Knight Moves: Gotham Episode 421, "One Bad Day"

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GOTHAM does its own unique spin on DC Comics' THE KILLING JOKE in this latest episode, as things lead up to next season, which looks to be a take on the mega-arc, NO MAN'S LAND.

Jeremiah Valeska (CAMERON MONAGHAN) is holding Gotham City hostage, having planted highly explosive bombs all over the city. Jim Gordon (BEN MCKENZIE) is feared dead, and as ranking detective Harvey Bullock (DONAL LOGUE) takes the lead. But the police don't want to follow him, because the last time he was in charge they all got shot at by Professor Pyg.

Meanwhile, Oswald Cobblepot (ROBIN LORD TAYLOR) senses an opportunity to cash in on Jeremiah's extortion plot, and convinces Barbara Kean (ERIN RICHARDS) and Tabitha Galavan (JESSICA LUCAS) to ally with him, with the underlying promise of getting a cure for Butch (DREW POWELL) and his "Solomon Grundy" condition. 

Gordon turns out to be alive and well, having been saved by Dr. Lee Thompkins (MORENA BACCARIN). She takes the schematics from him that he in turn took from Jeremiah's lair, and hands them to The Riddler (CORY MICHAEL SMITH) to see if there are any clues in them. There are. Cleverly hidden in the map of the laybrinthe is the location of every bomb in Gotham.

Bruce Wayne (DAVID MAZOUZ) wants to help, but he has a side quest that's more important. Jeremiah has kidnapped Alfred (SEAN PERTWEE). Bruce must run a gauntlet of the Scarecrow's fear toxins while being bombarded with images of Alfred being tortured. This is almost a direct pull from THE KILLING JOKE when The Joker ran Commissioner Gordon through a similar gamut, with the images being those of his daughter, Barbara. When Bruce finds Alfred, Alfred has gone insane, cutting himself and attacking Bruce.

But that's all an hallucination -- the Scarecrow making Bruce see what he wants him to see. The real Alfred has been rescued by Selina Kyle (CAMREN BICONDOVA), and the two of them pull Bruce back literally from the brink.

Jeremiah's leaders lose trust in him when they learn that Gordon is still alive. It turns into a full-on revolt when Jeremiah presses the detonator and there's no Gotham-shattering kaboom. That's because Harvey Bullock has disarmed one of the bombs, at great personal risk, and disabled the sequence that would have exploded all of them at once. But Jeremiah has a way of dealing with an army of malcontents...

Returning to Wayne Manor, Alfred goes to clean up and prepare dinner, with Selina remaining with them. She and Bruce talk, and Bruce tells her how he learned from Jeremiah that his twin brother Jerome told him all it took for someone to go mad was "one bad day." He wonders if he didn't go a little insane the night his parents were killed. The two kiss, and are interrupted -- by Jeremiah!

Because it wouldn't be THE KILLING JOKE without the beautiful female lead taking a bullet to the gut.

Next week's the finale -- and it looks to be huge.

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0