"The Primal Riddle" S3 Ep. 17 #Gotham Recap, Review, and Spoilers

When Penguin gets his way, the freaks come to play! Hello all. This is a spoiler, recap, and review of the seventeenth episode of the third season of Gotham. Let’s jump right in to it.

The first scene we see is rather a chilly one because Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) and Ivy (Maggie Geha) are wrapped up in heavy winter wear in order to find the first freak for their army: Victor Fries (Nathan Darrow). He’s not exactly welcoming when he sees Oswald because during his candidacy for mayor, Pengy kinda sorta drove out many of the freaks that escaped from Indian Hill. Things get a tad awkward at first, but with Ivy’s perspective, Oswald’s persistence, and Fries’ recovered ice suit, Victor agrees to join them.

Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), after that whole spat with his uncle, has a meeting with Kathryn (Leslie Handrix). Jim manages to convince that he wants to join the court under the false pretense that he killed his uncle Frank out of revenge for his father. Of course the Court and all their creepiness want to see if Jim is truly loyal.

Back at the GCPD, the police report of Frank’s “murdered” body ends up in the hands of Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin). Instead of acting concerned, Jim acts somewhat aloof towards his uncle’s death. Since Lee has to say something about everything, she takes notice of Jim’s behavior and call him on it. When he denies what’s really going on, Lee goes on a tangent about Jim’s destructive behavior, blah, blah, blah, and how she can’t wait to see it blow up in his face, blah, blah, blah, don’t care.

Jim and Harvey (Donal Logue) become aware of Edward Nygma (Corey Michael Smith) is now being called the Riddler in the newspapers and apparently is causing some more trouble.

Speaking of Ed, Barbara (Erin Richards) takes a little visit to his lair. She wants information about the group of people who really control Gotham for, what else, personal gain. Edward is reminded about how Dr. Hugo Strange said something to him about that very same subject. Needless to say, his interest is piqued; and it stirs the theater bug in him.

During a packed house of a production of Hamlet, the Riddler takes the stage! He announces that he wants to know who really runs the city…and then he runs another actor through. But he doesn’t depart without leaving a riddle for the GCPD to decipher and his boss like ability to roll his R’s.

Let’s see what Bruce’s clone, Five, is doing. Shall we?

While playing a game of chess with Alfred (Sean Pertwee), Five (David Mazouz) seems to be getting kind of attached to him; but Alfred is still suspicious of “Bruce’s” behavior as of late, but he does not let on. After the game, Five’s nose begins to bleed. He makes a quick visit to Kathryn and the Court. We are informed that the process that brought Five to life was somewhat ineffective and that Five has a short amount of time to live; although Five does seem to be grateful towards the Court for all they’ve done for him.

Back at the theater, Gordon and Bullock investigate Edward’s riddle left behind after his performance. Oh, wait, sorry. PERFORMANCE! They find a box mentioning a “two-faced politician”.

No, not that one yet.

The riddle was talking about Mayor James. Jim and Harvey arrive at his office and see him eating Danishes sent to him by a “concerned citizen”. Sudden tummy troubles make James take some pills for his pain. Upon further inspection, the little, white pills have little, green question marks on them. It could only be the work of………Man Bat! Nah, it’s from the Riddler.

Mayor James is immediately escorted to the hospital. Unfortunately, the emergency room is overrun by a bunch of bikers due to a bomb that Riddler used in their bar. Jim tries to keep an eye on James, but the ruckus caused by the biker gangs gets out of hand and the Mayor is kidnapped amongst the commotion.

Things get heated up when Oswald and Ivy come to recruit Firefly (Camila Perez) who works at some industrial factory. It doesn’t take long to convince Bridget to quit her job and join the army of freaks. Not before throwing smoldering liquid in her boss’ face of course.

Riddler and Barbara interrogate the Mayor. The only information that he can give up is that there IS a group of people running Gotham and that they go by the Court. Babby-K is still bitter about the whole situation, but that doesn’t stop Edward from broadcasting him holding James hostage for information about the Court on live TV.

This provides an opportunity for Jim to prove his loyalty to the Court.  He manages to convince Nygma to come down to the GCPD with Mayor James with a bomb attached to his neck. Jim play it cool, even when Ed presses a button on a device that activates the bomb. However the signal on the device was jammed due to a little favor from Tabitha (Jessica Lucas). Edward agrees to leave the GCPD with Jim because Jim said that he knows about the Court.

Meanwhile, Five visits Selina’s (Camren Bicondova) place. Surprisingly, he comes clean about who he really is and about the weapon that the Court plans to use on the city. Selina asks why he would tell her all this and he says it’s because he cares about her. Selina scoffs and says that he is nothing at all like Bruce. She knows that Bruce would try to save everyone rather than just one person. She goes on a tangent that Five will never be like Bruce because he is nothing. Insignificant. Five tells her to stop saying things like that, but Selina continues her taunt until he PUSHES HER OUT OF THE DAMN WINDOW! Holy crap on a cracker, Batman! Five killed her!

The last we see of Selina is her body contorted on pavement; her eyes wide open and stock still. One cat comes to check out what happened. Then two. Then five. Then ten….

Jim and Edward meet in the location Kathryn told Jim. Heavy nostalgia fills the car as Jim reminds Ed about the dinner that he and Lee had with Edward and Kristen. The moment of cynical friendship is dashed when Kathryn’s car approaches. She welcomes Edward and tells him that she will tell him everything about the Court.

Barbara Queen enters her club in a fury when she asks Tabitha and Butch (Drew Powell) about the device that was supposed to off around the Mayor’s neck. Apparently, Bab and Tab’s relationship is a bit rocky and it doesn’t help when Barbara herself wants full control of Gotham.

The last thing we see is Kathryn inducting Jim into the Court of Owls with a really cool owl mask sunglasses thing.

This episode was quite entertaining. I liked that there wasn’t just two storylines that were followed. I enjoyed the little homage to the “Batman Returns” film when we see Selina on the ground after being pushed out a window. The army of freaks and company scene I especially like because we got to see the dynamic of Oswald dealing with people he usually doesn’t waste his time on.

Things I liked:

The. Absolute. Haminess. Of Edward Nygma. Actor Corey Michael Smith clearly had so much delight while delving into the Riddler’s character. And for those of you who might not like his performance, the Riddler is very intelligent, yes. But he is also showy, campy, and very insecure. Come on, it’s probably a little tricky making someone who tells riddles and puzzles threatening. Smith captures the giddiness and homicidal nature of Edward Nygma.

Seeing Oswald handle himself with the “freaks”. Normally Oswald wouldn’t look twice at someone like Ivy or Firefly, but I think he’s learning to embrace his more monster side of himself. He’s learning and leading the people that his mayoral campaign tried to run out.

Seeing Tabitha get a little wiser towards Barbara.

BUTCH! I love that guy.

The absolutely stunning work from makeup and costume for Victor Fries and FIrefly.

WOAH! Selina being pushed out a window by Five?! I mean, I saw her image on the pavement in several promos and trailers, but I was still stunned. I’m not happy that Selina got pushed to her death, but THAT. SCENE. THOUGH.

Things I didn’t like:

Lee and her stupid grudge against Jim. Yeah, yeah, Jim shot her husband on their wedding day, but only because he was infected with the Tetch virus. AND SHE KNOWS THAT. But nooooo. She still won’t shut up about her salty-ness towards Jim. I know there are some fans who like her, and I got nothing against the actress, far from it. I just never liked her or thought she added anything else other than being a doctor and some love interest. I’m at the point where I just want to kick her in the throat whenever I see her now. *gets down from soap box* I’m done.


Overall, I’d give this episode a good 8.5 out of ten.

As always, stay weird.

(If the title of the episode, “The Primal Riddle” sounds familiar, that’s because there’s a comic book arc with the same name. The plot is basically where Batman’s soul is inside the Riddler’s body.)