Last week’s season premiere of Gotham shook things up in a big way. Bruce Wayne discovered his father’s secret bunker, Gordon was both fired and reinstated to the GCPD, and newcomer Theo Galavan broke out several inmates from Arkham Asylum. With Gordon back on the GCPD and a new commissioner in Sarah Essen, a new era has finally arrived. Given what we have seen from Galavan and his band of maniacs thus far, it could be a dark era. This episode maintains the show’s newfound momentum from last week. It’s also the first episode to really capitalize on Gordon’s morality, leading to a shocking conclusion in the closing minutes. I am actually going to begin by addressing the events of the last fifteen minutes. If you have not yet watched this episode, then read on at your own risk.
Gordon spends the episode tracking down the escaped inmates. After a close call, Gordon is lured out of the police station by Barbara. With Gordon gone, the other inmates arrive dressed as officers and murder most of the officers as well as Commissioner Essen. This is perhaps the most shocking moment of the entire show outside of Fish gunning down Maroni. The depicted violence is also much darker than what I’ve grown accustomed to on Gotham. It also opens the door to potentially expand on Gordon’s character. His actions from last week’s episode combined with this could allow for some understandable but nevertheless conflicting guilt down the line.
The inmates themselves are front and center this episode. They’re definitely not subtle, but considering the lineage of this series I’m not surprised. Their actions during this episode include throwing people off of a building and attempting to torch a busload of high school cheerleaders. There’s no exploration of Galavan’s arching plot outside of causing chaos in Gotham. On the plus side, Jerome is given every opportunity to take center stage and capitalize on potentially being the eventual Joker. He’s definitely got the laugh down and even pays homage to The Dark Knight in a certain scene. His overbearing presence somewhat undermines the rest of the inmates to mere henchmen.
Once again, all of my issues with this episode stem from the Bruce Wayne subplots. Realizing that Bruce may be putting himself in potential danger, Alfred places himself at odds over Bruce’s actions. This naturally doesn’t go over well and Bruce fires Alfred for all of ten minutes. This is a microcosm of Gotham’s biggest problem during the first season. There were too many events that were both presented and resolved within too short of a time span. This could have been a great opportunity to break away from the Batman lore and tell a whole new story. Instead, they reconcile as quickly as they separate. Hopefully the reintroduction of Lucius Fox will provide another chance to do something different. My concern is that it will end up further stalling the mysterious Wayne Enterprises subplot established in season one.
Speaking of shortened subplots, we also get the return of Bullock to the GCPD. I was a little thrown at first that he returned so quickly. His sobriety and newfound lease on life seemed like something that could have been played out for several episodes. It felt abrupt but only until I took into account how the GCPD was completely decimated by the end of the episode. This also opens the door for Harvey Dent to play a larger role going forward compared to his few guest roles last season. Knowing that Michael Chiklis has recently joined the cast as a police captain, his first appearance may not be too far off. It appears that orderly presence in Gotham City is needed now more than ever.
Episode Rating: 7/10