Review: Gotham S3E09 “The Executioner”

by Nat Brehmer
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This episode does a lot of really neat things with the relationship between Gordon and Barnes. That’s pretty much the focus this week and it’s handled surprisingly well. There’s tension between them. Their roles have been somewhat reversed, but Barnes has spiraled into something more extreme than Gordon had ever been, even at his lowest.

These scenes play really well, especially when Barnes asks Gordon to accompany him on a lead to find Dr. Symon’s murderer. He questions someone who tells him the truth and Barnes shoots them dead anyway.

When he asks Gordon to accompany him, to help him in this cause, that’s the high point of the whole episode for me. Because in Barnes’ under-the-influence-of-Alice mind, he thinks he’s doing right by Gordon. He thinks he’s making him proud.

He does not see the difference between what he’s doing and what Gordon did when he took the law into his own hands to kill Theo Galavan. And Barnes has a point here, too, which is what really makes it endearing. Because on paper, there really isn’t much difference between what he’s doing now and what Gordon did then, and Gordon wasn’t under the influence of anything but his own rage.

What Alice has done to Barnes, I think, is only bringing out things that were inside of him the whole time. Barnes has been the most by-the-book, most moral character on the show up to this point, but he’s also been the most repressed. Alice’s blood has opened him up in a way that could prove to be completely damaging for him.

On the flipside, I still don’t like what they’re doing with Ivy. It’s still creepy. I don’t know what could make it better at this point. If they wanted to introduce a gorgeous, full-grown woman to give us the Poison Ivy we all know and love, I can’t understand for the life of me why they didn’t just keep Selina’s friend Ivy Pepper and introduce us to Pamela Isley as a separate person.

Because this gender-swapped Big thing they’re doing just isn’t working. It was creepy when Tom Hanks did it and it’s creepy now.

Still the showdown between Jim and Barnes which, for a moment, genuinely looks like it will be the last is pretty exhilarating. That’s a pretty great sequence and strong arc that doesn’t stick the landing as Barnes starts ridiculously shouting “Guilty!” as he’s being placed into a straitjacket.


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