Gotham Season 3 Episode 17 Review – ‘The Primal Riddle’

Martin Carr reviews the seventeenth episode of Gotham season 3…

Where last week lacked brio, vim and vigour Gotham episode seventeen kicks in with some high calibre villainy at work. Whether we are talking about the increasingly shady Jim Gordon, an army freaks Penguin is bringing together or the illustrious Court of Owls. Each one is oddballs to a man.


In recruiting errant members of the Indian Hill gang writers are pumping some much needed pep into proceedings. There are certain questions which are raised along the way which include how did Penguin know exactly where to look amongst others, but you tend to forgive this when it adds more fun. Elsewhere Nygma is really embracing his Riddler persona and coming across a lot like the incarnation from the ‘Batman’ television show.

Plot wise we get more focus on Alfred and Wayne Manor, more involvement from the current so-called Queen of Gotham and her whip wheedling cohort. As well as some stern words exchanged between GCPD coroners and their ex-beaus. Bruce Wayne and his monastery experience seem strangely absent while lots of people meeting up with the mysterious Catherine take precedence. There are nice throwbacks to previous seasons which temper the episode with moments of pathos especially coming from Gordon, Nygma, Butch and Selena.

It is here that Gotham brings back the beating heart and cohesive whole so lacking from last week. To say any more about the cavalcade of returning foes which Gotham will need to contend with is to reveal spoilers. As we get deeper into the final few episodes of season three it seems that a certain amount of mojo has been found. You could say the bringing together of Ivy and Penguin is convenient, Alfred and the doppelgänger mere plot filler to remind us why Bruce remains relevant, or simply that the GCPD are clearly the most inept police force ever, but that would be a cynic talking.


My feelings after the team up of Penguin and Ivy last week was one of disbelief. It seemed unfeasible she should be the one to pull him out of the river, unlikely they would share a bond so quickly and less likely he would survive the gunshot wound. But this as we all know is network television and popular characters bring in ratings, just as turning Ivy into a siren has a similar effect I imagine. My point is that the most entertaining elements of Gotham are now coming back into play. Gordon continues disappearing down the rabbit hole, Barbara and Tabitha bring sex appeal and a liking for leather and whips, while Lord Taylor and Smith continue providing good value with their combined villainy. Bullock meanwhile sits on the fence for comic relief. In short ‘The Primal Riddle’ is a return to form.