Last week on Gotham, Gordon and the team were out looking for clues as to who might have employed the assassin who killed Bruce’s parents. In the process, they learned all about Pinewood Farms, a series of genetic experiments initiated by Bruce’s father. They also, with the help of one of those experiments, managed to uncover the fact that Hugo Strange was the brain behind the mad science. This week, Strange gets annoyed with all those people digging into his past and strikes back via the power of a newly resurrected Theo Galavan, AKA Azrael. Scroll on to see what ‘Azrael’ brought to the table.
We begin back in the lab. Galavan is alive and completely bat-shit insane. He’s murdered everyone in the room and Strange has no way to control him. To make matters worse, Gordon shows up. He jumps right at Strange’s throat and accuses him of being the one behind the Pinewood experiments, both past and present. Hugo tries to dodge the questions, but only ends up solidifying Gordon’s case against him.
On the upper floor of the Asylum, we find a recently imprisoned Edward Nygma becoming Lord of the Lunatics. Every mind is a puzzle waiting to be solved and our future Riddler is doing a fine job of it. When he overhears Strange talking about how much of a problem Gordon is becoming, he even offers to help. Strange passes on the offer, but does gain inspiration from Nygma about the best way to potentially control the insane monster in the basement.
So off Hugo goes to feed Galavan an elaborate and heroic story about who he truly is. After filling his head with legends and double-tapping via the magic of the brainwashing chair, Strange finally has some way to steer the newly formed Azrael in the direction he desires. The final test – to give dude a sword and point him in Gordon’s direction.
Back with Gordon, he and Bruce are having a chat about how best to deal with Strange. Bruce wants Jim to put a bullet in the guy, but Gordon is done with killing. So they head off to talk to Barnes instead. Naturally, convincing Barnes that Hugo Strange is raising people from the dead isn’t the easiest thing in the world. But when Azrael shows up, completely decked out in his super villain outfit and beating the crap out of both of them, the argument becomes a little easier to digest.
The final showdown comes when Barnes locks Jim up “for his own protection”. All that does is give Azrael an unmoving target, so eventually it comes down to a bloodbath at GCPD HQ. The end result is that Gotham is now short one Captain Barnes and that the rest of the world has visual proof that Galavan is still alive and kicking.
In the meanwhile, Nygma discovers the presence of Strange’s secret, underground laboratory. So he organizes his group of crazies to collect stuff for him so that he can access the Arkham underworld. When he does, it’s a walk into another ass-load of crazy.
We also get to see Penguin, a bit more out of touch than usual, discovering that the man who killed his mother is still alive. Then Butch, Barbara and Tabitha discover the same thing. As does little Bruce Wayne. So now that everyone knows Galavan is walking around and breathing, I’m guessing it won’t be long before all these enemies converge to make his life a living hell.
Though this week was mostly focused on Gordon and his confrontation with Azrael, a lot went down. In addition to the firefight and swordplay, we got to see the set-up for the big confrontation that will end the season. Everyone is pissed at Galavan-now-Azrael, many of them have a bone to pick with Hugo Strange and it won’t be long before the two of them find a relentless assault at their doorstep. Strange may expect such an attack and perhaps even welcome it, but Azrael is going to have some serious personality issues as his old self rises to the surface. It should be interesting to see which side of him ultimately gains control. Assuming he survives the season, that is.
It was also entertaining to see crazy Azrael (a far more interesting villain than Galavan ever was) adopting his legacy as some long forgotten soldier of the Crusades. I’m not familiar with Azrael’s story in the comics, so this was all new for me and I enjoyed it quite a bit. He’s the anti-Batman before there is a Batman and a potential inspiration for many developments to come as far as Bruce is concerned. He’s also the first truly super-powered villain to show up, being all genetically enhanced as he is.
The highlight of this episode for me, however, was the brief part that the future Riddler had to play. I loved watching him use his brain to conquer the chaos of the asylum, fitting in like he belongs there. More so, taking the role of leader amongst the mentally downtrodden. It’s a peek into the way Arkham will become, filled with only the brightest and the maddest of Gotham’s criminal population. I’m also happy they didn’t just choose to write Nygma out of the rest of the season now that he’s been caught. Sure, the line-up is getting pretty crowded, but if they can utilize everyone without bogging the last few episodes down, it should be quite the shit-show.
So what does Gotham have in store for us next time around? ‘Unleashed’ begins the work of bringing enemies together to defeat a common evil. Gordon calls on Tabitha while Azrael goes in search of a legendary sword that WON’T break the first time it hits a lead pipe. The Penguin and Nygma do their own thing and Bruce once again puts himself in the line of fire. Oh, and Firefly is back. Check out the trailer below.