[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Director: Louis Shaw Milito
Writer: Seth Boston
Stars: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue & David Mazouz
Jerome kidnaps Bruce while Nygma tries to kill Penguin.
The episode is gorgeous. The circus, especially the house of mirrors, looked spectacular. There were a lot of really neat lighting tricks throughout the episode as well especially in the GCPD. I love all of the helicopter lights. It helped the episode’s tone. While I wish the blackout had gone on a bit longer than one episode, it was fun while it lasted.
The circus was fantastic. It was made up of the typical attractions but with sadistic twists. It was over the top but engaging. The show is at its best when it embraces the absurd like this.
I like that Bruce forms his rule about not killing after an encounter with a potential Joker. That’s a good choice for this version of the mythology. I also loved the scene between Bruce and Alfred in which they discuss that if Bruce is to fight crime, he has to have rules. And rule number one is no killing. I like the idea that this forms in him at a young age rather than later.
The pacing of this episode is a lot better than most episodes of the show. Normally, there are three plots. One for Gordon, one for Penguin and one for Bruce. These elements often feel like completely different shows. This episode is made better by the Gordon and Bruce stories being one story. There are only two stories to focus on which helps.
I do not care about the Penguin v. Nygma stuff. The actors are doing a good job and there’s nothing dumb or insulting about it. I just don’t care. I’ve had a really hard time being invested in this story since Isabella was introduced and this episode is the worst example. It feels like a distraction or, more aptly, like someone keeps changing the channel. It feels like a different episode and show. Jerome’s actions and the blackout seem to have no affect on this plot and vice versa. It’s frustrating that the fun part of the episode is constantly cutting to Penguin experiencing yet another rock bottom moment.
The Court of Owls is still boring and I still don’t care.
This episode is exactly what I wanted. It’s insane, over the top and fun. The main plot is genuinely exciting with a lot of great moments and funny lines. Despite my issues with the Penguin story, I had a really good time with this episode.