Gotham: Wrath of the Villains: This Ball of Mud and Meanness – G!C!P!D! 1!2!3!4!

GOTHAM: Guest star Lori Petty in the  ÒWrath of the Villains: This Ball of Mud and MeannessÓ episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, March 14 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX.
GOTHAM: Guest star Lori Petty in the ‘Wrath of the Villains: This Ball of Mud and Meanness’ episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, March 14 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX.

Now that Bruce Wayne has the name of his parents’ killer, and a gun, it’s time for him to seek out the infamous Matches Malone. It’ll take an audience with God (kind of), but the meeting is now inevitable.

Meanwhile, Oswald T. Cobblepot has a little more therapy to face and Edward Nygma learns that Jim Gordon is looking into Kristin Kringle’s whereabouts and leaps to a completely unfounded suspicion.

Hugo Strange’s (B.D. Wong) therapies are most unusual – we see Cobblepot in a session that plays on the love for his mother, before Strange makes the phrase ‘Let’s move on to the ice cream test,’ more than menacing.

Elsewhere, Bruce (David Mazouz) and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) visit a man called Cupcake (Jamar Green) someone  Malone (Michael Bowen) betrayed to get a lead on his location – which leads to a fight and a name: Geri. The fight takes Alfred out of the action so Bruce sets out on his own which puts him in the company of Geri (Lori Petty), a punk rocker (hence the above headline) with a very familiar stage face. Which, in turn, leads to the highly teased confrontation.

Which reminds me of an old joke…

A masochist and a sadist go out to dinner and then back to sadist’s home – where the sadist trusses the masochist up in the usual paraphernalia. Then as the masochist pleads, ‘Whip Me! Beat me!’ The sadist, with a slight smirk, replies, ‘Never!’

How that relates is for you to discover.

GOTHAM: Ben Mckenzie in the  ÒWrath of the Villains: This Ball of Mud and MeannessÓ episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, March 14 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX.
GOTHAM: Ben Mckenzie in the ‘Wrath of the Villains: This Ball of Mud and Meanness’ episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, March 14 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX.

And is even possible that the creepy Professor Strange could ever see our favorite flightless waterfowl as being normal? I guess that in a show as odd and twisty as Gotham, anything is possible.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness was written by Jordan Harper and directed by John Behring. It is, despite all the creepiness, one of the funniest episodes of the series – there’s even a kind of slapstick pratfall that feels earned in the episode’s darkness.

Also, Bruce takes his first real step on the journey to becoming The Batman – and wouldn’t you know it… Selina (Camren Bicondova) plays a crucial part in that crucial step.

This third straight excellent ep since the show returned suggests that the first season’s crash and burn after hiatus will not be repeated. This Ball of Mud and Meanness is smart, funny, scary and possibly the most important ep since the premiere. Harper and Behring really do a nice job of making all its disparate parts aggregate into a harmonious, if peculiar, whole.

Final Grade: A