In the latest Gotham recap, the Arkham escapees attack and Jim Gordon is left to pick up the pieces….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Gotham season 2 promised to be ‘The Rise of the Villains’ and while we don’t seem to be any closer to calling any of Batman’s greatest foes by their actual comic book names, the psychopath quotient in town is certainly multiplying.
Theo Galavan — the new big bad in town this season — has helped a group of crazies escape from Arkham Asylum including Jerome (the worst kept secret Joker of all time), Robert Greenwood (he ate 12 women), some other random dude and of course Barbara Keen, who had to go crazy to finally make her character interesting — although she’s still obsessed with Jim Gordon so really the more things change, the more they stay the same — and his new mission in life is to burn Gotham City to the ground so we assume he can build it back up again in his own image.
Galavan’s using the crazies from Arkham as his army while his sister Tabitha is his hired muscle and now he’s event kidnapped Mayor James while floating a story to the press that he ran off with his mistress never to be seen again.
The problem with Galavan is the exact opposite of what Gotham has done tediously with every other bad guy on the show outside of Penguin — instead of giving us too much background to build up his character, they’ve given exactly zero on this new bad guy come to do bad things to Gotham. We have no clue why he’s there other than to cause chaos nor do we know what his motivations are other than the old ‘watch it all burn’ line that doesn’t hold much context unless his insanity is established from the offset (which it wasn’t).
While we’re still left guessing on what Galavan’s actual purpose will be in the long run, the short term has him sending his ‘Maniax’ out on a mission of mayhem and while they might be crazy, they are very effective as the body count on this episode was higher than almost any in the past albeit at the expense of a trick that was already pulled on the show previously.
Still, for a season where it was promised villainy would reign, Gotham season 2 has delivered so far.
With that said let’s recap the latest episode of Gotham titled ‘Knock, Knock’:
You Are My No. 1 Guy
While Mayor James is currently being tortured with a strange S&M box on his head, Theo is about to let his animals out of their cages but first they have to figure out the pecking order. Jerome and Robert are both vying for the top spot, but only one of them can be king (or technically prince since Galavan is their benefactor).
Theo gives them the chance to play for the top spot with a game of Russian roulette and while Robert is more than happy to take the first shot with a one in six chance of survival, Jerome proves he’s the right balance of balls and lunacy as he takes the gun and pulls the trigger three more times in a row while taunting his opponent about who really has what it takes to lead this group of straight-jacket wearing lunatics.
Once Jerome is installed as the de facto leader of the bunch, Theo readies them to be unleashed on the city.
The first order of business is attacking a local shipyard and taking seven workers hostage before tossing them off the roof of the Gotham Gazette building. Each person sacrificed has a letter spray painted across their chest spelling out ‘MANIAX!’ once the seven of them go splat on the ground.
Not exactly a subtle way of getting attention, but it’s the kind of headline the editor at the Gazette was looking to land although he probably preferred it didn’t happen on the newspaper’s roof. Beggars can’t be choosers!
Anybody Got a Light?
Gordon is back at the Gotham Police Department as the big swinging dick once again and he’s leading the charge to capture the Arkham escapees. His first order of business is trying to convince his old partner Harvey to rejoin him on the force, but he’s working as a bartender now and his fiancée Scottie wants him nowhere near a badge and a gun again.
As Gordon explains to Commissioner Essen, he just didn’t have the heart to give Harvey the hard sell knowing how happy he is right now living the life of a regular everyday citizen, but his former partner does give him a clue regarding the seven dead bodies that got tossed off a roof that day.
Gordon starts to look into where the victims worked and it turns out there was a fuel truck taken from the shipyard that day, but in the midst of the people being kidnapped it got lost in the shuffle.
While Gordon tries to find out why they stole a truck full of gas, Jerome is already unleashing his first trick after stopping a Gotham high school bus full of cheerleaders and dousing them in fuel with the intention of setting them all on fire for the fun of it.
When Gordon and the other cops arrive, Jerome knows his gang is safe so long as they stand in front of the bus because now it’s a highly combustible vehicle just waiting for a spark to explode. Despite Jerome’s great planning, he has a lucky lighter that just won’t catch fire and thus the great bus explosion fizzles out as quickly as the point of this entire exercise in futility.
Regardless, Jerome and his guys escape while leaving one man behind to set the fire except his lighter is useless as well. Gordon quickly drives the bus full of teenagers out of harm’s way and then prepares to interrogate the remaining psychopath left behind except Tabitha Galavan is perched on a building across the street with a rifle and she takes him out with a single bullet.
Gordon isn’t going to find out about Theo Galavan today at least!
Riddle Me Whatever
There was a brief aside this week with Nygma and his muse Kristen Kringle in the records room where he once again tried to muster the courage to ask her out on a date. Instead, he whimpers away and tells her about the key in which flies hum or some such shit.
After she leaves the room, Nygma talks to Tyler Durden for a few minutes about how his alternate personality is everything he wishes he could be, but he’s still not ready to commit to full on psychosis yet and tells his mirror image to go away.
I’m all for a slow burn to create a truly frightening character, but Nygma isn’t menacing right now so much as he’s annoying. Hopefully, his better half will take over soon because the mousy forensics investigator just ain’t cutting it.
He’s No Donald Trump
Bruce Wayne is digging into his father’s bat cave looking for answers on what may have led to his murder. He’s just about to turn on the computer when Alfred inexplicably smashes it with a hammer and says enough’s enough.
Despite helping Bruce get to this point, Alfred’s decided that his young ward isn’t old enough to dig into this any further and it’s only going to get more dangerous from here. Frustrated by his betrayal, Bruce fires Alfred and tells him to leave.
Except 15 minutes later, Bruce catches Alfred at the bus station and tells him to come back. Again, these scenes are mind numbing and just time fillers because they really serve no purpose if you fire somebody and then hire him back in the same episode. Regardless, Alfred not only agrees to return to service but he will now train Bruce full time while also allowing him to look deeper into his father’s murder — oh and he’ll fix the computer he smashed. Still not sure what the point of taking a stand was that day, but Alfred certainly caved from his original demands in a hurry.
To assist Bruce on his quest, Alfred befriends Lucius Fox to help join the hunt for information that led to Thomas Wayne’s death. Lucius joins the party and will help repair the computer that Alfred smashed. It appears the entire purpose of the computer smashing and Alfred quitting was to eventually loop Lucius into the fold, but there really wasn’t a better way to do it than that?
Regardless, Lucius is now on the case and there’s a three man team digging into Thomas Wayne’s murder. Hooray.
You’re Locked In Here with Me
After the near disaster with a bus full of cheerleaders and a tanker of gasoline, Gordon gets a call at the station from his ex-girlfriend Barbara, who wants to have a chat. Actually, she reveals that she’s standing inside the police station, which prompts Jim to run after her and down a dark alley trying to chase her down.
Instead of catching Barbara and arresting her, Jim meets up with her fellow Arkham escapee and big ass bodyguard, who proceeds to beat the living crap out of him before leaving him laying in the street. Barbara gives him a kiss goodbye and explains that she’s finally free and no longer needs any help.
Maybe Barbara is destined to become the Gotham version of Harley Quinn one day? That could be interesting.
Meanwhile as Gordon is getting his face pulverized, Jerome and his gang have invaded the police station and gunned down every officer inside. They’ve even captured Commissioner Essen, who tries to fight back only to see Jerome tie her to a chair and do his worst. He’s full of laughs and one-liners but when Robert steals one, Jerome shoots him dead. What was Robert’s purpose in all of this again?
Thankfully, Lee was able to hide in her medical examiner’s room away from the shooting while Nygma took on some heroics and saved Ms. Kringle from a bullet when he dove in the way to save her.
Jerome ultimately kills Essen and then sends a video he recorded of the massacre to the local television station where he’s cackling away like mad and smiling all the while. I get that Jerome is supposed to be the Joker, but Cameron Monaghan’s over the top performance is way more Cesar Romero than Heath Ledger and while both of them were iconic versions of the same character one might best be left to battle Adam West and not reincarnated in 2015.
Before the tape gets played, Alfred and Bruce show up to the scene of the crime to see Detective Gordon. Bruce says he’s sorry for being so mean the last time they saw each other and he’s glad Gordon is OK after what just happened. Bruce gives him a hug because that couldn’t have waited until after all the dead bodies were cleaned up?
After the hugging, Bruce looks up and Harvey has returned and he’s ready to go back to work. Being a cop is just who Harvey is inside and his fiancée will just have to understand that he’s back on the force and teaming up with his old partner.
The first order of business is tracking down the Maniax after Jerome’s video warns all the people of Gotham that city limits can now be considered bars and they are all locked inside the same prison cell with him.
The joke’s on you Gotham!
Gotham returns for a new episode next Monday night at 8pm ET on FOX