In the latest Gotham recap, Gordon gets a new boss, Galavan stretches his wins and the Penguin finds out what it’s like to go against a real villain….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
One of the biggest gripes I had during Gotham season one was the inability of the show runner and writer to merge the two criminal world that existed in this pre-Batman era series.
The strongest points of the series happened whenever Gotham focused solely on the simmering mob war between Carmine Falcone and Sal Maroni while the show struggled in the one-off weeks where some comically bad criminal tried to make it into Batman’s famed rogue’s gallery of villains.
It seems like the sins of the past have finally influenced the present after just a few episodes into season two as Theo Galavan has already been introduced to Gotham‘s new crime lord, The Penguin, and now the two are intertwined in an interesting marriage between the bad guy and the really, really bad guy.
For all the times Gotham has stumbled and failed to get out of its own way by forcing certain stories, it looks like they got one right after a well executed episode on Monday night while also introducing at least one more cop on the GCPD who wants to put criminals in jail instead of keeping them out of it.
Hopefully this begins a running theme as Gotham‘s criminal elements start to merge together at least for the sake of story continuity and cohesiveness because the back and forth ping-ponging last season never allowed the series to get into a groove. Here’s hoping that’s changed for now and into the future!
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of Gotham titled ‘Strike Force’….
A New Sheriff in Town
Following the death of Commissioner Essen, the Gotham police are a little short on leadership — enter Captain Nathaniel Barnes (played by the brilliant Michael Chiklis), who is a by the book, crime stopper who fires several cops as soon as he walks into the police station after he started digging into records to find out who has been less than reputable while wearing a badge. One of the officers he fires is named Coulson — coincidental? I think not. How Harvey Bullock made the cut after taking money from Fish Mooney for years is another quandary left best for another day.
Anyways — Barnes cleans house and puts out a new edict that the Gotham police are finally going to start ridding the streets of the criminal element instead of working directly for them. Following the mass exodus of the bad cops in the precinct, Barnes makes Gordon his new No. 2 because he’s just the kind of officer on the side of justice (minus that little murder he committed for Penguin this season, but we’ll come back to that).
Barnes and Gordon decide the first order of business needs to be finding officers they can trust and the best people to use as candidates are the ones who haven’t already been corrupted or jaded by years on the force. So the two super cops go to the police academy and recruit the four top students and they become the new GCPD alpha squad or as Barnes calls them — ‘The Gotham Strike Force’. Sadly, part of me hoped Ronnie Gardocki would make an appearance, but alas no.
Now Gordon has his own untouchables, but can they actually rid Gotham of the crime that infects the streets everyday and every night or is this just another idealistic fool, who is way over his head as Bullock suggests? Time will tell.
The Penguin finally got Gotham’s criminal underworld in order and off the Gotham police department’s radar, but then someone had to break into Arkham Asylum and free a whack pack of lunatics, who eventually kidnapped a bus load of children, killed seven dock workers, nine police officers and held a charity gala hostage while also offing the deputy mayor.
The bigger problem is no one seems to know who is responsible for springing the psychopaths but Tabitha Galavan’s arrival at the meeting certainly gives Penguin an idea.
He’s summoned to meet with Theo Galavan, where he reveals along with a drink being delivered by the scantily clad Barbara Keen, that he’s the one who broke the Arkham sociopaths out of the loony bin and he’s also responsible for the crime wave that’s torn through the city.
Galavan has decided he wants to team up with Penguin on a new venture. See after his “heroics” at the gala when he stabbed Jerome-not-really-the-Joker to death, Galavan is the leading candidate to win the next mayoral election, especially with current Mayor James still missing in action (wearing a box on his head, whatever). The problem is Galavan would currently have two opponents in the race and he wants Penguin to rub them both out while making a fake hit on him as well so suspicions aren’t raised.
The grand plan for Galavan is to take over the city and then build big, brand new skyscrapers to modernize Gotham for business while running millions of poor folks out of their homes at the same time.
Despite Galavan’s tempting offer, Penguin is done being any one else’s errand boy but he finds out that the new big bad in Gotham isn’t to be trifled with either. Galavan reveals that he’s kidnapped Penguin’s mother and locked her away for safe keeping so long as her son carries out his every order. Otherwise, Mrs. Cobblepot won’t be home for supper or ever again for that matter.
With no other options left, Penguin agrees to help Galavan.
He personally kills one candidate and then goes after Galavan with a fake shooting that results in the magnanimous billionaire officially throwing his hat into the ring to be mayor. Penguin hates what he’s being forced to do but with his mother in captivity, his choices are limited.
A Bold Move
The two season long courtship (stalking) of Kristen Kringle by Edward Nygma finally took a stop forward this week after he got the testicular fortitude to go ask her out on a date after his more confident self spoke out and fortune does favor the bold after all.
The date is going well enough with Nygma cooking a dinner for Ms. Kringle, so much so that she requests he calls her Kristen. Things go south when Nygma lets slip that he’s glad her ex-boyfriend is dead and when she wonders why he said that considering the guy supposedly just left town, he tries to cover it up but she’s starting to see through him.
Just when it looks like Kristen is about to leave, Nygma comes clean that he sometimes talks to himself — a stronger self that lives inside and berates him for not being more outgoing. Instead of running for the door (the smart move), Kristen says everyone has that same kind of internal voice (not everyone) and the two end up kissing.
It gets so heated in fact that they have to remove their glasses to make out!
Bruce begins school at his new prep academy and at the end of the first day, Alfred comes to pick him up outside the grounds so people don’t know he has a butler. While he’s waiting, Alfred encounters Selina Kyle, who has come to pay Bruce a visit.
Alfred ends up slapping the child — which was really a bit much for Gotham honestly — while telling Selina that he knows she was responsible for killing his own chum Reg (despite the fact that Reg stabbed him and spied on Bruce for Wayne Enterprises). He also informs Selina that Bruce will be much better off in his life if she’s not around.
Selina slinks away while Bruce ends up running more than six miles home after Alfred hands him a pair of shoes and reminds him of the commitment he made to train everyday without any back talk.
Later, Bruce arranges a meeting with Theo Galavan to thank him for “saving” his life after Jerome Velaska attacked the charity gala. While at dinner together, Galavan is almost taunting Bruce with details about his parents’ murders and the company they left behind. Before he can torture the poor kid anymore while dredging up old history, Bruce spots a pretty girl playing in the fountain outside the restaurant.
It turns out that is Galvan’s niece Silver St. Cloud and she just happens to go to the same prep school as Bruce.
So the next day while Selina is sitting in the rain and thinking about what she’s lost, Bruce is smiling ear to ear when Silver pays attention to him at school. Bruce isn’t exactly brimming with confidence yet so this is a good first step!
A New Mission
Penguin’s next hit is aimed at a Teamster’s president named Hobbs, who is the other candidate running for mayor against Galavan. This time he sends in Victor Zsasz to do the dirty work, but after killing a few of Hobbs’ bodyguards, he runs into the new Gotham Strike Force led by Jim Gordon.
Gordon gets a lead on who is killing the candidates when he’s told by a witness that the man responsible for the first murder was kind of small and walked with a limp. He knows right away that this is Penguin and seeing his feared hitman chasing Hobbs out of the building only confirms his suspicions.
Needless to say when the two of them lock eyes, Gordon and Zsasz both know this going to get worse before it gets better, especially considering the connection the new top cop has to Gotham’s criminal king.
The cops stop Zsasz from killing Hobbs, but one of them gets hit in the process although a bulletproof vest saves the day. Zsasz gets away but the Strike Force is still successful in stopping the second assassination of the day.
Captain Barnes also has one more decree for the day following the attempt on Hobbs’ life — the Strike Force has a new mission and that’s taking down Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin. As soon as Barnes makes his speech, Galavan is licking his chops because his mission has already been accomplished. He’s running for mayor virtually unopposed while the cops are focusing all their attention on stopping the Penguin.
It’s a win for Gotham’s finest but a loss for Penguin.
He didn’t complete his mission and now he has no clue what Galavan might do with his mother. When Gordon comes to pay a visit to let the Penguin know that their ‘friendship’ is over, the Gotham crime lord reminds him what they accomplished together just a few short months ago. Commissioner Loeb was sent packing and Gordon killed a man who owed Penguin money. That means they are connected whether Gordon likes it or not.
Regardless, Penguin is tired of hearing Gordon squawk so he sends him packing while he begins to reflect on the kind of monster he’s now dealing with while going up against Theo Galavan. But just as Penguin warned Tabitha about earlier in the day — a year ago he was holding Fish Mooney’s umbrella and now he’s the king of Gotham and just because his crown is askew doesn’t mean it’s sitting on someone else’s head.
Tune into the next episode of Gotham on Monday night at 8pm ET on FOX.