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GOTHAM: R-L: Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith in the “Mad City: Follow the White Rabbit” episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, Oct. 24 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Nicole Rivelli/FOX.

Gotham: Penguin's Love is Like Bad Medicine

Gotham, we need to talk. This has been a long time coming. Last week's better-than-expected romp through Jim Gordon's demented brain saved us from this unfortunate exchange, but then you had to go and murder Not-Kringle as part of Penguin's ( Robin Lord Taylor) mad, misguided murder-crush on the Riddler ( Cory Michael Smith).

Penguin and Nygma's complex and deliciously tragic relationship could have been a high point in a season that sorely needs one, but that would have required nuance and after three seasons, I can't make excuses anymore -- Gotham just can't do it. In the absence of anything indicating a sexual attraction to Nygma, the case can be made that Penguin's obsession with him is born out of a desperate need to be taken care of and loved, and the emotional damage that a lifetime of unhealthy family environments created.

That could have been the kind of heavy, psychologically-driven character study that the Batman canon is so great for, but instead, Gotham plays it like a bad thriller starring Penguin as the evil, manipulative, predatory gay man to Nygma's poor hapless hetero. This gleeful, sugar-coated dash through a mad man's twisted "love story" lacks the same self-awareness that makes Harley Quinn and the Joker's latest incarnations so hard to stomach in Suicide Squad.

It's hard to cheer for Ed and Penguin when the relationship is so one-sided and destructive and there has been no attempt to treat Penguin and Ed as anything more than place-holders for two dated archetypes who could literally be anybody. Sure, Penguin can't bring himself to just talk to Nygma. He's too insecure, too scared of rejection, and too lacking in emotional maturity to broach the subject with the Riddler. So show us that. This creepy, conniving, and catty Penguin doesn't cut it and the previously brilliant Edward Nygma's total blindness to the fact that something is weird here is just as bad.

MEANWHILE, AT STATELY MOB WEDDING CENTRAL...Lee Thompkins ( Morena Baccarin) tried to have a nice, swanky engagement party with Dr. Mario only to have it interrupted by her ex and his merry band of chemically altered cops. Captain Barnes ( Michael Chiklis) tossed their suspect through a wall several stories up using his crazy Alice Tetch powers so now Gordon (Ben McKenzie) has to deal with that nonsense, which means we have to deal with that nonsense. At least Dr. Mario punched Jim in the face before everything was over...even if Dr. Mario kind of sucks too.

Seriously, Lee, babe, your boyfriends all suck, Gotham sucks, and literally everyone you never wanted to see again decided to crash your party. What are you doing here?

Maybe it's like Kooky Barbara (Erin Richards) said: maybe she misses the heat.

Gotham airs on Fox on Mondays at 8/7c.

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