Gotham: Mad City S3 ep6 – “Follow the White Rabbit” Recap & Review

This episode follows two main story lines: Penguin and Nygma's friendship and Tetch's vendetta against Jim Gordon.

Note: This covers the various story lines based on the characters involved. Some of these events overlap.

The Morning After

It’s the morning after (we assume) the intimate moment and embraced Oswald Cobblepot, the Penguin, shared with Edward Nygma. Penguin enjoys a leisurely breakfast while talking with (at) his maid. He tells her that he’s found someone, but what good is love if it’s one sided.

Penguin is in love with Edward Nygma.


Penguin and Nygma

Penguin walks into city hall to find Nygma already at work. They have an awkward greeting with Oswald seeming like an overzealous puppy. Nygma then confesses that he hasn’t had luck tracking down Bruce. He speaks as if he let Penguin down and Penguin is quick to assure him that’s not the case.

He tells Nygma that he has something he wants to speak to him about—and he tries to begin—but he falters and deflects to the day’s schedule.

Oswald tries to confess his feelings to Edward.

Oswald tries to confess his feelings to Edward.

At PS34, Penguin notices a young boy apart from the others. He gives him a little… “encouragement…” an and smiling, the boy runs off to play. Nygma is slightly awed and humbled by Penguin’s way with people. He says he has much to learn from him, still. Penguin, tripping over his feelings for Nygma, tells him that he wants to speak with him later about something important, in a more private setting. He suggests dinner and Nygma agreed to bring a nice wine.

Has Penguin Found His Prince?

Penguin rehearses what he’ll say to Nygma as he sits at a full table, anxious, nervous, yet excited.

Miss Kringle?

Nygma is trying to select a wine and a woman strikes up some small talk. When Nygma turns and sees her, he thinks he sees Kristin Kringle. The similarities are striking (They should be. It's the same actress who played Kristin Kringle—Chelsea Spack). But no. Her name is Isabella. She starts to apologize for disturbing him, but he puts an end to that and explains she just looks like someone he used to know.

She’s encouraged and steps towards him, saying,

You struggle to regain me.
When I am lost, do you struggle to obtain me?
What am I?

Has Nygma met his match?

Edward meets Isabella.

Edward meets Isabella.

The Wedding

A couple exits the church, surrounded by family and friends. Their chauffeur ushers them into the limo. It’s Jervis Tetch. As he locks them into the back of the limo, he tells a little boy next to him to buckle up.

Jim Meets the White Rabbit

Valerie and Jim are having breakfast at a diner, and she asks him to get her a sit down with Dr. Lee Tompins because she knows that Lee is working on Alice Tetch’s blood. Jim tries to deflect, saying Lee won’t tell her anything, but she’s persistent. Valerie needs to get to work, so she rises to leave.

As she’s walking away, a strange man walks up to Jim’s table. He’s very pale—almost like an albino, but not. He has icy blue eyes. White shaggy hair and bit of a bucktooth. A white suit. We have the White Rabbit (Kieran Mulcare), my friends, and he comes with a message from Tetch.

Follow the White Rabbit, Jim.

Follow the White Rabbit, Jim.

Follow my friend where to go,
To learn the truth you’ve hidden below.
Should you choose not to play,
Precious people will die today.

The White Rabbit leads him to a phone booth near an overpass. The phone rings and Jim answers. Tetch lets him know he’s studied him and his life. He’s going to drive Jim mad while showing him who he really is inside.

Then he gives him a choice. The bride and her groom are standing on the ledge of the overpass, ready to step off the edge. He can save them. However, there’s a little boy down the street who is going to be hit by a truck. He must choose. Who lives, who dies.

Jim races to save the boy and gets to him in the nick of time. He looks back at the overpass to see the bride and groom take a header off the overpass to smash into the ground below.

Tetch calls him again and tells Jim that he made the choice that they would die. He practically pushed them off the edge. Before he hangs up, he tells him where to go next and not to talk to the police and or more people will die.

GCPD On The Scene

Harvey tells Barnes that Jim saved the little boy, but he can’t get a hold of him.

He notices that Barnes doesn’t have his cane.

They see the white Rabbit and approach him, but he just repeats, “James Gordon, I have a message for you,” over and over.

They realize this is likely Tetch’s doing, and then take him down to GCPD.

Barnes tries to interrogate him but just gets the same response, over and over. In a fit of anger, he crushes the back rail of a metal chair. Harvey interrupts because he has a lead on where Jim is.

Cat and Mouse with Jim and Jervis

Jim arrives where Tetch told him to go. It appears to be where Tetch had been hiding out. There are photos and information about Jim and his connections pinned to the wall. On the far side of the room is a telescope.

Tetch calls him again with an antique phone he left for Jim. He tells Jim to look through the telescope so they can chat face-to-face. What's that on the side? It's engraved--"Through the Looking Glass"

He tries to get into Jim’s head and allude to him having issues with married couples since he chose them to die (as opposed to choosing to save the boy). Jim hangs up on him. Tetch calls back, angry. Jim hangs up again. Tetch calls back and Jim goes on the offense, saying that Alice hated him and if he wanted revenge, to kill himself. He offers to go speak to Tetch in person, and Tetch threatens to kill her if Jim hangs up again.

But who? Jim sees Valerie being abducted from a nearby building.

Deever and Dumfree abduct Valerie Vale under orders from Jervis Tetch.

Deever and Dumfree abduct Valerie Vale under orders from Jervis Tetch.

Where’s Tetch, Barbara?

Jim goes to The Sirens to confront Barbara. Tetch knew things only she could have told him. He wants to know where Tetch is. She says that Tetch had come in and she told him everything about his past, them (her and Jim), and the women in his life. Including Lee.

He leaves and frantically calls Lee to warn her but Tetch answers. Tetch demands he go to Gotham Water and Power within 10 minutes.

Make a Decision, Jim.

Jim shows up to find an assortment of televisions set up like a mosaic, all with Tetch’s face on them. Tetch brings his attention to two men on a catwalk high above the ground, tied to chairs and hooked up to… something. He introduces them and makes special note of their professions. A pediatrician and a news anchor—a doctor and a journalist.

The choice is simple you see,
It’s kill one and the other will go free.
But if your answer to me is no,
A thousand watts into them will go.

Tetch wants him to shoot one of the men—to choose who will die so the other can live. He believes this will show Jim who he is inside. Barnes and the GCPD show up and they rush to find the main power shutoff. But they’re too late. Tetch electrocutes both men while Jim looks on, helpless.

He threatens Jervis, letting him know he’s coming for him.

I’m counting on it.
Just ask an old friend
How to get to the end.

Back at GCPD

Jim lets Barnes and Harvey know that Tetch has Lee and Valerie, that he blames Jim for Alice’s death, and he intends to make Jim pay. He knows that Tetch will make him choose between Lee and Valerie and make him choose—or he’ll kill them both.

While at GCPD, Jim notices the White Rabbit in lock-up and he remembers that the White Rabbit referred to himself as Tetch’s friend. He goes to him and the White Rabbit writes down an address for him, fulfilling his task.

The true test will be revealed.
The final decision you must yield.
The tea party begins once more,
When you walk through Lee Tompkin’s door.

As Jim is leaving he runs into Mario who demands to know what’s going on. Jim realizes that Mario can help him save Lee and leads him out.

Welcome to our Tea Party

The tea party at Lee Tompin's home.

The tea party at Lee Tompin's home.

When Jim arrives at Lee’s, he finds Jervis and the ladies waiting for him in the dining room. Jervis tells them all the story of his search for his sister, painting himself as the victim and Jim as a cold-blooded murderer who killed his sweet sister.

Jervis wants to know who he loves, so he can kill the one dearest to Jim’s heart.

With Jervis threatening them both, he says he’ll tell him. But only if his men put down their guns. He doesn’t want to risk one of them shooting him by mistake. Jervis agrees and orders it done. Almost immediately Mario surprises them from behind with a gun he kept stored in the basement.

Unluckily for them, Jervis already found the gun and switched out the magazines for one with no bullets. He has Mario locked up in the bathroom and tries to get back to the program.

Jim goes on the offense, telling Jervis how Alice hated him. She told him what Jervis did to her as children. That Jervis disgusted her, and that she decided she’d rather die than be with him. He told Jervis that when she died, she was smiling and free from him.

In a rage Jervis almost loses it and comes close to shooting Jim, but Jim makes the mistake of encouraging it, and that snaps Jervis back to the present moment and his goal.

Jervis Tetch almost kills Jim, ending his game early.

Jervis Tetch almost kills Jim, ending his game early.

Jervis demands Jim choose who he wants Jervis to kill, on the count of 3, or he shoots both women. He chooses Lee to die—Jervis shoots Valerie Vale.

As Jervis makes his getaway, Jim and Lee rush to help Valerie.

Jim holds on to the wounded Valerie Vale.

Jim holds on to the wounded Valerie Vale.

Gotham General

Valerie goes into surgery but it’s critical. Mario will be working on her.

Later Jim sits beside Lee, who is waiting in the hall. He starts to try to explain what he said, but she cuts him off.

Jim—not now.

Some Final Thoughts

Penguin and Nygma

Let's start with Penguin and Nygma. I was PSYCHED when right from the start of the episode, Oswald Cobblepot expresses his feelings for Edward Nygma out loud. In the past, the two has started a pretty awesome bromance and I loved them as a duo. But in this season so far, we've definitely seen that bromance bloom into something a little intense, particularly on Penguins part. Last week's episode really had me wondering if the story would take us here.

And it works. To be honest, I'd never thought of Penguin as having those desires. It just never occurred to me to wonder. Girls? Guys? Sock puppets? (Shout out to The Big Bang Theory fans.) I would actually have been tempted to describe him as a more asexual character. Even know, his feelings seem purely based on emotion. There's been no indication of physical desires aside from the desire to cling tightly that we saw during last week's embrace after the fiasco at The Sirens with Butch.

Nygma seemed like he felt something more than friendship for Penguin, but is much more awkward and reserved. It was possible.

But then we saw his reaction to Isabella at the wine shop and saw all those pent up emotions about Kristen Kringle come flooding out. When she posited her own riddle, it really felt like Nygma has found his perfect match.

But now that's almost sort of a letdown. What about Oswald? I guess there could still be a chance. Could Edward still be capable of feelings for Oswald? Could he want them both? How will Penguin react when he finds out about Isabella and will he still confess his feelings for Edward?

The Love Triangle

Ok, we know that in the end, Jim told Tetch to kill Lee. Did he mean it and he was choosing Valerie? I'm not so sure. He's really only known Valerie for a short time. He's a man of honor, so of course, he would still go after her when she was abducted. He's also still a cop at heart.

But maybe... just maybe... he knew that Tetch wouldn't kill the woman he chose to die. Maybe he knew Tetch would shoot the other since he's intent on killing the woman Jim loves most. So he chooses Lee to die. He knows Tetch will think that means he loves Valerie, and that's who he'll shoot.

Or perhaps he doesn't love Lee most, but he knows she's a doctor and if the shot isn't immediately fatal, Lee can help keep Valerie alive long enough for an ambulance to arrive.

There are too many unknowns. We'll just have to keep watching to find out what Jim was thinking when he told Jervis to kill Lee.

I can't wait until next week.

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