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ON TV: Gotham, Season 2 Premiere, “Damned if I Do” Review

Article by: Brian Toglia

 

“Rise of the Villains” Indeed! — FULL SPOILERS AHEAD!

 

Being a self proclaimed Batman guru, one would think I would also be a purist. On the contrary,  I am open to any and all interpretations of Batman and the universe he inhabits. It’s a good thing too because the first season of Gotham really took a lot of Batman canon and threw it out the window. Nothing is sacred to the show writers and that is just fine by me. First and foremost, I want to be entertained by a show and knowing exactly what’s coming sort of hinders that. I’m not going to be going over all of the first season’s high and low points in this review. Let’s  assume that if you are reading this that you watched the first season and are excited about Gotham Season 2.

At the beginning of the episode we are treated to a bit of a “where are they now” montage. Jim Gordon has been demoted to beat cop (directing traffic), Harvey quit the force and is (happily) bartending, Penguin is running the Falcone family and Barbara is locked up in Arkham.

GOTHAM: Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie, L) has a conversation with Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor, R) in the "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon" episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, Jan. 26 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX
©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX

It seems we might get a little more focused and less crazy Penguin this season. He has always been the most interesting character on the show to me and I like the path the first episode of the new season (subtitled Rise of the Villains) has put him on. Running an actual crime family rather than a bunch of clueless thugs suits him. More of this please!

Jim’s path, on the other hand, seems to be headed more into dark territory.  Left desperate after being fired for pushing a fellow officer (really?), Jim goes to the one man that can help him in all things legally challenged. The scene between Jim and Penguin is one of the premier episodes best. Jim is presented with a moral dilemma. Get dirty and be reinstated to the GCPD or stay moral and not be able to use your position as one of Gotham’s finest to help the city overcome more important issues. With a little nudge from Bruce Wayne, Jim makes the only choice he can. Welcome back Detective Gordon.

GOTHAM: Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz, R) is comforted by Alfred (Sean Pertwee, L) after a treacherous hike in the "The Scarecrow" episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, Feb. 9 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX
©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX

Speaking of the pre Dark Knight Bruce, this season picks up where last left off. Bruce and Alfred discovering Thomas Wayne’s hidden cave(!) beneath Wayne Manor. Wouldn’t you know it, there is a large door with a keypad lock blocking the entrance to the mysterious room. What’s a bright, young Master Bruce supposed to do? Consult the Anarchist’s Cookbook on how to make a bomb from fertilizer and other household products, of course! Typical Gotham cheese, but I have come to expect at least a little of it in every episode. Once inside, Bruce sees some dusty computers and a note on the desk with his name on it. The most important part of the note reads: “You can’t have both happiness and the truth. I hope you choose happiness unless you feel a calling. A true Calling”. With Thomas essentially planting the seed of Batman in Bruce’s head, we have yet another example of the show forging its own path. Since we will never get to see Bruce complete his transformation into Batman, I’m fine with it.

Gotham-S2-James-Frain-as-Theo-Galavan
©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX

Near the end of the show a new character,billionaire philanthropist Theo Galavan, orchestrates a prison break from Arkham. It seems as though he knew exactly who (Jerome/Joker, Barbara, Richard Sionis) would be in what room at the precise time to release his blue-green mist poison from the human delivery system known as Zaardon the Soul Reaper who, as luck would have it (after being arrested earlier in the show), just so happens to end up in the room with exactly the people Galavan was looking to spring. I apologize for that crazy run on sentence but just thinking about all of the things that needed to go right for Galavan’s plan to work just made my head hurt!

Each week I’m going to give you the cliff’s notes version of where we are headed into next week’s episode of Gotham rather than sum it up in a paragraph.

  • Bruce finds secret entrance to a room under Wayne manor
  • Harvey bartending
  • Penguin now leader of Falcone family
  • Gordon directing traffic (busted to officer)
  • Gordon loses job over nonsense
  • Barbra set up to be Harley? Also in Arkham
  • Bruce and Jim discussing honor. Building Batman’s moral code
  • Gordon kills a man while doing a job for Penguin.
  • Commissionee Loeb retires due to Penguin pressuring him because of the deal with Gordon
  • Commissioner Essen
  • Jim back to being detective
  • Six prisoners escape Arkham including Jerome and Barbara thanks to Theo Galavan.
  • Wayne and Alfred blow up secret door using fertilizer bomb
  • Letter for Bruce from his father

 

Gotham Season 2 starts off on the right foot with its premier. I just hope that this season continues with the slightly edgier storylines we got in this week’s episode.

 

4/5 Stars

 

Pros

+ Gordon getting dirty.             

+ Penguin more focused

+ Loeb got we he deserved

+ Jerome/Barbara the eventual Joker/Harley?

+ Villains storyline really being played up

Cons

– Fertilizer bomb

– Galavan’s prison break plan

Brian Toglia
Lifelong gamer and aficionado of all things videogames and Batman. When not trying to save the world one table at a time, Brian enjoys watching a movie or 1000. A big time horror movie fan who’s a firm believer that most great horror movies were made between 1975 to 1999. Passionate about Type O Negative and 311 ( his personal yin & yang) as well as other great music (no matter the genre). Finally, a founding member (along with fellow MonkeyGoose Steve Principato) of the tri-force of power that is Monster Closet. https://www.youtube.com/user/MonsterClosetNJ

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