Gotham Season 3 Episode 1: Better to Reign in Hell – Doppelgänger (Review)


Gotham starts the third season with Jim Gordon in, unsurprisingly, a very bad mood. Episode one “Better to Reign in Hell” shows Lee having moved on and Gordon hitting the bottle.  He is also working as a bounty hunter, dragging in Hugo Strange’s evil creations to “pay the rent.”

All of the Arkham Asylum escapees are walking the streets of the city and one in particular is searching for drugs. Fish Mooney is suffering every time she uses the power that Strange added to her DNA.  Looking for some relief has pushed her even further over the edge.

Now she wants Strange to “fix” her and create an army of more DNA altered villains. Sounds like a perfect opportunity to see the return of Jerome as The Joker.

There is a new reporter in town. Valerie Vale, auntie of Vicki and Batman’s romantic interest when he finally reaches maturity in Gotham. She is interested not only in the crimewave in the city, but  it seems that Val also has a thing for Jim Gordon.

Bruce Wayne has a doppelgänger and this longhaired monosyllabic lad has a thing for Selena Kyle.   The future Catwoman gives the boy some money and it brings out the stalker in him.

Kyle is still playing the game as only she can. Stealing Butch’s wallet, selling information to Vale about the Indian Hill gang and avoiding the Gotham PD. She has temporarily aligned herself with Fish but after the attack on Ivy this may change.

The soon to be older Poison Ivy was touched by Marv and then jettisoned into an open sewer pipe. Mrs. Peabody also gets the “fountain of age/death” and expires after telling Fish that Strange can sort her problems out.

Fish Mooney

Bruce tells his board of directors that there is a skunk in the woodpile and that he plans to flush it out. Shortly after, the leader of the covert group orders a masked man to “quietly take care of Wayne.”

Meanwhile Butch tries to get Tabby back and this results in a comic highlight in the episode.  After Barbara has beaten the mobster sent by Gilzean to a pulp Oswald and Butch show up to negotiate.

The gangster cannot say club due to his injuries and instead says “cwub.” Kean finds this hysterical and mocks the soon to be dead villain.

“Cwub? What’s a cwub? I mean, can anyone understand him?”

Cobblepot allows the two women to run their “cwub” but reminds Tabitha that she is on borrowed time. The minute, he says,  Butch gives him the nod;  Tabby is his.

Bruce is taken after Alfred lets the side down once more. (For a tough old geezer, Pennyworth has been getting his backside beaten on a regular basis.)

This season seems headed to a Alexander Dumas theme here. The Man in the Iron Mask territory where the new Bruce Wayne look-a-like will step in for the kidnapped future Batman.

“Better to Reign in Hell” has a more confident and powerful Penguin.  Cobblepot really does want Fish Mooney out of the picture.

The continuing friendship between Nygma and Oswald is interesting.  Cobblepot sees Edward as his BFF, after all who else could do an origami penguin and remind Oswald that “penguins eat fish,” in a matter of seconds.  Can he really be trusted?

Definitely not.

Oswald pointing a finger.

Thus far Gotham has a snotty Jim Gordon and an enticing new reporter.  Harvey has resumed his cowering act in front of the barely recovered Capt. Barnes and Bruce has stepped things up only to be taken in the night.

Selina may not stick with Mooney too long after the “apparent” demise of Ivy and Butch is clearly still besotted with Tabitha.

Gotham: Mad City also has an ailing Fish Mooney who is desperate to find Dr. Strange.

The opening salvo in season three is interesting and a little transparent. Of course the twin of Bruce may not be used as a temporary replacement at all but if he is not, what is the point.

James Gordon as bounty hunter is annoying. Sure he can work outside the law and get paid, but the future commissioner of Gotham is, deep inside, a cop.  This is a poor fit for Gordon and hopefully will end soon.

As another reviewer pointed out, “we already have a Batman” and they are right. Although the future hero has not transformed from Bruce Wayne boy millionaire to caped crusader just yet.

Apart from the introduction of Ms. Vale  and the partnership of Barbara and Tabitha, the only really interesting thing about the season premiere is Mooney’s gang of “monsters.”  One of which hastens the transformation of Poison Ivy.

So by the end of the first episode, Alfred is unconscious, Peabody is dead and Bruce Wayne is taken before the butler can turn on the alarm system for Wayne Manor.

If the Dumas angle continues one can either congratulate show creator Bruno Heller for an interesting sort of homage or take points off for lack of originality. What do you think? Has Heller made the right move with the doppelgänger twist?

On a closing note…

Did anyone else notice that both Barnes and Penguin were using canes in the episode open? And, did anyone notice that the canes were being used on opposite sides of the body?

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX.



Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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