Gotham The Gentle Art of Making Enemies Review
Fox‘s Gotham: Season 3, Episode 14: The Gentle Art of Making Enemies finally gives fans the Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) plot we’ve been waiting for.
The challenge of falling in love with this season of Gotham is learning to appreciate it without the beloved Dark Knight, but while still knowing how it all plays out in the end.
Since Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) has cast Gotham into (literal) darkness the streets have overflowed in his presence. Even normal citizens outside of the cult have taken up on the “fun”. This creates an interesting dynamic for Gotham and provides a glimpse into its true.
But the meat of this episode is in the interactions between Jerome and Bruce Wayne. It is possibly the most rewarding throwback interaction of the characters thus far. Thanks to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight, the episode provides a lot of backstory to the nitty-gritty of how Batman and the Joker’s relationship began.
In The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, one of the most intimate moments is when Jerome takes the blood of a clown to draw a frown on Bruce’s lips while reciting the classic line, “Let’s turn that frown upside down.”
It is in moments like this that Jerome’s future persona emerges. But it is in what Jerome says to Bruce that really creates the foundation of what these two will mean to each other in the future.
“Face it, kid, Gotham has no heroes,” Jerome says. Bruce’s contrite facial reaction tells us that he knows that’s true. But the show’s foretelling is obvious that whatever Jerome said to Bruce when he was younger stuck and possibly even played a big factor in why Bruce becomes Batman.
It is hard not to see the House of Mirror scene as a metaphor for this too. In a mirror, we are forced to confront our imperfections and who we are. It is in the House of Mirrors that Bruce comes into himself. He embodies the mentality and strength of who he strives to be and who he will eventually become.
It is when Bruce is literally pummeling Jerome’s face off he sees himself in the mirror. In that moment he sees the pleasure he gets out of beating Jerome. Bruce knows this isn’t who he is. He can’t take this man’s life no matter how horrible is he. He knows that continuing this action will make him no better than Jerome.
By sparing Jerome’s life, Bruce cements his role in the show and in the fabric of the overall Batman storyline. Even his butler Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) says that Bruce is proud of that man he has become.
Bruce is in a strange position in life. He knows Gotham has fallen victim to the villains. But Bruce also knows he does not have the ability to do much about it. Bruce’s arc hasn’t been as interesting as the other characters this season. But this episode finally elevates Bruce on a level that he is a character to keep an eye out for when the show comes back in May.
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