Gotham Recap: “The Red Queen”



They opened up a six-pack of krazy this week on Gotham campers. Jim Gordon has a mind-altering experience that leads to a career change. Jervis Tetch threatens to make the elite of Gotham go mental. And both Bruce Wayne and Edward Nygma delve deeper into the affairs of the heart. Let’s have a look, shall we.

As things open up we find Jervis Tetch paying a visit to a local chemist to acquire the chemist’s most potent creation, a vial of red powder, concocted from various psychotropic plants, that apparently makes LSD look like children’s chewable vitamins. It seems that one whiff of this will have the victim confront his or her most deep-seated fears. (Sounds a bit like something the Scarecrow would use if you ask me.) Just to make sure he’s getting his money’s worth Tetch tries the powder out on the chemist. Sure enough the poor bastard immediately goes for a roundtrip ride on the krazy-town express. This, of course, makes Jervis all giggly with anticipation. See he intends to mix the “Red Queen” with some of his sister’s blood. The powder will intensify the effects of the blood.

Before the Mad Hatter can start carrying out the plans that he has for the “Red Queen”,  he must first acquire a rather healthy amount of his late sister’s blood. So he and his two henchmen, the Tweedle-Dumbasses, head off to the city morgue and promptly snatch her body. Back at their hide-out Tetch drains a goodly portion of Alice’s blood from her body and then he’s all set. Just add the red powder and let the mayhem commence.

At Gotham Hospital, Jim Gordon is siting vigil at the bedside of his current main squeeze, Valerie Vale, who is recovering from a gunshot wound. She awakens and, after bemoaning the fact that Gordon doesn’t have a bottle of whiskey at the ready for her, launches into a full blown discussion with Gordon about the events that lead to her getting gut-shot. Tetch made Gordon chose which of the two ladies in his life, Valerie and Lee Thompkins, would get shot. Jimbo told him to shoot Lee and Tetch, in turn, blasted away at Vale. Well Valerie is no idiot. She knew that Tetch would do the opposite of what Gordon said and now she knows exactly where she ranks in Jimbo’s life. She quietly tells him that they’re through. “Tetch was right,” she tells him. “You’re nothing but trouble.” Ah to be young and feel love’s keen sting.

Barnes and Bullock arrive on the scene at the morgue to find Alice’s body gone. Bullock has a theory that Tetch had some help breaking into the morgue from the inside. As he’s explaining all this to Barnes, Gordon arrives offering to help. He does have that nasty little score to settle with Jervis after all. Barnes inquires if this means that Jimbo is ready to get back on the police force. When Gordon responds in the negative Barnes proceeds to treat Jimbo like his name was Stanley and send him on his way. He even goes so far as to threaten to have Gordon arrested if he doesn’t vacate the premises post haste. Even Bullock won’t back Gordon up this time. “Barnes is right,” Bullock says. “Either be a cop or don’t.” He leaves Jimbo standing there broke, busted and disgusted. Meanwhile Lucious Fox briefs Barnes on the discoveries that have been made concerning the virus in Alice’s blood. Fox says that rats infected with the blood develop seriously violent tendencies. This really concerns Barnes because he’s been infected by the blood, though he hasn’t told anyone yet.

I mentioned love’s keen sting a short time ago and it seems that Oswald is a direct recipient of said effect. He scheduled to go to the Gotham Founder’s Dinner – being mayor and all it comes with the territory –  and Penguin needs a plus one. Of course he asks Ed but Nygma’s way too preoccupied with his infatuation with Isabella, the Kristen Kringle look-a-like. Seems that Ed and Isabella are somewhat smitten with each other and Ed will be having dinner with her. Oswald’s not happy about this. Not one bit. He proceeds to attempt to break up the happy couple by paying Isabella a visit and casually letting it slip that Ed previously did time in Arkham — for murder. Oswald then comments on how much Isabella resembles the late Miss Kringle. (Of course she does you gimpy moron. She’s the same damn actress.) He especially points out her neck. “Ed loves a neck,” he tells her. Nygma ‘accidentally’ strangled Kristin to death in a fit of rage. Oswald then makes his exit leaving Isabella looking rather doubtful about her choice in men.

After a rather tense encounter with Lee and her fiancé Mario in the halls of Gotham Hospital, Gordon, standing in the doorway of Valerie’s room watching her sleep, notices Tetch standing at the end of the hall. Tetch makes a hasty retreat and Jimbo, naturally, gives chase. When Gordon catches up with him Tetch blows a handful of the ‘Red Queen’ into his face. Tetch then leaves to carry out his plan, an attack on the Gotham Founder’s Dinner. The elite of Gotham, the movers and shakers, will be there and Jervis wants to serve them up a dose of madness as an appetizer.

Meanwhile Gordon is experiencing the effects of the “Red Queen”. In this rather long-winded hallucination Jimbo encounters Bruce Wayne, and Oswald in some rather weird scenarios. Barbara Keen has a recurring role as a sort of a guide. He also encounters Lee Thompkins in a rather interesting little scene where the two are a happily married couple with two kids — in a time that looks like the early 60’s. Finally the climax of this little nightmare occurs when Jimbo comes face to face with his late father. The old man gives his son a stern talking-to concerning the subject of strength of character. During this scene we see a flash of a ring that the old man is wearing bearing what appears to be an inscription in Latin. The old man tells his son to remember the family motto during this. Before they can talk further Gordon comes out of it. Mario found him and revived him using an antidote to the “Red Queen”. Later Gordon finds the ring among a box of mementos. He recites the inscription and its meaning. “While we breath we shall defend.” At that moment he appears to realize that all this time he’s been doing nothing but giving into his various fears and now it’s time to face those fears.

Bullock and Barnes have found the morgue employee that gave Jervis access and their trying to sweat info out of him about anything concerning Tetch. The guy is being difficult when Barnes suddenly snaps and grabs him by the throat ala Darth Vader in Episode Four. Bullock has to pull the captain off of the guy but this does yield results. He mentions seeing the Tweedle-Dumbasses driving a catering truck. From that little bit of info the two cops discern that Jervis means to attack the the Founder’s Dinner. Sure enough, at that moment Tetch is bumping into Mayor Cobblepot at the banquet hall. We then see him adding a drop of blood mixed with the “Red Queen” into several glasses of wine meant for the guest to consume.

Next we see Oswald conversing with someone at the dinner. When the camera turns on her we find that it’s none other than Katheryn, the same woman who abducted and frightened Bruce Wayne into calling off the investigation of his parents’ murder. She seems to have somewhat the same affect on the new mayor. She tells Oswald that she is from one of Gotham’s oldest families and she is part of a group that plays an important part in running things in the city. She also tells him that they have been watching him closely and will be in touch with him when the time is right. Somewhat dazed and confused by this, Oswald enquires about the woman to another guest when things suffer a slight interruption — Jervis. He shows up wielding a pistol that would make Clint Eastwood proud and, after a bit of babbling, forces the group to sample the wine he’s provided. However it’s the GCPD to the rescue in the nick of time – AGAIN. After a bit of the rough and tumble Barnes encounters Tetch and attacks him with an intense viciousness. Alice’s blood is taking control of the captain’s emotions. It’s also giving him seriously increased strength. This can be seen as he gives Tetch a rather severe ass-whipping. Tetch can see that Barnes has been affected by the blood and it gives him no end of glee. However Jervis and his ilk are captured and hauled off to Arkham.

Dinner is also a big thing for two other couples who are central to our story. In spite of what Oswald told her Isabella meets Ed for dinner and confronts him about his past. Ed fesses up and admits to killing Kristen ‘accidentally’. He also claims that he deeply regrets the act. Isabella indicates that this doesn’t matter to her. She says that her past relationships have never measured up to the ones she read about in her beloved books. She mentions Antony and Cleopatra, Othello and Desdemona, and Romeo and Juliet. All three of these couples, as Ed is quick to point out, ended up dead. Despite that she tells him that he’s who she’s been waiting for. Oswald then interrupts them in mid smooch. He excuses himself and they continue.

At stately Wayne manor young Bruce Wayne has been slaving away over a hot stove making a sumptuous feast for his young lady love, Selina Kyle. Why he’s even baked a cake! He says that Alfred needs to make himself scarce when she arrives. Dinner is scheduled for six but Selina is late. Just as Alfred appears and begins to remove the dishes from the table, she appears. At first Bruce is angry that she’s late. “Stuff came up, she explains. Things quickly calm down when the two start to talk. Selina explains that what’s going on between them is weird for her. Bruce explains that it feels the same for him. Once that’s out of the way the two seem to quickly warm to each other.

Finally we see Gordon show up in Barnes’ office and ask to rejoin the force. Barnes welcomes him back with a firm handshake. In another part of the city, in an elegantly appointed, darkened room, Katheryn sits in conversation with a man who’s face is shown only in shadow. They discuss Oswald and he tells her to keep an eye on the new mayor. “Judgement is coming Katheryn,” he tells her. “For all of us.” The scene fades to black on the image of a ring the man wears. It bears the same inscription as the one Gordon’s father wore.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Ralph Spencer - Special Contributor
Ralph Spencer has spent the last 20 years as an online security investigation and Internet child safety professional. His adventures chasing down the scum of cyberspace has fueled his fondness for unique cops & robbers dramas such as Justified and The Wire. Currently seeking gainful employment, he’s taking a shot at blogging in his spare time.

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