So, here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: I kinda miss Professor Pyg right now, and this episode gave me freakin’ Batman.
See, it looks like the back half of the season is sliding in a new villain to replace the Pyg. And the Scarecrow. And a host of other forgotten baddies. And this time, it’s Poison Ivy.
I’ve had some concerns about using Ivy as a villain for quite some time now since, despite appearances, she’s still basically a kid. The second incarnation of Ivy seemed to get that. She was played by an adult, but she was naïve and childish in ways that suggested the writers were fully aware of how old she was supposed to be despite the age of the actress playing the part. This new Ivy is more like the comics version in that she has some vague toxin and plant-based powers and can maybe communicate with plant life. So, none of the seductiveness that is also a hallmark of the character, but I did see two men fighting over her in a previous episode, and this episode shows her more or less hypnotizing a family of four with a bit of perfume before killing the father, a Wayne Enterprises executive whose work in a classified project was killing plants.
See, that sounds like Ivy but…why is she like this now? She seems a lot more mature. That may be due to a casting change. She’s not vamping it up much aside from her choice in attire, but it’s just something about this Ivy that seems to be more like a grown-up than the previous two.
So, yeah, I can’t say I am a fan of that sort of development, particularly since her plant toxins appear to work at different rates. The guy at home? Dies almost instantly. Bruce? After telling Ivy exactly what she wants to know, he’s poisoned and left to die, but it takes a long time, long enough for Gordon and Selina (who figured out pretty quick Ivy was off her rocker) to rescue Lucius and escape the G.C.P.D., all under the perfume’s influence, when Gordon referred to Ivy as a “psycho” and it took a while for the besotted cops to realize it wasn’t a compliment like Gordon initially claimed.
OK, that may have been the episode highlight.
It certainly wasn’t the Penguin plot as Jerome tortures Oswald until the Penguin just, well, snaps, with the help of a well-executed mime-act.
It should have been Bruce’s hallucinatory dream sequences as he was ostensibly dying from Ivy’s toxins. That involves Ra’s al-Ghul, finally back even if it is a dream sequence given the actor’s name in the credits every week, removing Bruce’s face, a party where Bullock is the butler and Gordon has a mustache, and just some weird stuff until Bruce realizes what he should have known all along, namely that he needs Alfred, and a weird trip first to the spot where his parents were murdered and then down into a cave where the scary voice coming from a caped figure seems to be telling Bruce he isn’t that vapid teenage partyboy but is instead, well, a scary guy in a cape.
You know. Batman.
Granted, Bruce can’t die, but the dream seems to have reminded him to stop being a putz long enough to call Alfred.
Likewise, Ivy is killing people with a fast-growing plant.
And Sofia decided to team up with…Lee? Why? Lee isn’t (quite) a criminal. Why would she team up with a mob boss, even if they were in-laws? Seems to be that would be the last thing I would want to do, but this is Gotham, so I am sure there’s a half-assed explanation coming for it in the next episode or two. That is the best I can generally hope for, and for a show this patently ridiculous, it’s also something that fits the style and narrative of the show.
Such is life.
Wednesday “You Reap What You Woe”
Comic Review: King Of Spies
Noteworthy Issues: Green Arrow #1 (April, 2023)