GOTHAM Review: Rise of the Villains; Damned if You Do ...


Warning: This Review contains spoilers.

After an up and down season Gotham is has returned, and it's better? With the episode picking up a few months after the previous season ended. Gotham City is now under the complete control of the Penguin, Gordon has been demoted to police officer, Bullock has quit the force, and Barbara has been sent to Arkham Asylum. Jim having been relieved of his job is now in dire need of help. Gordon can't get his job back without the Penguin's assistance. Oswald knew this and in an effort to test Jim's loyalty, he gave him an offer he could not take. He wanted Jim to get a payment from another mob boss, which will obviously lead to some causalities. What made this episode fun was the interaction between Gordon and Penguin. Gordon having to make a deal with the devil made for some good character development and moral conflict. Having to go to extreme lengths for Cobbleppot should have major implications down the road. Jim can't just walk away from killing people for the very person he is trying to stop.
 This leads us to Bruce and Alfred, who are still trying to open the door to the cave under Wayne Manor. Bruce is trying to open this door at all cost, leading to a little dispute between him and Alfred. Alfred believes that Bruce should not try to open this door because of the possible secrets that may lie behind, but Bruce needs to find out what's inside. Not giving up, Bruce and Alfred make a bomb and blow the door off.
The thing that I did not like about this is that we find out that the Wayne murder may have been planned all along. Bruce finds a note from his father in the cave telling him that "...You can't have both happiness and the truth. I beg you, please choose happiness, unless you feel a calling. A true calling." The foreshadow is strong in this one! I couldn't take this letter seriously after that point. This was a twist that did not need to happen. We don't need Thomas Wayne hinting at Bruce becoming Batman, and we definitely don't need a convoluted conspiracy scheme that killed the Wayne's.

This brings us to the villains. The tag line for this season has been 'Rise of the Villains', and the show is not messing around when it comes setting up as many villains as possible. We start off with Barbara in the Asylum, where she meets Jerome and Richard Sionis. Jerome tells Barbara she needs to make friends with Sionis because he can get her anything she wants. Jerome and Barbara have a couple of good scenes together, considering they are the two characters I wish were not on this show. Jerome's first interaction with Barbara felt like a Joker/Harley Quinn scene, which I found hilarious. Barbara does eventually take Jerome's advice and befriends Sionis, giving her access to the telephone she wanted early on in the episode. She uses the phone to call Jim to tell him that Leslie set her up and stole him away from her. She also calls Leslie saying hat she hopes she dies a slow painful death. It seems that Barbara has gone full on villain this season, and that is the best thing they could have possibly done with the character (besides phasing her out completely).
Continuing with the villains story arc, Theo Galavan returns, and breaks the main villains out of Arkham Asylum via Trojan Horse. Using an inmate to gas the criminals, while Tabitha Galavan (Theo's sister) kills the guards. Theo has an interesting proposition for our outlaws. He wants them to be apart of a team, using their unique ability's to take over Gotham. I'm not sure if this is suppose to be a  version of Suicide Squad. I hope they don't go in that direction. The show should not be focusing on a teenage Joker and Gordon's psycho ex-girlfriend. While I am willing to see how this plays out, I can't help but think that this is a horrible idea. Maybe they'll prove me wrong. It could be fun, having them go crazy adventures could be the boost this show needs.

Something's in this episode just didn't feel right. We have a scene with Eddie in the locker-room inside of GCPD. He's looking in the mirror and starts hallucinating. he starts going insane while looking at his own reflection. While this is a crazy scene (borderline Schumacher crazy), I can't believe they didn't follow up on it! This is the last we see of Eddie in the entire episode and it just feels out of place. Selina being Penguin's cat is also it bit odd. She is literally just his house cat, and does nothing. Some camera angles were also a bit out of place, like when Jim is running from the police after completing Penguin's favor. The tone is also a concern, although it has improved since season one.
Overall it was a solid episode. While it still has room to improve, Gotham is looking like a fun show, which is something I couldn't say last season.

 Gotham airs Monday nights at 8/7c on FOX.

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