The Dark Lee-nix Saga.
By Matt Fowler
Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.
I suppose you could consider “Pretty Hate Machine” (named after the breakthrough Nine Inch Nails album) Season 3’s penultimate episode since next week’s finale is being billed as a two-hour event. And it makes even more sense to think of it that way given how many storylines were packed into this action-heavy chapter that criss-crossed Bruce’s brainwashing arc with Jim’s escalating Lee issues.
At one point, toward the end, Harvey and Alfred were simultaneously trying to stop the virus bomb from going off and save Jim from suffocating in a buried coffin. Everything was getting mashed together in a strange and mostly unsatisfying way. But then Jim injected himself with the virus – and the bomb went off despite everyone’s best efforts! Nothing got thwarted here and that’s the type of Gotham I enjoy watching.
Now, before I pat the episode on the back too rambunctiously, let’s just remind ourselves that Jim, once a-freakin-gain, found himself the target of some lunatic’s bizarre and overwrought plot to torture him. No one ever just kills the person they want to kill on Gotham. Even Penguin escaped death twice in this episode because Riddler needed to make a long-winded point and it allowed enough time for distractions and last-minute saves. It happens all the time. Hell, it just happened last week with Jim and Barnes. Yes, remember last week when Jim found himself captured by a crazy and put through some sort of poorly-conceived arch-villain nonsense designed to fail. It. Just. Happened.
Still, I like Dark Lee. You know, even if she’s just as crazily obsessed with Jim now as Barbara was when the stunning Ms. Kean kidnapped Lee to make an elaborate, overly-theatrical point about her undying love. Dark Lee is much more interesting than mopey Lee, misunderstanding everything Lee, and Doakes Lee. Now, I don’t know what fate awaits her by season’s end, but the fact that she and Jim are both infected with the virus, and the bomb went off, probably means that a cure’s on the way. Lucius will probably busily fashion one off-screen – since that’s where Lucius has been relegated to ever since he helped stop Riddler.
Let’s talk about this virus now. The plan here is that Gotham will tear itself apart because…a few thousand people are infected? I thought this was going to be a bigger blast than that. The city holds millions. How is this going to level Gotham? More specially, how is this catastrophe any different really, or bigger in scope, than what Jerome just did in his one night of murderous chaos? Things are getting less fuzzy as it pertains to the League and how it essentially used the Court as a tool to get League-y things done, but this is a poor master plan if the intent is to bring Gotham to its knees. This is like an every other weekend occurrence for the city at this point.
So yeah, as soon as Raymond J. Barry’s boss monk (billed as “The Shaman”) mentioned that “thousands” would fall I began to question the overall severity of this evil scheme. Again though, it was nice to see the bomb actually detonate this time since — because Gotham repeats the same beats over and over — Bruce was handed the trigger as part of his full indoctrination. Just like Jim was put in charge of a detonator a few weeks ago.