One of my favorite tropes in genre fiction is the top-secret, super-exclusive party for mask-wearing psychos. You know the formula: the hero gets dressed to the nines, finds the appropriate mask, and infiltrates the party, only to find that things are even more messed up than they thought. Spoilers follow for Gotham Knights, Season 1, Episode 8, “Belly of the Beast.”
“Belly of the Beast”
A series of cryptic clues leads Turner (Oscar Morgan) and Duela (Olivia Rose Keegan) to one of The Court’s secret meetings. Meanwhile, Stephanie (Anna Lore) learns her mom’s addiction is worse than she thought and turns to her father Arthur (guest star Ethan Embry) for help. Finally, a lapse in time leads Harvey (Misha Collins) to a startling discovery.
Things start out with the kids kicking some weapons-dealer butt and almost getting caught when one of their Court of Owls watches goes bonkers. It turns out that these watches are how the Court notifies its members of upcoming meetings, and of course, the nerds figure this out almost immediately. Cullen 3D-prints out near-identical replicas of owl masks that Turner and Duela use to infiltrate the party. Unlike on Harley Quinn, the spooky party is not, in fact, a giant orgy.
The leader of the Court reveals that thanks to the map they retrieved in the previous episode, they will soon have access to Electrum. In real life, electrum is an alloy of gold and silver metals. In Batman lore, though, it’s something much bigger. It’s still a metal, but when used correctly it makes the subject much harder to kill, giving them near immortality. It’s also one of the metals (along with Nth Metal, Dionesium, Promethium, and Batmanium) that would eventually be used to open the Dark Multiverse.
Harper and Cullen do a little bit of exposition on what Electrum is, invoking the name Dr. Leviticus, the creator of Electrum in Batman lore. In other words, despite the show’s slow start, the writers are showing that they’re willing to go pretty deep into Gotham’s bizarre history to find creepy stories to tell.
There’s a fun fight scene pitting Turner and Duela against some Owls guards, and then a gotcha moment where the leader of the Owls reveals that there’s a traitor in their midst. The kids obviously think they’ve been caught, but then the Owls’ Talon drags in Cressida. Hearing that Cressida was to betray the Owls, Turner grabs Chekhov’s Katana and decapitates the Talon. These shows definitely need more decapitation and dismemberment.
We’re also finally getting closer to seeing Big Bad Harv; after a tape with some music activates his other personality, he wakes up at the very end of the episode wearing an Owl mask with blood all over his hands and suit. Stephanie, meanwhile, tries to fight her mother’s pill addiction, for which her father blames her.
The deeper Gotham Knights digs into weird Batman lore, the better the show gets. It’s starting to really feel like an Elseworlds version of Gotham that mixes together Court of Owls and Dark Knight Returns elements to give us a unique take on Gotham. It’s a shame we couldn’t have Batman here for it, but it’s so much more fun than I could’ve expected.