Air Date: January 30, 2017
Genre: Crime, Action, Drama
There is no doubt in my mind; Gotham‘s third season has been the best season of the show. If anything because it’s been the most consistent season of Gotham thus far. Episodes like Follow The White Rabbit, Red Queen and Smile Like You Mean It represented some of Gotham‘s best. However, The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies IS Gotham‘s best, without question. I have seen every episode of this show and not a single one has been better than this. It’s the most shocking, it’s the most dramatic and it is without a doubt the most pleasing.
The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies picks up directly where Smile Like You Mean It left off. The power plant was destroyed and Gotham was left in darkness. Jim Gordon (Ben Mackenzie), Alfred (Sean Pertwee) and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) scrambled to find Bruce (David Mazouz), who was taken by Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) and The Jokers had overrun Gotham, going on a murder spree. Meanwhile, Bruce confronted Jerome, Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) confronted Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) and Jim Gordon’s uncle, Frank (James Remar) arrived in Gotham.
When it comes to praising the complexities and emotions of this episode, where do I even begin? Well, let’s just start with how beautifully it brought Edward Nygma’s revenge to a close. Oswald arrived at the chemical plant, to discover that Nygma is unharmed. In fact, Nygma killed his henchmen and revealed his betrayal as he tied Oswald to a car; the same car Isabella (Chelsea Spack) was driving when Oswald had her killed. Oswald pleaded with Nygma, even going so far to say that he forgave and understood Edwards betrayal. Furthermore, he admitted to killing Isabella out of his love for Edward. However, Edward doesn’t budge, reminding him that love is about sacrifice; putting someone else’s needs and happiness before your own.
That’s when Edward put Oswald in an elaborate death trap and left him for dead. I’ll admit, this seemed too easy at first. Now, Edward Nygma was known in the comics for his traps and riddles. The trap wasn’t the problem I was having. The problem was it felt like too much for Nygma to leave to chance. He set up the trap for Oswald that was “supposed” to kill him and then left? I got the feeling that a smart character like Edward would have stuck around for something like that. It was at that moment where I starting saying to myself, “There’s got to be more to this. Nygma didn’t want to just kill Oswald. He said he wanted to destroy him. This can’t be the end of his revenge. It’s too simple.”
Boy howdy was I ever right. I won’t spoil the rest for those who haven’t seen the episode. However, just know that the way it furthered the characters of Oswald Cobblepot and Edward Nygma almost made me cry. It was that good and that powerful. The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies developed these two characters and their relationship in ways I never expected. Furthermore, every moment of it worked. It also proved what I’ve said numerous times about Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith; they were the perfect actors for these roles. I cannot praise their on-screen chemistry enough. In addition, if final scene in The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies doesn’t get you pumped for what’s to come, nothing will.
Oswald wasn’t the only one kidnapped in The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies. Jerome kidnapped Bruce with the intent of killing him in a carnival full of Jokers. This was another huge bonus in this episodes favor; seeing Batman and The Joker interact and play off of each other in a time before they’re known as Batman and The Joker. Cameron Monaghan and David Mazouz play off of each other perfectly and the finale is just great. Jerome thinks he has Bruce cornered in a house of mirrors. However, little does he know that Bruce was trapping him instead, going as far as to fight the future clown prince of crime, man to man. Yes, we finally got to see Batman and The Joker fight each other. If you don’t go nuts over this whole sequence, please hand over your fanboy card to my secretary and have a nice day.
What fascinated was what the fight amounted to. This is the moment where we see Bruce’s teachings from Alfred pay off. There’s a brief moment where Bruce is able to kill Jerome, but doesn’t. It is this episode where Bruce promises himself he will not kill. You see Bruce at a point where Jerome has pushed him over the edge. He’s humiliated him and killed people in front of him. Furthermore, at that point in the episode, Bruce was under the impression that Jerome had killed Alfred, giving Bruce an even bigger motivation to kill Jerome. However, Alfred’s teachings and words of wisdom far outweighed Bruce’s need for revenge. It not only marks the beginnings of Bruce Wayne and The Joker but it also marks the beginning of what Batman will one day stand for.
This is something I’ve wanted to see this show cover for awhile. It was one thing for Bruce to want Alfred to train him. That was a nice touch and our first taste of what Bruce Wayne will one day accomplish as The Gotham Bat. However, The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies shows us what Bruce Wayne will one day want Batman to be; a hero with morals, a strong sense of justice and mercy. The seeds are planted and the game is set for Bruce Wayne to take his crusade further. I understand that obviously, we won’t be seeing Batman on this show anytime soon. Bruce is still a kid, after all. However, the things they are alluding to and setting up more than makeup for that. Also, on a side note, the scenes with Alfred and Bruce have never been better in the show’s run. Powerful stuff.
The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies proved to be an interesting episode for Jim Gordon as well. Drama grew between him and Lee (Morena Baccarin), straining their professional relationship at the GCPD further. Who would have thought that killing her husband on her wedding night would be one of her buttons? I know, weird, right? As The Jokers scrambled through the city, Bullock was busy with them, while Gordon saved Alfred and went after Jerome at his carnival. I never thought watching Jim Gordon punch a person’s face off would be so entertaining but it was so I guess the jokes on me. No pun intended. Frank Gordon, Jim’s uncle, also made himself known when he arrived at Jim’s doorstep. However, not before confirming that he’s a member of The Court Of Owls.
Overall, as I said before, The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies is the best episode of Gotham to date. It gave us the best of Oswald, the best of Nygma, the best of Jerome, the best of Alfred and certainly the best of Bruce. It wasn’t the best Jim Gordon episode; that’s Red Queen by a huge margin. However, The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies isn’t meant to center on Jim Gordon. In fact, he’s the character we see the least of. What this episode did for all the other characters in the Gotham universe was nothing short of extraordinary. Honestly, it’s some of the best development I’ve seen in any television show. Period. For the record, I watch Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends Of Tomorrow. None of them, in their current seasons, have had an episode better than The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies.
I can’t wait to see what’s in store for these characters next week… oh, wait, this is the winter finale? … Now I’m sad.