Release Date: October 24, 2016
Genre: Crime, Drama, Action
The Mad Hatter (Benedict Samuel) is back with a bloody vengeance and that’s more than enough for this reviewer. New Day Rising was a disappointment and Anything For You was good but very flawed. However, Follow The White Rabbit gets the ball rolling again on The Mad Hatter and I couldn’t be happier. As clearly demonstrated in Anything For You‘s ending, Jervis Tetch is out for blood against Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), blaming him for his sister’s death. However, instead of killing him (let’s be honest, they’re not killing Jim Gordon), Tetch wants him to suffer. As a result, he puts Jim through a series of near impossible trials and choices, meant to drive him mad. Meanwhile, Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) reveals that he has feelings for Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) and yes, those feelings. Shippers! To Your Keyboards!
It’s actually funny because normally, while I’m watching this show, I’m actively looking for things I don’t like. Let’s face it, this show has been pretty rocky in the past. In this particular episode, there was nothing. Follow The White Rabbit is simply an episode that does everything right. The dynamic between the villain and the hero is perfect. The Villain’s plan is sinister and fun to watch play out. The settings, scenarios, and pacing are just immaculate. Follow The White Rabbit is a perfect episode and one of the best to date.
A problem I’ve mentioned in the past is Gotham‘s need to jumble so many things in one episode. However, Follow The White Rabbit keeps the focus where it needs to be for the most part. Aside from James Gordon’s battle of wits with The Mad Hatter, the only other thing that it cuts to story-wise is Oswald & Edward. That being said, even this works because it establishes something about The Penguin that hasn’t been done in the past, at least to my knowledge. Evidently, in the Gotham-Verse, Oswald Cobblepot is gay. Now, before anyone goes full internet troll on this, I ask you to think about it. If you’ve paid attention to this show, this actually makes a ton of sense.
Think about it, we’ve never really seen The Penguin take any interest in women. The only woman he’s really shown any affection for in the show’s entire run is his mother (Carol Kane). Granted, there was really no reason to address this character’s sexuality before but now that it’s been revealed, it feels right for this version of the character. On top of this, it makes sense that Nygma would be the one he falls for. Nygma is the only one capable of matching wits with The Penguin and they make a perfect team in regards to this show.
With that said, it may not be that easy on Oswald. The end of Follow The White Rabbit shows Nygma meeting a woman who looks Identical to Kristen Kringle and played by the same actress, Chelsea Spack. Kristen Kringle is, of course, the former love of Edward Nygma that he accidentally murdered last season. There’s got to be some sort of foul play or mind games afoot. My guess is Indian Hill has something to do with this but we’ll see. The point is, if Nygma starts seeing this woman, I doubt Oswald is going to take it well. Here’s hoping for no boiled rabbits
But anyway, back to the biggest win of this episode, The Mad Hatter. The show had already done a great job at establishing him as a force to be reckoned with. Now, Gotham takes its best villain in a sinister new direction. Not only is he playing the same mind games, but he’s playing with people’s lives in near impossible life and death scenarios. They pretty much made him the Gotham equivalent of Jigsaw from The Saw Franchise. Gordon must choose who lives and who dies wherever Jervis sends him. I was getting kind of a Heath Ledger Joker impression from him, in regards to his plan. Tetch wants Gordon to see that he’s every bit as bad as the villains he takes down, labeling Gordon a villain himself. Honestly, it felt like a nice little call back to The Dark Knight and it worked all too well.
Of course, this leads to a brilliant finale where Tetch has captured both Valerie Vale (Jamie Chung) & Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin). They’re all sitting at a table like a scene straight out of Alice In Wonderland, where Tetch wants Gordon to choose between killing Vale or killing Lee. Gordon tries to get into Tetch’s head, with Benedict Samuel giving a heart-wrenching powerhouse performance by the way. This, however, proves to not work and Gordon finally tells Tetch to kill Lee, knowing that Tetch will do the opposite and shoot Vale. This actually speaks to the brilliance of James Gordon. Lee is a doctor, so if she gets shot, she probably won’t have a chance. If Vale gets shot, Lee can actually assist. Obviously, it wasn’t an easy call for the character to make but it was the right one, logically.
Overall, Follow The White Rabbit represents a perfect episode for Gotham‘s third season. The drama is intense, the acting is brilliant and the pacing is top notch. We need more episodes liked this. Episodes that have a firm grasp on the structure. This episode doesn’t hop around from subplot to subplot. It always keeps its focus where it needs to be. All I can really say is, it’s about time.
Thank you, Gotham. May I have another?
- Benedict Samuel's Performance
- The Mad Hatter's Revenge
- Expert Pacing
- Some Of The Best Drama The Show Has Ever Had
- Oswald's Feeling For Edward Coming To Light
- Good Story Structure
- Great Character Development
- ... Um... Yeah, I Got Nothin'... This Episode Was Outstanding.
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.