'Gotham' recap: Dr. Strange and Mr. Wayne

For The Baltimore Sun
Bruce gets closer to the truth about his parents' killer in the penultimate Season 2 episode of "Gotham."

Bruce's mission to find his parents' killer just got a little more complicated.

"Legion of Horribles" is a big episode. Bruce finally faces Dr. Strange, the supposed man behind his parents' murder. Or is there someone even more maniacal above him?

Then, the writers neatly lay out the battleground for next week’s season finale. All the villains are either brought back to life or getting into formation. The good guys, meanwhile, get trapped at Arkham’s creepy laboratory while trying to save Selina.

Bruce, forgetting that Selina’s no damsel in distress and can hold her own, thankyouverymuch, forms a rag-tag team to rescue her from Indian Hill. His crew consists of the usual suspects: Jim and Lucius Fox.

He leaves the message-relaying and troop-rallying to Alfred and Harvey, respectively. The last we see the “recently stabbed Englishman” and the “pudgy middle-aged Irish detective,” Alfred tells Harvey that the trio are stuck at Arkham.

This works out perfectly, as Harvey needed probable cause to send a SWAT team to rescue Bruce, Jim, Lucius and Selina. Isn’t it cute to see Harvey follow the rules like this?

Back at Indian Hill, Lucius uses a plutonium detector to find and mark the underground Indian Hill complex, and Jim poses as an Arkham guard to find Lucius’ mark. Bruce, meanwhile, chats with Dr. Strange, his dad’s close friend and supposed murderer.

At Dr. Strange’s office, the mad scientist wants to get straight to the point as to why Bruce is there. He mentions Jim’s visit to Arkham, then Bruce begins to hint that he suspects someone (cough, Dr. Strange, cough) was responsible for his parents’ murder.

Dr. Strange pulls some serious gaslighting moves, and tries convincing Bruce it’s all in his head. When that doesn’t work, he says his father knew he was digging too deep, but kept searching for answers anyway.

Now he sees the same stubbornness in his son. “I plead you as I did with him, turn back. Make the choice your father did not,” Dr. Strange begs Bruce.

But Bruce, just as resolved as his father, won’t back down. “You want to know if I wish my parents were alive? Of course,” he boldly says to Dr. Strange. “Would I give anything to have them back? Yes. But my father fought and died for what he believed was right. And if necessary, so will I.”

I love B.D. Wong as Dr. Strange in this scene. He perfectly balances calm and collected while suppressing his devastation from his friend’s death. Even more satisfying is David Mazouz’s performance, who doesn’t appear wooden, for once, and does an excellent job holding back tears.

Dr. Strange looks pained. He didn’t want it to come to this, but he orders his guards to whisk away Bruce, Lucius and Jim.

It took a while, but Dr. Strange is no longer just a two-dimensional mad scientist obsessed with finding the cure for mortality and killing anyone who stands in his way. Now he has depth. His friendship with Bruce’s dad, unlike what I initially suspected, was genuine.

What’s more, Dr. Strange is actually somewhat relatable. Sure, he’s a cold-hearted madman, but he’s also a scientist who got in way over his head and fears for his life.

In fact, he’s not villain ultimately responsible for Bruce’s parents’ deaths. That dishonor goes to the mysterious Woman with White Hair. Poor Bruce. Here’s another person he’ll have to face to get closure for his parents’ deaths.

We know very little about her, except that she wears a mask and she’s obsessed with immortality. So much so that she’ll take away the lives of anyone who stands in her way.

Two such would-be victims are Bruce and Lucius. They’re locked in a windowless room when a familiar voice comes over the loudspeaker and says, “Tell me what you know.”

It’s Ed and, in traditional Riddler fashion, he has a game for them. If they don’t spill every detail, he’ll fill the room with a poisonous gas.

This is just one of the many cliffhangers they leave us with before next week’s season finale. The most chilling is Jim’s clone Dr. Strange created with a reanimated Indian Hill inmate whose DNA was spliced with a mimic octopus.

With Jim held captive and his doppelganger to be set free in his place, how long will it be before someone realizes the clone is not him? Who will be the first to notice it’s not Jim? (My guess is Harvey.) And what damage will the clone cause at GCPD and to Jim’s recovering reputation?

More highlights from “Legion of Horribles”

Best Harvey one-liner: “Who killed Galavan?” a reporter asks Harvey.

“Which time?” he shoots back.

Funniest moment: Harvey’s rigid and overly formal press conference with journalists. I never thought I’d say this, but apart from awkward public speeches, Harvey is actually doing a good job as acting captain.

Best comeback: Thomas believed in things,” Dr. Strange says.

“I think what you’re referring to is ‘moral principles,’” Bruce fires back.

Worst outfit: Bruce’s turtleneck with his popped jacket collar. This isn’t an Axe commercial circa 2004. Put your collar back down, Bruce. Even Ed calls him out on his atrocious ensemble: “I don’t think you’re not quite grasping the power dynamic here, Turtleneck.” Burn.

Called it: Last week I guessed that Selina would bring up Firefly’s pet birds to remind her of her past to stop her from torching her. I was partially right. While Selina did mention her birds, what really kept her from turning into a pile of soot was convincing Firefly that, as the goddess of fire, she needed a servant. You know times are dire if Selina’s willing to take orders from someone else.

One voice: I see Bruce is catching the gravelly vocal fry that plagues all his male co-stars. Must be something going around the set. Can we get the “Gotham” cast a bulk order of throat lozenges?

Different kettle of fish: Fish is back! And thanks to Dr. Strange’s mixing her DNA that of a cuttlefish, Fish now she has the superpowers to force people to do what she wants by touching them and sending an electric voltage through their body. How fitting for her. She’s always had a way of getting what she wants, but looks like there’s no stopping her now.

Most expected line: “I’m Fish Mooney, bitch!” Fish barks at Dr. Strange after being reanimated. This line would have been much more badass if they hadn’t spoiled it in last week’s sneak peek. Speaking of…

Spoiler alert: By the looks of this week’s preview, it seems like Penguin will save the day (again) and take down Dr. Strange. I could be wrong (and I hope I am), but that clip shows they’ll at least have some confrontation. Sigh, is it so hard to leave some things to the viewer’s imagination?

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