Gotham Season 3, Episode 12 Recap: “Mad City: Ghosts”


Gotham’s post-winter hiatus premiere shows Penguin unraveling at the seams, and Jim dealing with the consequences of killing Mario.

Gotham returns with the episode “Mad City: Ghosts.” As Jim and Harvey investigate the supposed mysterious resurrection of the dead, Jim becomes the target of Carmine’s revenge. Meanwhile, Penguin starts to see the ghost of his dead father.

Spoilerific Recap

Jim watches Mario’s funeral from a distance. Carmine’s anger brews as he catches a glimpse of Jim.

Penguin meets his new Chief of Staff, Tarquin. Penguin’s points are up and Gotham City’s situation is better than ever. Tarquin suggests an interview with Margaret Hearst to take advantage of all the positive results.

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Jim finds Victor Zsasz in his kitchen. The twisted hitman warns Jim that he’s coming for him once Carmine makes the call.

Selina’s mother, Maria, tries to reconcile her past mistakes of abandoning her. Selina wants none of it and dismisses her.

Penguin meets with Hearst. The first encounter is not so cordial, as she promises to press him for the truth. When she leaves, Penguin catches a disturbing glimpse of his deceased father, Elijah.

Lucius Fox alerts Jim and Harvey to some anomalies on Melanie Blake, a deceased girl who seems to have died multiple times. Leslie enters GCPD and angrily demands Jim’s arrest.

Penguin awakens to find his father giving him a message to not trust an individual. Soon, the police pay a surprise visit and inform Penguin that Elijah’s body has been stolen.

Jim and Harvey meet with Dwight, a night manager at the morgue, and quickly discover that Melanie’s body is once again missing. Jim wants to keep an eye on Dwight.

Bruce questions why a crystal owl is so important. As he puts it away to answer the door, a ray of sunshine hits the sculpture, signaling something significant. Maria requests that Alfred give Selina a box of items from her past. Bruce offers to help by speaking to Selina on her behalf.

Harvey learns that Dwight had once worked at Indian Hill, a sure sign that something is up.

Carmine is bent on revenge and wants to put a hit out on Jim. He wants to know if Leslie can live with this decision.

Bruce finds Selina and gives her the box of items. As Selina rummages through it, she finds various keepsakes from her childhood. Maria enters and Selina embraces her.

Jim and Harvey track Dwight into an abandoned theater that’s currently not so abandoned. Dwight takes the stage and rallies a bunch of crazed followers. They seem to worship Jerome and prove it by cheering him on when Dwight plays some old footage featuring the crazed teen murderer.

Jim disperses the crowd, but they attack. Dwight makes a run for it. After Jim fights through the mob, he heads out the back. There, he’s quickly surprised by Victor and his team. Jim makes a run for it to attract gunfire away from Harvey.

Jim bursts into a restaurant kitchen. He takes one of the assassins out and uses another one as a shield, getting Victor to accidentally kill her. Jim goes hand-to-hand with Victor and overpowers him.

Penguin waits nervously for another visit from Elijah’s ghost. As predicted, Elijah shows up and gives Penguin another message: Elijah cannot rest until his body is back in the ground, and the “birthday boy” cannot be trusted.

Leslie visits Nathaniel to give herself reassurance that Mario could’ve been cured. However, the crazed former captain convinces Leslie that Mario was already lost, even before Jim killed him to save her.

At Wayne Manor, Maria’s relationship with Selina seems to be repaired as the two tease Alfred and playfully pick-pocket him.

Penguin is tired from the night before. He enters City Hall and hears people singing “Happy Birthday” to Tarquin. Penguin quickly rushes to Tarquin’s office where he finds Elijah’s decomposed body stuffed in a hidden duffel bag. Tarquin enters and nonchalantly starts to talk to Penguin. In a fit of rage, Penguin bludgeons Tarquin to death with a trophy.

Leslie confirms Carmine’s suspicions that she still loves Jim when she asks for the hit to be called off.

Penguin enters his interview late and flustered. Margaret immediately goes into attack mode and questions Penguin on how he eradicated crime in Gotham City.

Harvey meets Jim at his apartment to help him with his Zsasz problem. The two are taken by surprise when Victor shoots the place up. The three end up in a Mexican standoff, but Carmine enters just in the nick of time, calling off the hit. The don gives Jim a final message before departing: if it were up to him, he’d be dead.

Margaret confronts Penguin on the number of people who have died in his rise to power. Trying to answer the question, Penguin sees Elijah’s ghost—now holding the bloody trophy. Penguin starts to fall apart and is caught on live television disparaging the citizens of Gotham City.

In the distance, an amused Ed watches Penguin’s descent into madness. Elijah is revealed to be the former Arkham inmate who had the ability to morph his face. Soon, Tabitha and Barbara make a visit. Ed rehashes his plan for the audience’s benefit: everything was set up from the beginning using suggestions and theatrics. He wants Penguin to suffer a slow and painful death.

Alfred drops Maria and Selina off at a hotel. Maria soon discovers that her past has come back to haunt her. A man named Cole demands a payment of $100,000. Selina overhears this and promises to get Cole the money through Bruce. Learning that a billionaire is now involved, Cole wants an even higher amount. Maria tells Selina that they’ll need to warn Alfred and Bruce.

Dwight meets with an associate who’s performing the actual resurrections using electricity. They’re now prepared to “get him.” In a large warehouse, multiple bodies are preserved by a series of capsules. One of the capsules houses Jerome.

Next: Catch up with a recap of 'Mad City: Beware the Green-Eyed Monster'

Best Moment(s)

Harvey seeing a crowd at the abandoned theater. “Okay … weird,” says Harvey. As Dwight takes the stage and is cheered on by the crowd, Harvey reevaluates the situation and says, “Okay … weirder.

Final Thoughts

Gotham blasts back from its winter hiatus with some unexpected story directions. First, Jim’s killing of Mario is actually backed up by evidence, which makes showing the knife fall into the lake moot. I had originally thought that Jim was going to be mistakenly accused of being a murderous jealous ex-fiancée, and the only way to clear his name was with the knife.

However, the biggest problem I had with the plot was Leslie actually considering putting a hit out on Jim. Talk about a total deviation from the character in the comics. Even if Jim was mistaken to be a cold-blooded murderer who wasn’t doing it in self-defense, Leslie’s act of agreeing to Carmine’s revenge would’ve been just as jarring. Her calling off the hit later was useless. Her character was already assassinated (pun intended) by that point.

And, is it just me, or did Selina forgive her mother a little too quickly. Gotham could’ve stretched this out a little longer to make it believable. The brevity of the reconciliation only added to the cheese factor of the show.

Well, next week we’ll see how far they’ll get with the true resurrection of Jerome … of which I think is still a bad idea because I don’t want a Joker origin story or anything related to Batman’s main rogues gallery.

Don’t forget to visit the Gotham After Show where our friends at will give fans a play-by-play of the latest episode. And the fun continues with Welcome to the Batcave, also on