At the end of the second season of Gotham, things weren’t looking great for Batman’s hometown. Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) broke free from Indian Hills after being resurrected, meaning there would likely be a power-struggle between herself and the other crime bosses in Gotham City. The bus that she used to break free from Dr. Strange (B.D. Wong) was filled with all sorts of villains who were released to the streets for Season 3.
Meanwhile, Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) no longer worked for the GCPD, and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) was trying to learn how to lead his fellow policemen. Yet to learn about the monsters that had recently been unleashed, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) wanted to find out more about the secret group known as the Court of Owls.
NOTE: The following includes spoilers for Season 3, Episode 1 of Gotham, “Mad City: Better to Reign in Hell…” which originally aired on FOX on September 19.
James Gordon and the Gotham City Police Department
Season 3 of Gotham begins with Gordon finding the new home of Lee Tompkins (Morena Baccarin), as he set out to do at the end of Season 2. However, before he can ring the doorbell, he sees that she’s with another man. Heartbroken, Gordon simply walks away. Cut to six months later, and James is back in Gotham City, fighting off a criminal at a pharmacy that is clearly one of the escapees from Indian Hills, based on the Stegosaurus-like upright plates coming out of his back.
As we find out soon enough, Gordon hasn’t returned to the GCPD. Since the release of the monsters from Indian Hills, the police have accepted the assistance of bounty hunters. Jim just happens to be the best bounty hunter in Gotham City. Meanwhile, Bullock — who is regularly seen drinking on the job — is Gordon’s inside man at the GCPD. Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis) is back to full health at his position as police captain, and Mayor Aubrey James (Richard Karn) is still who he answers to. Meanwhile, Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) left his position at Wayne Enterprises to become the resident science expert at the police department.
The team at GCPD has figured out that the monsters of Indian Hills appear to be after one specific drug, as several pharmacies with one specific medicine have been hit by different criminals with special abilities. By the end of the episode, a failed attempt to bring in Fish Mooney has resulted in Ethel Peabody — Strange’s assistant at Indian Hills and the GCPD’s only witness against him — being captured by Fish’s crew. Barnes is very upset with both Gordon and Bullock. Harvey asks James to keep his distance for a while.
Who is Valerie Vale?
During a press conference held at the Gotham City Police Department, investigative reporter Valerie Vale continually hounds Barnes and James about the Indian Hills escapees. Later, she takes particular interest in James, although he does his best to show disinterest. However, she lets the bounty hunter know that the Penguin has put a $1 million price tag on the capture of Fish Mooney.
Later, Valerie receives a tip from Selina Kyle (who viewers are aware already works for Mooney), which she passes on to James. Mooney needs to find Ethel but doesn’t know where the police are keeping her. Since this information is unknown to the GCPD, Fish has Selina tell Valerie that they’re going after Peabody. Gordon senses that something is up, but believes he can use the trap to find Fish. He gets Peabody’s whereabouts from Bullock, and Vale accompanies him to her apartment (all the while being followed by Mooney’s people). While one of her men — complete with wings that make him a literal bat-man — takes care of Gordon, two female accomplices leave with Ethel.
The character Valerie Vale is a new creation with an origin related to DC Comics lore. Vicki Vale is a reporter that encounters Batman/Bruce Wayne as an adult, and is played by Kim Basinger in Batman. Valerie Vale is Vicki’s aunt.
Fish Mooney, Selina Kyle, and the Indian Hills Monsters
Selina, who has come to work for Fish Mooney during Bruce’s absence from Gotham City, first returns to Gotham to talk to Butch and steal his wallet. With a new wad of cash, she almost instinctively hands out money to a “stray” kid. The boy turns out to be the Bruce Wayne look-alike from last season’s finale. Confused by her kindness, he stalks her throughout the episode. When he approaches Ivy, she mistakes him for the real Bruce Wayne and flees.
Ivy goes to where Selina is meeting with Fish, and she certainly isn’t a welcomed guest. Despite Selina’s warnings, Ivy continues to mouth-off to Fish and company. Mooney orders her henchman Marv to take care of Ivy. As we learned earlier in the episode, Marv has the ability to cause someone to age rapidly — to the point of death — simply by touching them. Later, when Mooney realizes that Peabody can’t save them, she has Marv kill her. He only gets his hands on Ivy for a second, however, before she falls into the water and is unseen for the rest of the episode.
The problem that Fish and her fellow monsters are having is that the special abilities they received from Hugo Strange are slowly killing them. They can’t get the medicine that they hoped would cure them, and their only chance for survival is to break Strange free from prison. Upon doing so, Mooney plans on having the professor create an army of monsters so that she can rule Gotham City.
Penguin, Butch and The Sirens
As Valerie is questioning Captain Barnes and Mayor James about the recent crime spree, Oswalt “Penguin” Cobblepot (Robin Lord Tayler) makes his triumphant return to Gotham, flanked by Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell). He tells the press that Fish Mooney is back in town and that all of the Indian Hills escapees are under her control. He warns the citizens of Gotham City that they aren’t safe until Mooney is dealt with.
Penguin leaves the GCPD and takes Butch with him to a new club called The Sirens, run by Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) and Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas). He lets them know to spread the word that he’s offering $1 million to anyone who can bring him Fish Mooney, dead or alive. He also suggests that they work out a deal for protection offered by Penguin’s associates, but the women decide they can protect themselves. Butch’s awkward interaction with Tabitha makes it clear that he’s still in love with her, much to the chagrin of Penguin.
The thugs that Penguin had warned the ladies about show up later, but Barbara and Tabitha are able to protect themselves. As we find out, Butch told the men to show up, hoping it would scare Tabitha into needing their protection. Penguin lets the women know that he’ll let them run their club, but if Butch ever gives him the okay he’ll be more than happy to kill Tabitha (who was responsible for the death of Penguin’s mom).
As a side note, Edward Nygma is still locked up, but Penguin has been visiting him regularly. They are building something of a friendship, or at least a mutual respect. In the dialogue from the season premiere, Nygma reminds Cobblepot that he needn’t be afraid of wiping out Fish Mooney.
Details can be distracting. Sometimes, a simple solution is best. So no matter what she is planning, just remember: penguins eat fish.
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Bruce and Alfred vs. The Court of Owls
Of course, Bruce Wayne is an integral a role in Gotham as the future Batman should be. Having traveled to Switzerland with Alfred to escape Gotham City and prepare to deal with the Court of Owls, his first scene in Season 3 shows the young billionaire nervous about the ultimatum he has prepared for the Wayne Enterprises Board of Directors. He calls them to an emergency meeting without giving them any warning regarding his agenda. He tells them that he knows there is a secret organization running his parents’ company and that some representatives of that group are in the very meeting at which he is speaking. If the group doesn’t come forward, Bruce will expose them.
This certainly gets the attention of the Court of Owls. The masked woman that was revealed as a member in Season 2 is given word of Bruce’s decree. She immediately orders a henchman known as Talon to go after young Wayne.
As the season premiere comes to a close, a dejected Jim Gordon is drinking at the bar, looking at a picture of Lee. The GCPD are heavily armed, as they plan to go after Fish Mooney and find out what happened to Ethel Peabody. Barbara and Tabitha’s club The Sirens appears to be thriving. Valerie Vale is seen developing pictures she took of Gordon’s fight with the bat-man. And despite a new security system having just been installed at Wayne Manor, the Owl assassin gets in without any trouble. After knocking out Alfred, he apparently uses chloroform to knock Bruce Wayne out and take him captive.
Next week on Gotham
As always, a preview/trailer for the next episode of Gotham aired during the credits. From what can be seen, viewers will likely find out the identity of the mysterious Court of Owls woman that ordered the abduction of Bruce Wayne.
Where to Watch
Fox airs Gotham on Monday evenings at 8/7c. Replays of the most recent episode of Gotham can be streamed on-demand at Fox’s website beginning Tuesday. The first two seasons of Gotham can be streamed via Netflix.
Current episodes of Gotham (including “Mad City: It’s Better To Reign In Hell…”) can also be streamed with a Hulu subscription the day after it airs on Fox.
[Featured image via FOX/Gotham]