Gotham season 3 episode 11 review: Beware The Green-Eyed Monster

Gotham overestimates how much we care about the Jim/Lee romance in its underwhelming season three fall finale...

This review contains spoilers.

3.11 Beware The Green-Eyed Monster

There was a point in Gotham season three when it felt like this show was dealing with some of its major problems. It streamlined its vast ensemble cast into a few focused plots. It broke out of many of its redundant narrative cycles, hinting at a potential romance between Ed and Oswald that felt organic and sweet and increased queer representation to boot. It stopped trying to make Jim Gordon into Batman for five seconds and, instead, recognized that he was kind of a mess.

Then, Gordon went back to the GCPD and his self-righteous ways; Gotham threw a Vertigo-shaped, heterosexual wrench in the Nygmobblepot romance; and the show doubled down on the least interesting “romance” on its show. There were things to like about the fall finale, but they were overshadowed by the return of a hero protagonist it’s really hard to get behind. (Guys, Jim Gordon shoots a lot of people.)

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Did we really need Mario turning Jim Gordon into a jealous ex to be the “A” plot, Gotham? I know you’ve invested a lot of narrative energy in both the Tetch virus and the Jim/Lee relationship, but watching Jim stab a virus-infected Mario moments before he is set to plunge a knife into new bride Lee’s back is not the kind of fall cliffhanger I was hoping this show would go out on. Especially because, frankly, I can kind of imagine Jim going off the deep end without Mario’s behind-the-scenes machinations. He already shoots people to get his way, makes ill-timed confessions, and thinks that he is the best and only man to stop the latest crisis. (Meanwhile, Harvey continues to be a beacon of hilarious, yet insightful one-liners.) 

This show has never done a particularly good job getting us to care about the Jim/Lee romance, but it works extra time to make us root for the star-crossed couple here, casting Mario as a bad guy despite the fact that he is under the influence of a crazy-making drug. Perhaps it wouldn’t be such a stretch if we didn’t just watch the show cast Barnes’ descent into the virus’ madness as a sympathetic one. As something that is not his fault. There is no such sympathy for Mario (though Carmine does get to point out that his son is not a maniac so much as sick). No, we need Mario as a black-and-white nemesis to Jim’s heart.

The thing is: even if Mario were the bad guy the show is half-heartedly trying to convince us of in Beware The Green-Eyed Monster, Jim’s actions still aren’t very sympathetic. The way he plays into Mario’s hand is an insult to his intelligence. And Lee is right to get angry when Jim confesses his love for her minutes before she walks down the aisle. That’s not a romantic move. It’s a dick move. Lee might be out one husband (or not — people are hard to kill on this show), but I’m still not convinced she should go running back into Jim’s arms. Jim’s confession was a moment of honest vulnerability for the man, but he and Lee are still an incredibly awkward fit.

Moving forward, it’s hard to see where Jim and Lee could go from here. Even if she does still love him and forgives Jim for his part in Mario’s maybe-death, the man has pretty much made her life miserable since they met. But Lee is not the person Jim need to be worried about. If Mario is dead, then Carmine is going to be after Jim’s blood. He trusted Jim to bring his son back alive (which was a very stupid decision — on both Carmine’s part and on the part of the GCPD), and Jim broke his promise.

Sure, we know there were extenuating circumstances, but the knife Mario was holding dropped pretty far from his body. Something tells me Jim’s going to have a lot of explaining to do come Gotham‘s return.

Ed sets his sights on Oswald this week, and not in a romantic way. Not in a romantic way at all. It’s been disappointing to watch the turn Gotham has taken on the Ed/Oswald relationship. Though any villainous romance would most likely have been doomed, it would have been all the more tragic to see these two find brief happiness, only to have it snatched away, further fuelling their desire to take over Gotham. From where I’m sitting, that would have been a more interesting story than what we’re apparently going to get: a continuation of the ever-shifting alliances, scheming, and backstabbing (though thankfully not literally) that has defined Gotham‘s villain characters so far.

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My pain is soothed by the continued delight it is to watch Barbara get more to do. If you told me back in season one that she would be one of my favourite characters two years down the road, I would have laughed in your face (actually, it would have been a bit like Barbara’s mad laugh). While I still don’t buy that Ed would fall in love with Isabella (and am still mad that Isabella wasn’t some kind of plant or con artist), Gotham has done a good job steadily building Barbara’s rise to power. If anyone on this show deserves to rule Gotham for a while, it’s her. If only because she had to put up with Jim Gordon for so long.

It turns out that Team Bruce stealing from The Court Of Owls was pretty easy. For a secret, all-powerful organization that is controlling Gotham, The Court of Owls doesn’t have very good security. I find Bruce and Selina’s banter as adorable as the next reviewer, but that doesn’t mean I’m not upset that The Court of Owls didn’t double-lock their vault. Or, I don’t know, hire more than one assassin.

That being said, the Team Bruce plotline continues to be a lot of fun. Watching Selina let turtleneck-wearing teen Bruce in, despite her trust issues is another relationship that, like Nymobblepot before it, feels organic and earned. Though I’m not particularly interested in learning more about Selina’s mother, I am eager to find out how her return will effect the emotional growth Selina has made in this season so far.

As for The Court of Owls, how will they respond when they find out Team Bruce has stolen their owl statue? What is their owl statue? (Other than an owl statue.) Did they let Team Bruce take it? (Again, it felt a little too easy.) And should we be questioning the wisdom of taking down the organization that is apparently keeping Gotham afloat?

I’m as wigged out by The Court of Owls as Team Bruce, but there’s so much we still don’t know about them. And it seems like they were trying to kill Mario to keep Gotham safe from the effects of the Tetch blood virus. In some shadowy, morally-questionable way, they have the city’s best interest at hearts. (They’re not so unlike Jim Gordon, in this regard.) They fear chaos, but, if Team Bruce takes them down, will something worse than The Court’s authoritarian method of control rise up in its place? Tune in next time to maybe find out.

Read Kayti’s review of the previous episode, Time Bomb, here.

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