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Gotham: What a Freak Show!

One man's freak is another man's super soldier.

MaryAnn Sleasman

Well that escalated quickly: In the span of a single episode, Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) was formally inducted into the Court of Owls, Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and Ivy (Maggie Geha) pulled in some key members of their freak army, and Doppelganger Brucie (David Mazouz) got a mean case of the feelings and tossed Selina (Carmen Bicondova) out of a window. Ain't love grand?

Gotham has wasted no time since its return from The Longest Hiatus Ever in getting back into the crazy swing of things, and so far, everyone who is anyone in Gotham has been invited to the party. Tabby (Jessica Lucas) and Barbara (Erin Richards) teamed up with the newly minted Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) to get to the bottom of this whole Court of Owls business. There was something kind of sweet and delightful in the city's villains learning that someone else above even their hapless law enforcement and government could be pulling the strings, pissing them all off and pushing these various estranged factions back into something like the most uncomfortable alliance ever.

Gotham: Use the force, Bruce!

To be clear, Penguin still totally wants to kill the Riddler dead, as does Tabitha Galavan and probably the entire GCPD other than Gordon, who got all gross and nostalgic about those heady days before Ed embraced his inner-psychopath and Lee (Morena Baccarin) married a mobster infected with the rage virus. It was all so much simpler then and Gordon was convinced that Nygma was a dead man once the Court got their talons on him. Apparently, Ed is safe for now, because he's too brilliant to just kill off -- though it's not like Gotham hasn't killed Penguin, Fish (Jada Pinkett Smith) and several others at least several times over at this point in the series. I'm not even worried about Selina. Because comic books.

Unfortunately, alive or not, this does take the Riddler off the stage for a bit, which suddenly renders Penguin's freak army without a primary objective. Firefly and Mr. Freeze get along the way you'd expect fire and ice to get along, and everyone is bunkered down in Penguin's family estate, awaiting this great and wonderful purpose they've been promised. The risk of losing momentum here is too great to ignore and that's my biggest concern as we head into the homestretch of Gotham's third season. It's a full house, and when seemingly everyone is back in town (except for OG Bruce, of course) then the potential for someone to get lost in the crowd is greater than ever.

Is this really a good time to get into Tabby and Barbara's relationship problems? Or Lee and Gordon's? Are we going to have enough time to properly dive back into the Indian Hill stuff and how it connects to Penguin's new family? Is Gordon's place in the Court of Owls actually going to take us to dark and strange places or will this whole thing blow over by the time the finale airs in June? We didn't get a single look at Jedi Bruce off in... wherever the Court is keeping him, and honestly I didn't particularly miss that particular slow-moving story this week. We have to return to it eventually though, and will there be a time and place for it among everything else going on that is far more interesting?

Bruce is closer than ever to becoming Batman this season.

It can be done and Gotham seems to specialize in the crazy and the extreme, especially when finale time rolls around. You can't blame a girl for being nervous though. Gotham also specializes in chronic uneven storytelling and repeated identity crises. This could really go either way -- so let's just sit back and enjoy the freak show.

Gotham airs Mondays at 8/7c on Fox.