Fox’s Gotham star Ben McKenzie stepped behind the camera to make his directorial debut with season three episode 16 titled ‘These Delicate and Dark Obsessions.’ The May 1, 2017 episode kicks off with the Court of Owls meeting to declare Gotham is out of control and action needs to be taken. They’re building a weapon to rebuild the city, and a vote is taken to make sure everyone is on board. They are, and it’s decided Gotham must fall.
Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) wakes in his cell, asking if the Court of Owls is behind his kidnapping. He’s told his clone is taking his place so no one is even aware Bruce is missing. A temple shaman (Raymond J. Barry) informs Bruce his help is needed, but tells him nothing more.
The scene switches to the GCPD where news is breaking that Aubrey James has been re-installed as Mayor. No one has a clue where Edward Nygma’s disappeared to, and Jim’s preoccupied with researching the drunk driver Michael Ness who killed his father, Peter. Ness was killed in prison, but Jim’s discovered he had chronic persistent hepatitis. Harvey (Donal Logue) says that’s known as the Irish Curse and means your body can’t handle any alcohol. So why was Michael Ness legally intoxicated according to the test results? Harvey says there’s no way the report is legitimate as Ness would be dead if he even registered a .1 alcohol level. Ness wasn’t driving drunk and the report was doctored.
Ivy (Maggie Geha) continues to take care of her patient, Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor). She wheels him outside and he’s furious she’s treating him like a kid. She calls the plants around him her friends, handing him a broth which he slams to the floor. He wants out because he needs to get busy on his revenge, which means he needs to find followers. Ivy offers to help him build an army, and Oswald asks her to get a message to Gabe. She agrees, after he says please.
Jim meets with his uncle in the cemetery, telling Frank (James Remar) about his discovery. Frank says faking the accident and setting up Michael Ness was something the Court of Owls could do, but he’s got a new problem he needs Jim to work on. Frank alerts Jim to a weapon the Court of Owls is working on to destroy Gotham. The high-ranking Court of Owls members are serious about laying waste to Gotham, and Frank doesn’t know how they’re going to do it or how to stop it. Frank’s going to gather more intel and Jim warns him to be careful.
Harvey calls Jim to alert him to the fact Michael Ness was a scumbag and Carmine Falcone paid for his lawyer.
Gabe arrives at Ivy’s place and gives Oswald a huge (and painful) hug. Oswald explains he needs to build an army and exact revenge, and Gabe pledges to help him round up the guys. As Gabe’s calling Oswald’s men, Ivy whispers to Oswald that she doesn’t trust him. Oswald refers to him as a human Labrador who’ll come running, but Ivy wants to work her magic with the help of a perfume that makes men do her bidding. Oswald just wants to leave but Ivy doesn’t understand why because she saved his life. (She has no idea she’s annoying.) She’s stunned he trusts Gabe over her, and Oswald laughs when she says she thought they were friends. She storms out before Gabe proves she was right by knocking out Oswald.
Back to Bruce Wayne… His cell opens and he makes a run for it down a long hallway straight to the stranger. He hightails it out of that room and down the hallway again only to wind up back in front of the shaman once again. It’s a maze and Bruce declares he’ll find a way out. The stranger asks him to sit so he can show him what he has to offer.
Jim meets with Carmine Falcone and there’s no love lost between these men. Jim killed Carmine’s son but now Jim knows Carmine was involved with the murder of his father. After that’s revealed, Carmine sends his men away and Jim asks if he ordered the killing. Carmine denies it, saying he respected Jim’s dad. However, Carmine acknowledges it was a hit ordered by the Court of Owls. Carmine’s not a member but he’s a partner, and he verifies it was Frank Gordon who actually ordered the hit.
The obvious next stop for Jim is to confront Frank which he does, holding a gun to his head. Frank admits he ordered the hit because Jim’s dad was going to expose the Court of Owls. All he wants to do now is bring down the Court, like Peter would have wanted. Jim tries to arrest Frank but Frank gets the drop on him, holding Jim at gunpoint and saying, “Dock 9C.” The weapon will arrive there and Jim has to figure out when without the Court of Owls knowing he’s involved.
Gabe has Oswald tied up and Oswald says to just get on with killing him. But Gabe has other plans… The honor of killing Oswald will go to the highest bidder. Just then four of Gabe’s men arrive and Ivy spies on them from outside the greenhouse. While she’s lamenting the fact no one listens to her, she’s caught by one of the thugs.
Jim explains everything he knows about the Court of Owls to Harvey and he tells his partner about the weapon. Harvey acknowledges that Carmine confirmed the Court’s existence and he thinks Jim should check out the docks. “I tend to give apocalyptic warnings of mass destruction the benefit of the doubt,” says Harvey. Harvey also assures Jim he’s got his back if he wants to go after his Uncle Frank. When Harvey is just about to call a judge to get a court order for the docks, Jim tells him they have to keep the GCPD out of it. Unfortunately, that means they have to involve a third party who no one would suspect is helping them.
Cue Barbara… With Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) at her side, Barbara (Erin Richards) is accepting payment from some unfortunate soul who she knocks out with her stiletto. Jim rings her up and she knows he’s about to ask for a favor.
Bruce and the stranger are seated facing each other, and Bruce just wants to go home. The man offers him a sort of acupuncture needle to unlock his mind and Bruce is mesmerized looking at the symbol on the needle’s end. The shaman pokes him between the eyes and Bruce finds himself back in Gotham accompanied by the stranger. It’s the night of his parents’ murder and he sees himself walking with them down the street in the moments before the murder. As the trigger is pulled, the stranger removes the needle and Bruce is back in real-time in his cell. The man explains that was a memory that he relived just as if it was happening for the first time. (They were inside Bruce’s mind.) Bruce wants to know why the man showed him that and he explains Bruce has never actually left that alley. He must be able to move forward in order to learn what the shaman is attempting to teach him.
Tabitha tortures a dock worker while Barbara demands to know what’s arriving at Dock 9C. He claims there isn’t a 9C and then he finally admits even Don Falcone never asked about that secret dock. He reveals something came in last week and it’s in a crate just yards away. She wants him to call whoever it is that’s going to claim the package, but their meeting’s broken up by an operative from the Court of Owls. Tabitha and Barbara flee as everyone else is killed.
Meanwhile, Oswald’s having his picture taken so that the bidding can begin. Ivy’s also tied up and they whisper about their situation, with Ivy swearing she’ll be totally fine. Oswald wants to know her plan but she won’t reveal it until he’s nice to her. She says, “Watch and learn.” She calls over one of the henchmen and makes him bend down so she can whisper in his ear. She asks if he likes her perfume and he’s immediately affected by it. She tells him to kill them all and he begins firing. Oswald doesn’t want Gabe killed so Ivy has the thug disarm him and turn the gun over to Oswald. Ivy’s having a blast ordering the thug around, really getting into her role as boss.
The Court of Owls question Frank about Peter’s death, wondering why Jim asked Carmine about who gave the order. They now understand Jim will never be an ally and they order his death.
Barbara reports in on the dock job, and she tells Jim the crate has already been delivered. It’s likely in the Court of Owls possession now, but Barbara did remember that it was stamped from Indian Hill. Neither Harvey nor Jim have any idea what it could contain. Frank calls and Jim lets him know the weapon has arrived, and Frank tells his nephew to meet him at his house, alone, right now.
Oswald learns from Gabe that he betrayed him because Oswald passed him over for a promotion. Gabe gets on his knees and swears he can be loyal again, and Oswald asks Ivy to make Gabe smell the perfume to make sure he obeys. Gabe raises his right hand and swears to be true to Penguin because he never was loyal. He admits, while under Ivy’s influence, he only followed Oswald out of fear. Oswald’s fine with that until Gabe says none of his followers ever respected Oswald. “We always saw you for what you really are, a tiny freak who used to hold an umbrella. Nothing more,” admits Gabe. Oswald repeats freak over and over again and then grabs a garden tool and goes to town on Gabe.
Jim meets with Frank and both men have their weapons drawn. Frank sticks with the story that he doesn’t know what the actual weapon is, but that’s not why he called Jim. Frank says he’s supposed to kill Jim and he needs Jim to replace him on the Court of Owls. They want Jim on the Court, even after everything that’s gone down. When Kathryn calls, Frank wants Jim to say Frank got what he deserved and he’s ready to finish what his dad started. Statement made, Frank shoots himself.
And now we’re back to young Bruce Wayne who attacks the stranger as soon as he enters his cell. The shaman pulls out the needle and sends Bruce back once again to the night of his parents’ murders. Bruce watches it again and screams, “No!” before attacking the stranger. The stranger knocks him off his feet with one simple punch. “I have so much to teach you, Bruce. But your pain blocks you from who I need you to become, who Gotham needs you to become.”
With that, Bruce is once again back in his cell. He’s confused and the stranger explains they’re trying to end the cycle of violence in Gotham. He says he cares about Gotham and believes the city needs something only Bruce can provide: a protector. Bruce doesn’t think he can do it, but the man tells him he needs to become a symbol against fear.
Oswald buries the dead thugs, apologizing to Ivy for losing his temper. He still wants revenge and Ivy suggests he recruit an army of freaks from Indian Hill.
Jim places the photo of Frank and Peter on Peter’s grave and then answers Kathryn’s call. He tells her he killed Frank and now he wants to meet. When he hangs up, a limo is at the cemetery waiting for him.
More on Gotham:
– Gotham Season 3 Episode 15 How the Riddler Got His Name Recap
– Gotham Season 3 Episode 14 The Gentle Art of Making Enemies Recap
– Gotham Season 3 Episode 13 Smile Like You Mean It Recap