Title: Gotham: “Blood Rush”
Air Date: November 7, 2016
Genre: Crime, Drama, Action
Well, Barnes (Michael Chiklis) succumbing to the madness of The Alice Tetch Virus was bound to come sooner or later. Honestly, I’m just glad they took their time setting it up. Any lesser show would have had him going crazy immediately. However, much like Killer Frost on The Flash, they properly built up this character as a great person. Nathaniel Barnes in previous episodes hated criminals so much that he fired all the crooked officers of the GCPD upon his arrival. He was always by the book and never took shortcuts. Simply put, he respected the law too much to break it. Knowing this makes it all the more tragic and heartbreaking when we see this honorable character lose his humanity, becoming the very thing he hates most.
Blood Rush showed Nathaniel Barnes fighting a losing battle with the virus raging inside of him. If that wasn’t evident from his killing a man in the opening of the episode, it definitely was by the end when he killed someone else. Barnes sent Bullock (Donal Logue) and Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) on a wild goose chase as he attempted to cover his tracks. Meanwhile, Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) became more and more agitated at Edward’s (Cory Michael Smith) relationship with Isabella (Chelsea Spack). Edward himself even had doubts that he could make it work when the ghost of Kristen Kringle came back to haunt him.
Unlike the last two episodes, Blood Rush is almost perfect but not quite at their level. I assumed with Follow The White Rabbit, Gotham got lucky. With Red Queen, Gotham stayed the course. But with Blood Rush, consider Gotham on a hot streak. While not as good as the last two, it’s still impressive. There’s just one thing about the episode that really irks me and I’ll get to it in a moment. If I can choose one word to properly sum up Blood Rush, it would be “psychological”. It’s an episode featuring two different characters struggling with the personal demons and regrets that haunt them. Both Nathaniel Barnes and Edward Nygma go through significant changes in this episode, one for the better and one for the worse.
In Nygma’s case, he experiences love again but doesn’t know if he can hold on to it or make it work. He’s too afraid that he’ll hurt Isabella the same way he hurt Kristen. Also, Nygma seeing Kristen’s ghost in the mirror, taunting him, didn’t do his psyche any favors. His first instinct is to leave her by way of The Penguin, who’s not as nice to Isabella as he’d hoped. However, Isabella loves Edward every bit as much as he loves her. So instead of leaving, she makes Edward confront his fears by dressing as Kristen and placing his hand around her neck. There is so much beauty and raw emotion in this one scene. The performances from Cory Michael Smith and Chelsea Spack are just brilliant. It wasn’t enough that she forgive him but that he forgive himself.
Keep in mind that while Nygma did indeed kill his last girlfriend, it was entirely by accident. He loved her and never meant to kill her. In his mind, he felt like love wasn’t an option for him and it takes Isabella to make him realize that it is. Or, at least it would have been if Oswald didn’t have her brakes cut at the end of the episode. Yes, Isabella is now dead after getting hit dead-on by a train. I understand that they wanted to make it tragic but after everything that happened, killing Isabella at this point feels like such a waste. It was like they took their time with this character just to abandon her once she started to take off. Hopefully, she’ll come back soon. Indian Hill… Fingers Crossed!
I will admit though, I do like the chemistry between Edward and Oswald as friends.
… Can you imagine what their chemistry would be like as mortal enemies?
However, while Nygma finally forgave himself, Barnes had no such luck. Blood Rush sees Barnes struggling with the virus inside him. Make no mistake, after killing the cleaner in the beginning of the episode, he still tries to fight the urges of the virus. That being said, the virus ultimately wins, completely flipping this character’s personality. Seeing a character with a strong sense of justice turn into bloodthirsty monster. That’s about as heartbreaking as you can get. This is also a nice call-back to Red Queen. A topic discussed in that episode was how even the best of men have darkness within them. The point is never to succumb to it. Well, now Barnes has and we get another cliffhanger with his victim telling Jim Gordon that Barnes is the killer. Oh, I can’t wait for next week.
Overall, Blood Rush did a fantastic job with both Edward Nygma and Nathaniel Barnes. It sent both characters in a new direction both internally and externally and got us pumped for the next episode. However, where as I could overlook the few issues I had with Red Queen, Isabella dying in Blood Rush just angered me to no end. So, with that said, I can’t say this is a perfect episode but it did come close. Join me next week as Michael Chiklis revisits his glory days from The Shield in The Executioner.
- Edward & Isabella's Relationship
- Captain Barnes Going Mad
- Wonderful Set-Up For The Next Episode.
- Great Character Studies For Both Barnes & Nygma
- Isabella's Death Was Such A Waste
A graduate of Full Sail University with a Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing, Adam is a Writer and Film Critic, looking to make his mark on the world. When he isn’t at the movies, writing for The Nerd Stash, playing Duck Hunt (respect the classics) or delivering pizzas to his neighbors, he is back at school earning his Masters Degree in Film Production.