[This is a review of Gotham season 2, episode 11. There will be SPOILERS.]
The first half of Gotham season 2 is complete, with the saga of Theo Galavan (James Frain) officially over (for now). After last week's episode left young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) in the clutches of the insidious mayor, this fall finale focuses almost exclusively on his imminent death and the rescue efforts in place to save him. Like its predecessor, the episode largely dodges subplots in service of the grand plot of the Order of St. Dumas and its desire to cleanse Gotham through Bruce's demise. Let's discuss the episode, titled "Worse Than a Crime".
SINS OF THE FOREFATHERS
At last, Theo clues Bruce in about his true motivation: the fact that the Waynes long ago disgraced the Dumas family. Not that it does the future Batman much good, as Galavan is hellbent on seeing the order's prophecy comes true and Bruce is sacrified. His ruthlessness (not surprisingly) even extends to forcing Silver (Natalie Alyn Lind) to prove her worth by making Bruce kiss her before he dies. When lethal Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) is asking for mercy on your behalf, you know you're among the most heartless inhabitants of Gotham.
Thankfully, Silver's ruse doesn't work on Bruce, who has seen more character development in the past few episodes than he has the entire series to date. Even though he sees through Silver's lies, he kisses her anyway in order to ensure her safety at the hands of the Galavans. His decision to do so -- and his calm, mature response to his impending death -- really cut to the heart of the young man's journey towards the cape and cowl. Now that Silver came through and tried to stop Father Creel (Ron Rifkin) during the ceremony, it'll be interesting to see how that dynamic plays out in the rest of the season. (Sidenote: Bruce's mention that his favorite animals are owls was a nice nod to the comics' Court of Owls and a sly nocturnal precursor to his fascination with bats.)
THE CAVALRY ASSEMBLES
As Bruce and Silver's story plays out, a veritable dream team of Gotham characters quickly comes together to rescue the young Wayne. After rescuing Gordon (Ben McKenzie) at the end of "The Son of Gotham", Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) -- now with Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) helping him out (those two have such dynamite chemistry) -- recruits Jim to form an alliance against Galavan. No doubt Gordon's dream of Barbara falling alludes to his lingering feelings for her and his proclivity towards his darker impulses. Before long, Alfred (Sean Pertwee), Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk), Bullock (Donal Logue) and even Selina (Camren Bicondova) join the cause, ultimately engaging in a thrilling group fight scene with the order. Selina has sure been working on her cat-like combat skills.
The other big development is in this story, of course, is Leslie's (Morena Baccarin) announcement that she is pregnant. It's likely the the creative team behind Gotham wrote this plot point in since Baccarin and McKenzie are expecting their own child in real life, but it remains to be seen how the show will handle it. As fans have long noted, the comics dictate that Gordon marries and starts a family with Barbara. Since Gotham is keen to diverge from the source material, it's still possible that Gordon and Leslie will marry and decide to name their child in tribute after Barbara, thus setting the stage for their daughter to one day become Batgirl. At this point, it's far too early to guess how their relationship will do, but without a doubt, Gordon's decision to give in to the darkness and kill Galavan himself means that his inner struggle will continue to be a major focus going forward.
WINTER IS COMING
The episode's final moments nicely whet fans' appetite for what's to come in the latter half of season 2. Casual mention of BD Wong's Hugo Strange indicates that him and his experiments at Indian Hill will be a major focus. We've already seen Firefly and now Galavan brought there, indicating that perhaps both villains will return in some form going forward. If the show were to venture into full-on sci-fi territory, this could be the best opportunity it has to do so, as there's no telling what DC villains will emerge from its halls.
One member of the rogues' gallery that fans got their first glimpse of was Nathan Darrow as Mr. Freeze, whose very arrival hints that the show's second batch of season 2 episodes will crank up the comic book influence even more. At the moment, it appears that Victor Fries is using some kind of prototype version of his freezing gun and has yet to experience the incident that leaves him vulnerable outside of sub-zero temperatures. As per his best-known backstory, his actions are probably motivated by his sick wife's illness. In any case, Gotham fans have a long wait ahead of them before we get closer to any answers about the show's many mysteries. Rest assured, the truth about what is on Thomas Wayne's hard drive and Jerome's continuing influence on the city streets will definitely be among them.
What did you think of "Worse Than a Crime"? Share your thoughts on the episode in the comments section below.
Gotham season 2 returns to FOX in February.