squeeze, Valerie Vale, shot by the Mad Hatter. Vale survived her gunshot wound, but she’s not letting James off the hook for choosing Lee over himself. Even though he wanted to save them both, he wanted to save Lee more. Almost getting a girl killed to save the woman you really love is a surefire way to get dumped, which is exactly what Vale does.

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The Red Queen

Jervis Tetch is still at large, and the Mad Hatter isn’t done causing trouble. His plan is to use Alice’s blood, presumably to poison Gordon if not all of Gotham. But his sister’s toxic blood is unpredictable, and it’s hard to determine how it will affect anyone or when, so he visits a man with the answer to his problems. This guy, who apparently dabbles in plant-based pharmacology, has developed an accelerant called the Red Queen, a blend of psychotropic plants. When mixed with Alice’s blood, anyone exposed will become incapacitated and eventually fry their brain.

The Hatter finds his way to the city morgue, determined to make the city pay for separating him from Alice by spreading her legacy. Tetch and the Tweed brothers abscond with Alice’s corpse. Alice has been on ice since her arrival, but her blood is still viable. The moment Tetch heats it up, he can spread the virus.

It doesn’t take long for Bullock and Barnes to realize who’s behind the body snatching. Gordon wants to help, but Barnes is over giving the former cop any slack and threatens to throw Gordon in jail if he intervenes.

Bullock knows his pal isn’t going to let this go but doesn’t want Gordon to try and track down the Hatter on his own. Bullock thinks it’s time for Gordon to choose a side — either be a cop or don’t. He questions what Gordon is so afraid of. Bullock suggest Gordon return to the hospital to be with Vale and let the people who want to be GCPD do their jobs.

Nygma Finds Love

Miss Kringle doppelganger Isabella (Chelsea Spack) and Nygma have spent the last 12 hours getting to know each other better. Nygma even blew off Penguin thanks to his newfound infatuation. When Nygma finally resurfaces, Penguin is elated to learn that the object of his affection is okay but less thrilled to hear that Nygma has met someone.

Things Look Bleak for Barnes

Lucien Fox bring Barnes more news about Alice Tetch’s blood. The first round of trials had the rats going off the rails, and the second study shows that after two weeks, the rats exhibited manic tendencies. Yes, they were strong and fast, but every trace of their original demeanor was gone. What we have here are some seriously demented rodents. Virologists are working on a cure, but it could take years. Obviously, this is not music to Barnes’ ears since he’s likely to suffer the same fate as the rats. It also makes finding Tetch ASAP the GCPD’s top priority.

This Ain’t No Tea Party

With nowhere else to go, Gordon returns to the hospital to see Valerie. He encounters Mario and Lee, and the good doctor is not happy to see his fiance’s ex. He holds James responsible for Lee’s life being put in danger and wants Gordon out of their lives for good.

Lee tells Gordon that she knows why he told Jervis Tetch what he did, but Gordon denies it. He claims he was trying to save Vale’s life, not Lee’s. She responds that Bullock was right; Gordon is afraid.

Gordon spots the Hatter at the hospital and chases him into an empty stairwell. Tetch proclaims that the tea party was just part one, and he wants to have a lot more fun. He had his way with Gordon; now Gotham is up for round two. The Hatter promises to dismantle the city from the top down and warns Gordon that he won’t be able to stop him. Gordon turns around, and Hatter blows a powdery red substance into Gordon’s face — the toxic Red Queen-Alice Tetch combo.

Penguin Reveals Nygma’s Past

All’s fair in love and war, which is why Penguin seeks out Isabella. He learns from Nygma that she works at the library and pays her a visit. He uses the upcoming Founders’ Dinner as an excuse, telling Isabella he wants to brush up on the history of Gotham’s first families. He says Nygma sent him. She makes no secret that she’s deeply infatuated with Nygma, and Penguin thanks her for brightening Nygma’s spirits. The guy has been so down since getting out of Arkham.

This comes as a shock to Isabella, who does know that most people go to Arkham for murder. Penguin confirms her suspicions.

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Gordon Takes a Trip

Gordon immediately begins tripping, and Barbara appears to be his guide for whatever awaits him. Try as he might, he’ll never get his crazy-pants ex out of his head. Bruce has a starring role, and he warns Gordon that he doesn’t have much time. They are in the GCPD precinct, and the floor is riddled with dead bodies. Bruce congratulates Gordon for being the hero he’s always dreamed of being and then shoots him.

Barbara revives Gordon, and the next phase of his nightmare begins. In this scenario, Gordon arrives home to his family, consisting of Lee and two kids. But this Leave it to Beaver moment doesn’t last long as the Norman Rockwell family dinner comes to an abrupt end, and Gordon finds himself once again with Barb.

Barnes Continues to Lose Control

Bullock and Barnes question the guard who was on duty when Jervis got into the morgue. The guy is a shady character with a bad attitude, and he’s not exactly forthcoming with information. Barnes, whose patience is at an all-time low, decides to use force, but his fury causes Bullock to pull him off the guard.

After getting his head slammed into a table, the guard is more willing to share. He tells them one of the Tweed brothers paid him for his key card and told him to take the day off. Tweed promised he wouldn’t get in trouble because the cops would be too busy trying to take back the city. The guard says Tweed was driving a catering van, and Barnes figures out that that evening is the Founders’ Dinner where all of Gotham’s powerful elite will be gathering to celebrate. Barnes orders Bullock to put together a unit and not breathe a word to Gordon.

Time for a Toast

Penguin is mingling at the Founders’ dinner and finds himself chatting up Kathryn. She lets him know that not only is she from one of Gotham’s oldest families, but she’s also part of a group that oversees everything that matters in Gotham. They’ve had their eyes on Penguin for some time, and she promises to contact him when the time is right.

As the heads of Gotham sit down to eat, Jervis arrives armed and certainly dangerous. He insists they all drink some wine, which he’s already spiked with the virus. It’s either chug-a-lug or get shot.

The GCPD breaks up the party, and Barnes tackles the Hatter. But the effects of the virus show, and Jervis knows Alice is inside the police captain.

Remember the Code

Gordon reaches the final stop on his trip. Barbara warns him not to be scared since it’s not easy for anyone to face who they really are. He asks her if she ever wishes she was the person she used to be, and her only response is, “Do you?” Barbara hands him a key and tells him he can use it or not; it’s up to him. She wishes him luck and sends him on his way.

Gordon comes face-to-face with his father, Peter (Michael Park), who wants him to go for a ride. Gordon tells his dad that he was a hero. It wasn’t just because he was a great DA but also because he got up day after day and faced down the worst the city had to offer without ever bringing it home to James or his mother. Gordon wanted to be just like him, but he’s the opposite. James is convinced that he destroys everything and everyone around him.

Peter reveals that he was anything but perfect, and he had plenty of darkness inside him. Peter just chose not to dwell on it. Instead, he advises his son to focus on the good he can do. He urges him to stop hiding behind self-righteous, lone-wolf nonsense. James argues that the badge holds expectations. People want a hero, something Gordon isn’t. Peter tells his son that what makes a hero is a man who values protecting others against protecting himself, a man who knows when to ask for help when he needs it. Peter wasn’t always that guy, but he tried. All James has to do is remember the code — the answer is in his ring.

The Course of True Love Never Runs Smooth

Gordon comes to, thanks to Mario, who found him in the basement. He’s flushing out the toxins, and James should be good as new. A few minutes longer and Gordon wouldn’t have made it.

Despite Penguin’s best efforts to scare Isabella off, she’s not dissuaded by Nygma’s past. He comes clean, but she’s done her research and knows everything. Her only explanation is that love isn’t logical.

Gordon Makes a Choice

Gordon finds his father’s ring, and it’s inscribed with the motto “While we breathe, we shall defend.” Gordon goes to Barnes and declares that he wants to rejoin the force. Barnes is happy to welcome Gordon back.

Jervis and the Tweeds are tucked away at Arkham, but the Court of Owls look to be the next looming threat. And one of the members appears to be wearing a ring just like Peter’s.

Was James’ dad a member of the Court of Owls? Is there more to Isabella than meets the eye? Is a showdown between Barnes and Gordon inevitable? 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)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.