Gotham Season 3 Episode 13 Review – ‘Smile Like You Mean It’

Martin Carr reviews the thirteenth episode of Gotham season 3…

If a singular act were guaranteed to make an audience sit up and take notice stapling your face back on wins hands down. And so it is with Cameron Monaghan’s return to Gotham, where he makes another flagrant grab for Heath Ledger’s crown with a grandstanding performance.

 

From the moment of defrost through to reanimation there is a palpable sense of darkness which pervades episode thirteen. Wayne is being blackmailed, Gordon continues encountering an increasingly hardened Lee Thompkins, while Penguin loses his mind. There is little time for levity amongst the carnage, masks of human flesh and ‘Frankenstein’ references. What Gotham promises to build towards then in the last nine episodes is a finale memorable beyond measure. A venture it could be suggested unlikely to succeed without the presence of strong characters both sides of that gender line. By which of course I mean the women as well.

Tabitha, Barbara, Lee, Selina, Ivy and the long deceased Mrs.Cobblepot are all formidable. That most of these women have had their lives affected in some way by Jim Gordon is no coincidence. Abandoned, scarred or driven into the arms of insanity their paths have all differed, but that resultant strength came from being in close proximity to one man. And these damaged people will be the making of Gotham as a series of serious staying power.

 

Strong men within this city only possess certain masculine traits that grow stale with time if there is nothing to counterbalance them. Therefore these fully rounded and unyielding women provide the necessary diversity to help create a fully functioning world. For example if you think that revenge plots are all well and good but lack guile and cunning if accomplished by men alone, then you immediately see how much richer the Nygma arc has become. Tabitha and Barbara are insane and happily playing both sides off against each other. While the men are wrapped up in their own selfish agenda these women are plotting the ultimate takeover.

Elsewhere Selina is being played whilst Lee is quietly carving her line in the sand which is quickly turning into a chasm between herself and Gordon. Gunning down someone else’s fiancée is bound to put a spanner in any relationship, but here more than most it represents an issue. Psychologically unbalanced after the incident Lee is perhaps the most damaged after Barbara. Gordon knows she stands between him and a death sentence and it is this shift in power which keeps us watching. Throw into the mix a thawed out sociopath with no face and firm belief in chaos as an ethos and Gotham is only just warming up.

 

Knowing that we have one more episode until it breaks again is a crime. Whoever made the decision to disrupt momentum to this degree needs sacking. No one in their right mind brings back a character like Jerome only to disappear for another eight weeks. But what do I know I only watch this programme I don’t schedule it.