[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Director: Rob Bailey
Writer: Danny Cannon
Stars: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue & David Mazouz.
The Mad Hatter arrives in Gotham in order to find his sister Alice. He hires Gordon to do so. Meanwhile, Bruce deals with his doppelganger and Penguin runs for mayor.
This is a weird way to start but Penguin’s greeting to a certain character at the end of the episode is priceless. It’s the way he sticks himself out of the car; it’s hysterical. I was dying from laughter for several whole minutes. I am thrilled that one of the promo shots released for the episode is a screenshot of this moment because it’s wonderful.
As I stated above, Penguin decides to run for mayor against Mayor James in the wake of Galavan’s betrayal and death. Robin Lord Taylor plays it wonderfully with actual sincerity. I don’t think Penguin has ulterior motives; he legitimately wants to make his dad proud. I like that attention to continuity and I’m really excited to see where this goes. There are also obvious Trump parallels that are cute. I would actually vote for Penguin over Trump. At least Penguin is charismatic.
Benedict Samuel joins the cast as the Mad Hatter because the cast wasn’t big enough already. I actually really enjoyed Samuel in the role. He’s over the top and creepy in just the right ways that I love on this show. He also is charismatic and just fits right into this wonderfully bizarre cast. For me, I kept noticing his eyes. I don’t know if the actor is wearing contacts but his eyes look black. I see no color at all. Maybe it was just me.
I like the idea of Mad Hatter having a sister named Alice. He’s not called Mad Hatter yet, as far as we know, so this might be a clever way to lead to that name. I hope he gets that moniker because he has a sister named Alice that he’s obsessed with. That could be interesting. There is a mystery set up about who Alice and Jervis are and it drew me in. I am curious to know what is going on.
Camren Bicondova has another really nice emotional scene about Ivy. Selina is the only character that I ever find sympathetic anymore. If I have an emotional reaction outside of laughter or fear, it’s almost always because of how good Bicondova is in this role. It’s a quick scene again but it’s effective.
Morena Baccarin is back as Leslie Thompkins and it is nice to see her again with lines of dialogue. She’s a terrific actress and I always enjoyed her presence on the show. She is involved in a surprise return of a character that is interesting and exciting. I hope it’s not random and pointless. But the connection is cool and I really want to see what they’re doing with it.
Jamie Chung and Ben McKenzie are still awkward together. Is it just me? Their whole dynamic just seems weird. I’m not sure what their dynamic even is. I don’t know why their characters even speak to each other let alone have sex.
Lee’s new fiance is fairly bland. He is the typical third wheel guy that is perfect in every way but boring as hell. You know the second Lee and Gordon see each other that they are getting back together at some point. This is Gotham so literally anything is possible but this seems super obvious and contrived. The end surprise might help give the fiance a personality but he’s pretty generic here.
I am already over the Bruce-clone story. I just don’t care. I’m tired of Bruce Wayne being on a completely different show than everyone else with Selina being the only consistent link between the two sides of the show. Evil doppelganger plots are done to death in superhero material especially if you watched all ten seasons of Smallville. It’s not interesting or fun.
This episode is fun as hell. It’s creepy, weird and over the top in all the right ways. The actors are having a blast and several interesting story lines are started up. I have some gripes but, overall, this is a highly enjoyable episode.
Penguin running for mayor is a story that has previously been done in live action. The 1966 show Batman did this story in a two part episode; part one is called “Hizzoner the Penguin” while the second part is called “Dizzoner the Penguin.” In the episodes, Penguin and Batman compete against each other for mayor. They’re wonderful episodes if you have not seen them. Penguin also runs for mayor in the 1992 film Batman Returns.
A portrait of Penguin’s father can be seen in his office. The character was played by Paul Reubens who also played Penguin’s father in Batman Returns.