[This is a review of Gotham season 2, episode 10. There will be SPOILERS.]
As the fall finale of Gotham draws near, the confrontation between Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Theo Galavan (James Frain) keeps building, and Bruce (David Mazouz) and Selina team up to learn the truth about the Waynes' killer. After the cliffhanger ending of last week's episode, "The Son of Gotham" had a ton of work to do to set up conclusion to this first half of season 2. Let's discuss what happened this episode.
BRUCE STEPS UP
After being played by the Galavans throughout the season, Bruce finally took control of his destiny this episode, and of course, Selina (Camren Bicondova) played a key role in his biggest act of deception yet. The events of this episode prove that the future Batman is far more capable than Alfred previously gave him credit for. With evidence that Silver (Natalie Alyn Lind) has been manipulating him on behalf of the Galavans, Bruce offers to pay for Theo's legal defense in exchange for the identity of his parents' killer, even professing his affection for Silver to sell his ruse. Just as he is going to meet her, she is taken by The Knife (Tommy Flanagan), who claims to working to protect the secrets of Wayne Enterprises. Of course, the entire kidnapping is later revealed to have been orchestrated by Bruce and Selina.
While that plot twist may have been predicted by some viewers, at least it yields a name that Bruce can use to take his investigation to the next level: M. Malone. His assertion to Silver that she really has no idea who he is may be the biggest step towards becoming Batman that the young man has taken on the show to date. The Dark Knight is, of course, marked by his double life, and this week, Bruce took some crucial steps to demonstrate that he is progressing nicely towards the cape and cowl. Oh, and the moment when he finally confessed his feelings to Selina is adorable and rings remarkably true, considering the two characters' romantic future and their on-again/off-again alliance in the comics. We'll see how Bruce contends against Theo now that Mayor Galavan seemingly has him cornered.
GORDON VS. GALAVAN
Gordon's story starts out with Parks' funeral, as the rookie cop was killed by Eduardo Flamingo in the closing moments of last week's episode. Considering that a young GCPD officer is killed off almost on a weekly basis, it feels a bit disingenuous that this particular one is hitting Gordon so hard. Regardless, it gives the show a direct route to ramp up Gordon's personal determination to bring down Theo, just as the Order of St. Dumas finds its way to Gotham to cleanse the city. Gordon and Bullock's investigation -- still among the least interesting elements of the show, despite its efforts to make the GCPD stories a highlight -- leads them to the realization that "the son of Gotham" is the next target.
At this point, it remains unclear if former Mayor James (Richard Kind) is under the influence of mind control or simply being blackmailed when he claims that Penguin, not Galavan, was behind his kidnapping and torture. Since Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) apparently cured Butch of his allegiance to Penguin, it's likely that she similarly tinkered with James' state of mind. In any case, Gordon's outburst in court and subsequent brawl with Galavan was satisfying. The show has maintained such a singular focus on Galavan as the "big bad" that it's refreshing to see all the secrets out in the open between its main hero and villain. With Galavan on a mission to take out Bruce, the show is setting the stage for a return to Gordon and Penguin's (Robin Lord Taylor) tenuous friendship.
ELSEWHERE IN GOTHAM...
"The Son of Gotham" was among the better episodes of the show this season for a number of reason, including its hyper-focus on the show's two central figures. Both Gordon and Bruce took major steps to uncover the truth this week, to the point that their two stories took up nearly the entire runtime. At its heart, Gotham is about the emergence of both men as the city's heroes and the alliance that ultimately develops from their friendship. So it was a welcome decision that the show kept the focus so closely on them this week.
However, a few other highlights did sneak through this week. Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) finally returned to work after discovering his love of murdering people, covering for his crimes by telling Leslie (Morena Baccarin) that Kristen ran away with Dougherty. Even better was Penguin's annoying calls about plumbing and spicy mustard. Both Smith and Taylor have proven to be the most fun-to-watch performers on the show, and hopefully, their characters' alliance will yield more highlights such as this. Also, the battle between Alfred (Sean Pertwee) and Tabitha was perhaps the best bit of action to hit the series in quite some time. It's always such a blast to see Bruce's butler throw down, and he more than held his own against the lethal Galavan sister.
What did you think of "The Son of Gotham"? Share your thoughts on the episode in the comments section below.
Gotham returns with "Worse Than a Crime" next Monday at 8pm on FOX.