#Gotham: Mad City S3ep8 – “Blood Rush” recap and review

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

Lee and Mario

Lee and Mario are talking about their upcoming engagement party, hosted by Mario’s father, Carmine Falcone.

Lee tells Mario that Jim Gordon is returning to the GCPD—that day. She’s known for a few days but wasn’t sure how to tell him yet. Mario is upset, but Lee assures him that it’s business and asks him if he trusts her. He says he does, but if she accidentally shot Jim Gordon, he would be ok with that too. She makes no promises.

Captain Barnes’ blood

A man putting a body wrapped in a carpet into the back of a van. Captain Barnes is walking back to his car with some groceries and looks up to see the man about the get into the van. However, they make eye contact and he notices the man has blood on his face.

He follows him to an empty warehouse where he finds the man has dismembered the body and was pouring acid on it. When he sees the torso and an arm in a rusted out bathtub, his disease—Alice’s blood—starts to have an effect on him.

Barnes notices the dismembered torso and arm in the tub.

Barnes notices the dismembered torso and arm in the tub.

The man tries to reason with him. He’s just the cleaner. That has a negative effect on Barnes.

You’re just the cleaner. You’re just the guy who chops up the bodies and drops them in a vat of acid. That’s it.
— Captain Barnes

Barnes stalks towards him, like a predator after his prey. Barnes talks at (not really ‘with’) the man while having a self-realization experience. He talks about how when he sees men like him, he just wants to punish them. He can feel the blood getting stronger. As the man tries to give up the “Toad,” Barnes loses it and attacks him.

Jim Gordon on the case

Jim arrives at a busy day at the GCPD. Harvey immediately drags him off for a call they got at a warehouse.

The victim—the same man Barnes followed—is Paulie Panopolis, a.k.a. Paulie Pennies (Peter Patrikios). When they arrive, they find Paulie’s body strung up, decapitated. Blood is smeared across the walls, and the forensics crew is lagging body parts into evidence, including Paulie’s head.

The crime scene after Barnes confronted Paulie Pennies.

The crime scene after Barnes confronted Paulie Pennies.

Barnes tells him about his anger towards criminals. Tetch sees through it and knows that it’s not anger. It’s rage. Barnes asks again—is there a cure? Tetch says there is and gleefully exclaims:

Barnes’ visits Tetch

Barnes visits Tetch in Arkham. He wants to know how to beat the virus. Tetch wants a little tit-for-tat.

My sister’s virus is a beautiful thing.
It makes the darkest parts of a person sing.
What darkness in you has Alice brought to life?
Tell me that, and I’ll tell you everything I know.
— Jervis Tetch
You give in and let my dear sister win!”
— Jervis Tetch

Barnes starts to lash out and Tetch asks if Barnes has heard the voices. As the virus grows stronger, Barnes will hear dark voices from within whispering. At some point there will be no more Capt. Barnes. Only Alice.

He guesses that Barnes has already taken a step down a dark road, but Barnes insisted he can make it right.

Back at GCPD

Jim visits Lee to get information on the bodies from the crime scene. After a little awkward small talk where she informs him about her engagement party that night, she tells him that the John Doe from the acid vat had had his face removed. It was surgically done.

Jim joins Harvey in Captain Barnes’ office, where Harvey is rattling off their theory that whoever killed Paulie Pennies was tying up loose ends. Jim lets them know about John Doe’s face being removed and Captain Barnes informs them that he’s taking point on the investigation. His temper is short and he snaps at Jim, but apologizes before he leave.

Another officer brings him a file for a mid-level felon that goes by the name of “Toad.”

The Toad

Barnes tracks the Toad (Gerald Bunsen) down to a dive bar. After being told to blow it, he snaps and beats up several of the Toad’s lackeys, as well as the Toad himself. He threatens the Toad with a broken bottle to his face and the Toad tells him everything. He hired Paulie, but it was under the orders of Dr. Symon. He kills them and they just get rid of the bodies.

At this denial of responsibility, Barnes starts to lose it again. You can see the virus taking over and that he’s on the verge of killing the Toad. He snaps out of it when the Toad reminds him that he [Barnes] is a cop.

Dr. Symon

With the Toad in his trunk, Barnes arrives outside Dr. Maxwell Symon’s office.

He walks in right as the doctor starts cutting around a young woman’s face.

Dr. Symon starts to remove a victim's face.

Dr. Symon starts to remove a victim's face.

Barnes sees a jar with a face in it, and realizes this has been happening for a while.

When Symon smugly invokes his right to an attorney he hears a voice whispering and calls out to whoever it is. Symon tells him there’s no one else there.

Remember those voices Tetch mentioned? They’ve started. And they decide Symon is guilty. Barnes attacks him and fights not to shoot him. He succeeds—barely—and takes Symon down to GCPD.

Harvey takes Symon to booking for the murder of John Doe and Barnes tells Jim that Symon is a plastic surgeon for the underworld, providing new faces.

He asks Jim if he ever feels like he won the battle but knows he’s going to lose the war. Not knowing about Alice’s blood, Jim encourages him that wars are fought one battle at a time.

Back in his office, Barnes sets down his gun and his badge.

Later on, Jim and Lucius are looking over the toxicology reports that tie Dr. Symon to the John Doe due to the drug cocktail he used both on his female victim and John Doe. Harvey bursts in with the news that Symon made bail and was released. The good doctor is highly connected. But now that they have hard evidence, Jim and Harvey rush off to bring him back in.

To the happy couple!

Barbara shows up at the party to chat and makes nice with Lee, but Lee is having none of it. Barbara wants to know if Lee misses the heat and proximity to the darkness and light of Jim Gordon. Lee says she doesn’t and Barbara laughs and is amused that Lee might “actually believe that.”

Barnes appears to congratulate Lee as Barbara saunters off and Lee convinces him to stay for a drink.

Carmine Falcone tries to have an amiable chat with Captain Barnes, but with Barnes’ feelings about criminals, it doesn’t go over well. He tells Carmine that it doesn’t matter if he’s done some good, he deserves to be in jail because no one is above the law. Carmine counters that when he hears that, he believes the person saying it is usually trying to convince themselves.

After Carmine Falcone excuses himself, Barnes calls the precinct and says that he’s bringing in the man who killed Paulie Penny. Right as the officer tries to tell him about Symon’s release, Barnes sees him there at the party, smug smile on his face. The voices start up again.

Capt. Barnes and Dr. Symon

Barnes corners Symon in one of the bathrooms at the party. Symon blithely mocks his frowning and offers a free evaluation the next day if he comes to the office.

Barnes smashes him into the sink, then tosses him through the door of a bathroom, breaking the toilet from the floor. Barnes waxes poetic about how he’s been holding himself back from what he really wants to do. Punish the criminals of the world. The guilty. The whole town of Gotham is guilty. When Symon says he can’t hurt him
because he’s a cop, he gives in.

Barnes smashes Symon into the sink before throwing him through a bathroom stall.

Barnes smashes Symon into the sink before throwing him through a bathroom stall.

I don’t have to do anything. I am the law.
I am judge.
And executioner!
— Captain Barnes

On “judge,” “jury,” and “executioner” Barnes smashes Symon into the wall. On the final one, he smashes him through the wall and Symon falls onto a car below.

Sentence served.
— Captain Barnes

The investigation takes a turn

Barnes comes down to find Jim. He mentions that he saw Symon earlier, and Jim says Symon must have skipped out. Before Jim walks off, Barnes stops him.

Jim—things are gonna change around here. You and I are gonna make a difference in this city. We’re gonna clean it up.
— Captain Barnes

The voices come back as he walks through the crowd. Every person he looks at—“Guilty.”

The voices tell Barnes that everyone is guilty.

The voices tell Barnes that everyone is guilty.

Outside, Jim hears a woman scream and rushes over to find Symon barely alive on the car. He asks who did it, and Symon barely croaks out, “Barnes.”


Edward Nygma and Isabella

Edward and Isabella enjoy a nice breakfast together. Isabella is leaving for a conference and Nygma wants to know all about it. She offers to read him her schedule and pulls out a pair of glasses—the same style Kristin Kringle had.

Isabella breaks out the back-up glasses.

Isabella breaks out the back-up glasses.

Nygma starts to have a mild panic attack and locks himself in the bathroom. He becomes unhinged and starts to see and hear Kristin in the mirror. She mocks him and his connection to Isabella. She calls out their similarities, with the major difference being she was dead and Isabella alive—at least until Nygma kills her. She calls him a killer and insists it’s just a matter of time before he hurts Isabella. He throws open the medicine cabinet and Kristin disappears.

Edward starts seeing Ms. Kringle in the mirror.

Edward starts seeing Ms. Kringle in the mirror.

Nygma has a crisis

At the mayor’s mansion, Nygma is woefully telling Penguin about what happened with Isabella that morning. He’s worried that he might hurt her—that the resemblance to Kristin will push him over the edge. Penguin says it’s so noble for him to be willing to leave Isabella to protect her. Nygma convinces himself that’s what he needs to do, but he can’t. He asks Penguin to break up with her for him.

The breakup

Penguin visits Isabella at her home. She asks if Edward is ok because he’s not answering her calls, and Penguin tells her that it’s over. She shouldn’t try to contact him—the door is closed. He says that aside from her resemblance to Ms. Kringle, her affection for riddles and order, what do they actually have in common? Edward is exceptional and she’s not at his level. She’s not good enough for him.

She agrees that she doesn’t deserve him, but she loves him and he loves her and that’s so rare.

In that moment she realizes that Penguin loves Edward as well. Penguin gets angry and tries to threaten her off. She stands her ground. She’s going to fight for him.

Isabella tells Penguin that she will fight for Edward.

Isabella tells Penguin that she will fight for Edward.

The experiment

Nygma arrives at Isabella’s after receiving a note. She wants to speak with him. He tries to defend the idea of breaking up because he thinks it’s for the best.

She understands his fear and knows that he won’t hurt her. When she steps out of the bathroom to join Edward, he’s confronted with Kristin Kringle—or rather, Isabella dressed exactly like Kristin with the same makeup, glasses, and red hair.

Isabella does herself up to look like Kristin Kringle.

Isabella does herself up to look like Kristin Kringle.

He tries to get away and protest but she slaps him and insists that she’s going to get him through his fear. She lifts his hand to her throat, him protesting the whole time. The tension and panic is palpable. But when she gasps out his name, something changes and he goes in for a desperate kiss.

Should I take the glasses off?
— Isabella
Keep ‘em on.
— Edward Nygma

Penguin and Nygma

Back at the mayor’s mansion Edward lets Penguin know that he and Isabella reconciled and that Isabella was off to her conference. Nygma goes off to get some sleep.

Penguin sits back down near the fire. He gives Isabella credit and confirms with a lackey that “it’s done.” He assures Penguin it is, and that it’s a shame because he always liked librarians.

Penguin feels sorry for Edward but he will be there as a shoulder to cry on.

Train X-ing

Isabella is on her way to the conference and comes up towards a train crossing that is chiming its alarm. She starts to press the brake to slow down, but nothing happens. We see brake fluid spurt out of a tube. She starts crying for help and as she enters the crossing, finishes with “Oh dear.”

Isabella's car goes through an active train crossing.

Isabella's car goes through an active train crossing.

We hear a crashing and metal twist, but the camera has cut away.


Oh my gosh, did Isabella just die? Or will we find out she somehow survived? If she survived, will she become a villain? Whether she survives or not, will Edward find out that Penguin was behind it and will this drive a wedge between the two men?

There are so many possibilities for how this can play out. Personally, I'm betting that she doesn't survive and that Edward eventually finds out that Penguin was responsible. This will break up the bromance and cause some serious need to vengeance. It will push Edward over the edge as the Riddler.

What do you think?

Regarding Captain Barnes, I'm really sad. I enjoyed him as the captain. But now that Jim knows the (partial) truth, he won't be able to stand by and let Barnes get away with it. Will Barnes become a full villain, or will be just be a sort of "monster of the week" style minor villain?

Let me know your thoughts.

Any other fan theories you enjoy?

Tell me in the comments below!