Welcome back to Gotham, the show about a self righteous homeless detective who polices a town fashioned from Tim Burton’s castoffs.
This episode was heavily marketed as the introduction of the Joker, easily the most iconic villain of the Batman canon. Keep in mind that this is episode 16 of Gotham’s first season. Gotham is blowing through villains at a furious pace, which makes me wonder what’s going to happen if the show gets renewed. Who will be left? Polka-Dot man? Kite-man? I’m not joking, these are legit Batman villains.
Anyhoozle, we open with Bruce Wayne asleep in front of the fire with a notebook in his lap. Over at Oswald’s, Momma Cobblepot is singing “when you’re smiling” to an almost empty club of confused punks. Fish is ruling the prison and rocking a fierce head wrap.
And guess who else decides to show up? Barbara Keane! Judging by her appearance, I guess she spent the last month tipping back martinis in her parents country home. Apparently wealthy WASPs are not the best sobriety partners.
Barbara finds Selina and Ivy crashing at her place, but instead of being upset that baby vagrants have eaten all her snacks, she plops down beside them to talk shit about Gordon while eating dry cereal with her bare hands (which I just call eating).
Meanwhile, Gordon and Doc Caliente are at the circus which is definitely a normal date for two adult people to be on. They are watching the Flying Graysons (aka Robin’s family) perform when a car full of clowns shows up and starts brawling with the Graysons. It’s a circus rumble!
Gordon stops the fight and shockingly does not get a pie to the face. Missed opportunity, Gotham.
Momma Cobblepot finishes her song, and only her son gives her applause. When a drunk guy boos her, Penguin calmly takes a bottle and beats the shit out of him. Everyone’s a critic.
Gordon interrogates the fighters while Doc tends to their wounds. While he gets nothing, Doc finds out that there is a longstanding family feud between the acrobats (Graysons) and the clowns (the Lloyds), and that the two men were fighting over Lyla the Snake Charmer. Gordon tries to send Doc home, but she’s like “Yeah, like I’m NOT gonna investigate a circus brawl with snake people. Get me some fucking cotton candy and a folding chair bc this is gonna be good.”
They go to the snake charmer’s trailer, where they find her son Jerome. He was upset that his mom has been missing all day, and that the snake is agitated. The Ringmaster tells Gordon that Lyla is probably out whoring it up, as is her wont. Dude, her son is RIGHT there. Gordon has Jerome release the snake and the snake slithers across the campgrounds to Lyla’s dead body stashed in a trunk. Jerome breaks down in tears and the Ringmaster is like, “Whoops, you found her.”