For every answer, there is a new question.
A NEW BEGINNING
**MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW
After an absolutely fantastic, exhilarating first half of Gotham’s second season (deemed “Rise of the Villains”), the first two episodes of the second half (deemed “Wrath of the Villains”) are off to a fast start, without much time to breathe.
No wonder we needed a 3 month break.
The show does a good job of catching us up to speed with a brief montage, aided by flashback sequences tied to Jim Gordon’s testimony over the murder of Mayor Theo Galavan. Jim’s testimony is likely to set forth a chain of events that affects not only Oswald Cobblepot, but the rest of the city and its crime world as well. Barnes doesn’t seem to believe Jim, despite Cobblepot’s rendition of the same story during his confession.
I was very curious how we were going to see “wrath” from the villains heading into this second half, noting that most were dead or banished to Hugo Strange’s lair under Indian Hill.
The groundwork has definitely been laid.
At the mid-season break, we jokingly discussed on The Geekiverse Show that Theo Galavan and/or Jerome might not be dead. As it turns out, we find them in bacta tanks (picture Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back on Hoth) at the very end of “A Dead Man Feels No Cold.” Not shocking, as Strange is a noted psychiatrist, experimentalist, and just plain disturbed individual.
Could these be reclamation projects for Strange? Are we building a small army of Gotham’s super villains? It sure looks that way.
At the end of season 1, Penguins throws Fish Mooney off of a building, claiming the title of “King of Gotham.” Of course, we never witnessed what happened to Fish’s body, assuming she survived. She is also pictured in Indian Hill. I enjoyed her character very much so throughout season 1, up until episode 17 when the show got extended. The Dollmaker storyline was pointless, unnecessary, and felt like filler material. Well, maybe Jada Pinkett-Smith just wanted another shot at an Oscar huh? I’m not having it, as her story reached a satisfying conclusion and it will take a lot for me to get back on board. I could argue the same for Galavan – just let them be. Though I would ADORE a return from Jerome. It’d be interesting to see Galavan and Jerome exchange words after Galavan sliced open Jerome’s neck. Lastly, we can’t forget about Firefly. She is in a bacta tank but is also referenced by Strange.
What about Stabby Babs, aka Barbara? She’s gone through hell, but that’s what tends to happen when you’re a psychopath and see your ex-man with a gorgeous new woman. So where is she in all of this? Well, she finds a way to keep sticking around. She’s now “Sleeping Beauty,” holed up in Arkham Asylum. Lee’s interaction with her was priceless.
What of Oswald Cobblepot? Well, thanks to his loyalty to Jim, he is now in Arkham also. His fate runs darker, as he is the subject of extreme mental torture from Strange. We’ve seen much more graphic and gruesome content on this show, so I wasn’t particularly bothered by it, but cinematically, it left me wanting more. The visuals looked underwhelming.
Baby Batman is coming along quite nicely, as David Mazouz is morphing into the Dark Knight himself. I think he looks the part, sounds the part, and is growing up before our eyes. I can totally see him donning the mask before the series is over. One intriguing and likely defining moment came as Alfred and Bruce make a deal – to let Alfred be the one to kill the murderer of Thomas & Martha Wayne (which quite possibly could be Matches Malone). We were told we’d find out who killed the Waynes in this second half of the season, but I don’t know if I believe that just yet. With Alfred’s & Bruce’s deal, I find it adds another layer of likeability to Alfred’s fatherly nature, as he cares so much for Bruce that he doesn’t want him to have a death on his conscience, much less at such a young age. Bruce deceptively agreed to the deal, as he later told Selina that he wants to pull the trigger himself. It seems that a lot of “Wrath of the Villains” is going to be about warning and preventing Bruce from being the one to do so.
Lastly, Ed Nygma is slowly becoming darker and darker. His evolution has been a joy to watch and is a big attraction when it comes to the show. Notably, he snaps back at Harvey after a rude comment, showing that this is not the same Ed we saw from season 1.
Welcome, Mr. Freeze. How do you pronounce “Fries”? Anyway, Victor Fries is introduced. His plot line is a familiar one used from many previous pieces of Batman lore: Victor is developing a cryogenic freeze that will allow him to save his wife, Nora, from the ailments that are currently killing her. It will freeze her until he can come up with a cure. Now, we aren’t seeing any explosive personalities or particularly memorable performances here, like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s in the early 90’s or Mr. Freeze from Batman: Arkham City. Regardless, Nathan Darrow (House of Cards) has a certain vulnerable quality that he brings to the table, showing us a sick man who will stop at nothing to save his sicker wife. In other words, it’s believable.
I recall thinking during the episodes that I didn’t like Freeze’s suit. It looked like he stole it from a NASA museum. Thankfully, that wasn’t his final suit, as he later will likely get a new one from Strange. I think Mr. Freeze works as a villain on the show, but is not as strong as some of the series’ others (Cobblepot, Jerome, to name a few). One aspect of Freeze that absolutely worked his is freeze gun, which looked totally realistic (if such a thing existed).
At first, I was worried that he had been killed off too quickly, before coming to my senses and remembering that Dr. Hugo Strange is our other newbie to the group. Strange has seen a rise in popularity in the past few years, thanks to the Batman: Arkham City videogame in 2011. Strange is played by BD Wong (Jurassic Park/World). I think Wong is going to work out fine, as he gives the feeling that he is a villain you just can’t kill. It will be interesting to see how things play out, but it appears he is the head of the “Wrath of the Villains,” much like Galavan was in “Rise of the Villains.”
Gotham has done a good job keeping its pace high without missing a beat after a nearly 3 month break. After an incredibly impressive first half, expectations have soared for the second half. Here’s to hoping Gotham is able to meet that challenge.
+ Tempo is perfect.
+ Solid continuation of the first half while resetting the show for the second half of the season.
+ Mr. Freeze & Hugo Strange keep things fresh.
– Cobblepot’s story line is average.
Josiah LeRoy is one of Gotham’s biggest fans. Did you know Robin Lord Taylor tweeted him once? You can chat with Jojo on Twitter.
Check out our Gotham preview episode of The Geekiverse Show.