J.W. Cortes

All posts tagged J.W. Cortes

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The FOX series “Gotham,” suddenly changed direction in the latest episode making a move that likely will have many fans of the show upset and perhaps irate. Other fans will look at this as a gutsy move by the show-runners, proving that the second-year series will keep viewers on their toes and let them take nothing for granted.

I’m going to break format this go-round and immediately address the elephant in the room. During the show’s first season Robin Lord Taylor’s Oswald Cobblepot, aka the Penguin evolved into a breakout character of the campaign. Taylor’s Penguin broke away from the way Burgess Meredith and Danny DeVito played the role, in appearance and mannerisms. Both actors portrayed the character as he appeared in the comic-books of the Golden and Silver Ages of comics. Short and round with pointed noses, their speech filled with assorted grunts and quacks.

Taylor’s Cobblepot’s a mama’s boy and outsider who dreams of greatness and overcomes his cowardice to end up as the Criminal King of Gotham City. Penguin stabbed each of his benefactors in the back, yet he ended up the first season as last man standing. We watched him transform from Fish Mooney’s umbrella boy to controlling the entire underworld operation in Gotham City.

This year’s breakout character was Cameron Monaghan’s Jerome Valeska, a young man we met last season when Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock arrested him for killing his mother. When Valeska realized that Gordon nailed him for the murder of his mother many fans including this one, believed that Jerome would become perhaps the Caped Crusader’s greatest nemesis The Joker. Jerome starts to break down and cry for a second only to look up at Gordon and flash that unmistakable grin, Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and the Joker from the comic-books, all wrapped up in one magnificently evil smile.

Although those connected with Gotham never confirmed that Jerome would eventually evolve into The Joker, the first two episodes in this short season was enough proof that the ginger would become the deadly criminal. Valeska and four other inmates of the Arkham Asylum received their freedom when they got broken out by Theo and Tabitha Galavan. Valeska quickly became first among equals, becoming the leader of The MANIAX, stressing showmanship along with his brutal slayings.

Jerome terrorized Gotham City’s elite for most of the third episode until the show-runners hit the audience that likely knocked them out of their seats. Theo Galavan called an audible at the line and decided that Valeska could get sacrificed in order to further Galavan’s master plan, to take control of Gotham City.

The first image we see on the screen’s a perp’s getting thrown through a second-story window, his fall softened by trash bags in the alley. We pan up to see Jim Gordon standing in the window and he turns around to talk to his next victim. He tells the guy he’s looking for Jerome Valeska for killing a friend of his and asks the guy what he knows. The dude responds he’s never heard of Valeska and Jim throws a right to his jaw. The guy says he can help the detectives by spreading the word and Gordon tells him that anybody who hides or protects Valeska’s going down. To make sure the guy understood the message, Bullock then threw him through another window to the trash bags below.

After a little playtime for Barbara and Tabitha, Theo walks in with a tray of toast and coffee for Barbara and himself as Tabitha takes off. Galavan then tells Kean that his family built Gotham City, yet their name’s not known. He says he’s out to avenge his ancestors and tells Barbara she’s going to be his star. He then tells her when the time’s right he’ll help her destroy Jim Gordon, not kill him but destroy him body and soul.

Back at the precinct, Harvey suggests to Jim that they pay Penguin a visit, but Gordon brusquely dismisses the idea. Bullock heads to another part of the station, when Gordon sees a female uniform about to take the crime-scene tape off of Captain Sarah Essen’s office door. Jim barks at her to stop then puts the tape back in place. He then shouts to all in the precinct that they lost Essen and nine of their brothers in their house and the killer laughed. He told them to never forget that.

Lee Thompkins puts her hand on his shoulder from behind and he wheels around screams what, before he realizes it’s her. They go off to a corner and talk and Lee mentions the Gotham Children’s Hospital Charity Event’s that evening and she’s involved in the presentation. Jim says he can’t go, he needs to find Jerome.

Just at that moment Valeska and Tabitha arrive at Paul Cicero’s apartment, Cicero’s the blind psychic who admitted to Jerome last season he’s his father. Quickly Cicero’s bound and gagged as Jerome recounts the days of his abusive childhood and blame’s Cicero for never stepping in. He then tells the old man that he’s going to leave manufactured letters between father and son, so that Cicero gets blamed for breaking Jerome out of Arkham.

Back at the precinct Harvey tells Jim that he’s tracked down Paul Cicero and maybe he knows where Jerome’s hiding out. The two quickly drive over to the old man’s apartment.

Valeska stand’s over the old man with a knife and asks him if he has any last words. Cicero says

“You will be a curse upon Gotham. Children will wake from their sleep, screaming from the thought of you. Your legacy will be death and madness.”

Jerome laughs and starts to raise the knife, when there’s a knock at the door as Gordon and Bullock arrived. Gordon calls for Cicero, saying he wants to talk to him about his son but gets met with silence. Suddenly the old man groans and they bust down the door, an instant too late. Cicero’s dead as Valeska stabbed him in the eye and Jim realizes they left through the open window. Harvey examines the body and notices the corpse’s hand’s placed on-top of a tin can, when he moves Cicero’s hand he passes out from the gas coming out of the can. Gordon pulls him out into the hall but he’s barely standing. Then Jerome and Tabitha show up, Jim tries to choke Jerome but he’s easily subdued and Tabitha kicks him in the forehead.

The charity event for Gotham Children’s Hospital kicks off and amongst the guests, Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth. Bruce questions why they’re at the event and Alfred says that Bruce needs to be seen at certain functions, this being one on that list. Lee Thompkins comes over to introduce herself to Bruce, she tells him Gordon talks about him all the time and she wanted to meet him.

Alfred’s smitten and unaware that she’s Gordon’s girlfriend he starts to turn on the charm and make a play for her. Lee tells him she loves his stories and he suggests they have dinner at Wayne Manor. She starts to tell Pennyworth she’s got a boyfriend, but he mentions he’s good friends with the head-chef at an exclusive restaurant. Lee says she’s been trying to get a table there for months.

Bruce sees Selina at the event and tries to talk to her, but she tells him she’s working. She’s robbing Gotham’s elite of some of their “extra-cash.” Wayne mentions the entertainment’s a magician and Kyle tells him she hates magicians and says she’ll see him later.

There’s a last-minute substitution for the magician scheduled to perform. Taking the stage The Great Rudolfo and his lovely assistant, actually Jerome and Barbara in disguise, after they tied up the real magician and locked him in a trunk. Lee’s the hostess of the event and introduces the magician and his assistant.

Rudolfo performs a few tricks and then asks for a volunteer from the audience and asks for Bruce Wayne to come up. Wayne doesn’t want to do it but Alfred tells him to be a good sport. He comes up on stage and Rudolfo places him lying down in a box, Wayne’s head and arms sticking out one end and his feet out the other. Alfred starts to protest when Rudolfo takes two honed steel sheets and sticks them in a slot in the box. He separates the boxes and Bruce’s fine with his feet appearing to stick out one end while he waves to the crowd.

Lee asks Alfred if the performers look familiar and suddenly Kean’s mask slips off and she winks at Thompkins. Lee backs into the hallway and calls Jim telling him Barbara’s there and she thinks Jerome as well when she’s grabbed from behind and a hand goes over her mouth. Gordon rushes to the event.

Rudolfo’s asked for Deputy Mayor Harrison Kane to be his next volunteer and the official takes the stage smiling broadly. Rudolfo then says to the audience nobody’s getting out of her alive tonight and there’s nervous laughter, which turns into screams when he throws a knife into Kane’s chest killing the Deputy Mayor.

Gordon arrives outside the hall where the event’s taking place and a uniform tells him he’s not sending in his men. Jim stomps off and says he’ll go by himself when his cellphone rings and Lee’s number appears. He says thank goodness you’re okay only to hear Jerome at the other end. Valeska says to the detective he wishes he could see what’s going on then says actually it’s on TV so he can. Gordon gets to a monitor and sees Lee tied to a spinning wheel, with Barbara and Jerome on either side of her.

The waiters are part of the gang and start shooting automatic weapons at the ceiling, Alfred takes on one of the guys and almost has the weapon when he sees Bruce chasing Selina. Pennyworth’s caught off-guard and a blow to the head knocks him out.

Theo Galavan takes the stage and says to Valeska that he can’t let this go on and when Jerome asks him his name he turns to the cameras and announces Theo Galavan. He says to Jerome that there must be one cell of compassion within him and he says he appeals to the good in him. Kean knocks on top of his head with a hammer and Galavan falls to the stage.

Selina grabs Bruce and almost has them outside when he says he has to go back for Alfred. She says she’s not going back and he tells her he understands, then says he misses her and heads back to the dining room. Selina shakes her head and heads for safety.

Wayne’s just outside the dining room when he hears Jerome saying he wants Bruce back on the stage. Bruce stands and looks from behind a curtain until Kean says shoot the butler and Alfred’s brought out. Valeska says if Bruce wants to save his friend he best come out, he’s about to enter the dining room when he feels a hand on his shoulder. It’s Gordon and he tells him not to go.

Bruce says he can’t let anything happen to Alfred and he runs in shouting I’m here. Alfred stops him and asks what he’s doing, he gives Alfred a pistol that Gordon gave him and tells him the Detective’s in the hall. He goes to Jerome and he puts a knife against his neck and starts slicing slowly. Gordon and Alfred lack a clear shot at Valeska, suddenly Galavan rises from the floor and severs Jerome’s jugular with a knife. Valeska slumps to the floor still with a huge grin plastered on his face and his eyes wide-open.

Theo talks to Valeska as the life ebbs out of his body. He tells him he’s sorry he deviated from the script but he found it necessary. Valeska dies on the stage with his face frozen in the grin and Galavan’s looked at as the city’s new hero.

Jerome Valeska didn’t become The Joker, but he inspired a following. We watch a guy in his thirties laughing hysterically watching Valeska killing people. Then we watch a kid with braces laughing like a lunatic as he watches. We finally see two homeless stragglers stab a bag-lady to death and then one guy kills his partner.

The final image’s Jerome’s corpse with that grin frozen on his face, as we hear Cicero’s words ringing in the background.

The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 8:00 pm on FOX.

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Looks like our old friend Oswald Cobblepot’s going to have a challenger as King Of Gotham City’s world of crime. In the second episode of the second season of the FOX hit series “Gotham,” we watched Theo Galavan’s band of escapees from Arkham Asylum make their presence known in grand fashion. Galavan’s the ultimate marionette, keeping his identity in the shadows as his escapees wreak havoc and getting Gotham City Mayor Aubrey James to publicly disappear through pure intimidation. Can the Penguin and company stand up against Galavan, his sister Tabitha and his escapees?

Published reports during the summer stated that two major characters would get killed off in the season’s first few episodes. One of those deaths took place in this episode and unfortunately our prediction in our season preview article turned out to be correct, ushering in a new day in Gotham City.

The episode opens with a meeting between Galavan, his sister Tabitha and Gotham City Mayor Aubrey Plaza, who finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having a wooden box covering his head. Theo tells James that he’s going to open the latch in the front of the box and one of two things will occur. Either James agrees to call his secretary and tell her he’s run off with a woman and he’ll send her written instructions of what to do, or Galavan will put a tarantula in the box and close the latch. Naturally the Mayor chooses to make the phone call.

James asks Galavan why he’s doing this to him and the businessman and community leader tells him that he’s just a part of the great endeavor, the great cleansing. Theo tells the Mayor that monsters are coming, who’ll cleanse the city in fire and blood.

We head to the offices of the Gotham Gazette and we see the editor in chief turn up his nose at the paper’s headline asking Where’s The Mayor. The editor starts shouting at his staff that he could care less where James is or whom he’s sleeping with, he says that’s not news. As he gives his lecture, we see bodies coming from the roof, dropping past their windows. The reporters rush to the windows to find out what’s going on.

On top of the roof we find the four men that Galavan and his sister busted out of Arkham Asylum, in the first episode. They’ve got seven hostages up on the roof, in straight-jackets and Jerome spray-paints a letter on each of their jackets and Aaron Helzinger picks them up and throws them to the street below. When they’ve finished the dead men on the ground spell out MANIAX! They’ve introduced themselves to Gotham City.

New GCPD Commissioner Sarah Essen’s working out of her old office in her old precinct. She addresses her officers and informs them they’re dealing with a massive problem, then turns over the floor to reinstated Detective Jim Gordon who gives a rundown on the MANIAX personnel. Jerome Valeska killed his mother, Arnold Dobkins’ a schizoid, a thief and rapist. Robert Greenwood murdered and then ate six women, Aaron Helzinger murdered his entire family with his bare hands and Barbara Kean killed her parents. The seven victims were all from the Yellen shipyard.

Galavan’s meeting with the four men planning their introduction, he says what they did was just the overture. Jerome impresses Galavan the most and when the boys get into a spitting contest over whose the boss, Valeska bests Greenwood in a game of Russian Roulette and winning the title.

Barbara and Tabitha enter the room with James in tow, still with the box on his head and the lid’s latched. The women are taking turns whipping him and tell Theo they’re bored. Kean asks when it’s going to be her turn to do something dastardly and Galavan smiles and says soon. Them he asks her what she knows about Jim Gordon?

Alfred and Bruce are down in Wayne’s father’s secret cave located below Wayne Manor and Alfred’s distraught at what he’s finding in there. There’s a cache of weapons and a bullet-proof vest with two slugs embedded in it. Bruce wants to turn on his father’s computer, but Alfred asks him to think it through. Wayne responds he’s thought about it enough, this contains all his father’s secrets. He turns it on, but Pennyworth destroys the server with a sledge-hammer, saying that what’s inside the computer likely cost Bruce’s father his life and he won’t let Bruce get killed. Wayne tells his butler and guardian that he’s fired and for him to leave and never return.

Jim heads down the bar that Harvey bartends at and he has an unpleasant reunion with Bullock’s fiancée Scottie Mullens. She asks why he’s there and tells Harvey he’s going to ask him to go back to being a cop, but Bullock tells her she’s mistaken. Jim says she’s right, that’s exactly why he came and Harvey tells him he’s got a life now and won’t go back. Before Gordon leaves Harvey tells him to look for a connection with Yellen shipyards, where all the hostages got taken from.

Alfred comes into the library with a small suitcase and bids goodbye to Bruce, Wayne tells him if he needs a reference that he’ll give him a great one. Alfred’s hoping the boy had a change of mind, but he leaves the mansion and heads to the train station.

Harvey’s hunch panned out, the MANIAX stole a filled-up fuel truck from the shipyard and the guys have chosen their victims, a school-bus filled with cheerleaders from Gotham City High School. Jerome soon has all the cheerleaders manacled to their seats  and then sprays them all with gasoline from the truck’s hose. He goes to light the gasoline, but his lighter doesn’t work, so Arnold Dobkins tries his, just as the police arrive. The MANIAX fire on the GCPD realizing they won’t receive return fire, standing in front of the schoolhouse. After shooting some officers they take off leaving Dobkins whose lighter’s failing to spark. Gordon grabs him but it’s a second too late as he finally lit the gasoline trail on the ground leading to the bus.

Jim knocks Dobkins to the ground with a punch in the face and then drives the bus to safety, seconds before the gasoline fire explodes. Gordon grabs Dobkins and asks who busted them out of Arkham, but before Arnold can respond Tabitha shoots him through the head with a high-powered rifle from a nearby rooftop. Now the MANIAX are down to four.

Bruce heads down to the train-station and finds Alfred sitting on a bench and sits down next to him. He tells his guardian he doesn’t want him to leave and he understands he did what he did to protect Bruce. However he says that Alfred’s either with him or against him, Pennyworth responds that of course he’s with him but he believes Wayne’s too young and not ready.

Wayne tells him that’s cool, so he wants Alfred to make him ready to teach him how to become a warrior. He says that Alfred’s lived a dangerous life and he can prepare him, the boy even says he’ll go back to school. Pennyworth agrees to the deal if Bruce follows his instructions completely and when Alfred tells him to hold back he’ll restrain himself. Wayne shakes Alfred’s hand and says he’s got a deal, but Alfred has to get the computer fixed. When Pennyworth asks how he’s going to do that, Bruce responds it’s Alfred’s problem since he broke it.

Regular readers of these pages, are well aware of my admiration of Sean Pertwee’s portrayal of Alfred. Although I enjoyed Michael Caine in the role in the Dark Knight Trilogy, Pertwee brings an edge to the part. He’s a dangerous man and when the situation calls for it, Alfred freely reveals that side of him. The next scene showcases that part of Pennyworth’s personality, as he tracks down Wayne Enterprises executive and confidante of Thomas Wayne, Lucius Fox in his favorite watering-hole.

Alfred makes it seem at first that their meeting’s accidental, but he soon tells Fox that he’d been thinking about him. Fox asks him what his thoughts pertained to and Pennyworth tells him the way he figures thing, the world’s made up of two kinds of people, those you can trust and those you can’t. Lucius agrees with him and then Pennyworth tells him that he needs to confide in him, but if Fox betrays him he’ll wind up dead. Lucius says perhaps he should pass on being Alfred’s confidante and the butler tells him that ship sailed, when he told Bruce his father was a stoic.

Lucius looks Alfred in the eyes and tells him he’s got only the best intentions in regards to Bruce. Pennyworth smiles and says he’s glad to hear that. Then he asks Fox if he can fix a computer?

Back at the precinct Gordon gets a call from Barbara Kean and he tries to play things cool asking her how she’s doing and what’s going on. Kean calls him on it and Gordon tells her she’s sick and she needs help. He says she’s really a good and loving woman and that he wants to help her. Suddenly he sees her in the doorway of the precinct, calling from a cellphone and she asks him how she looks. She leaves the precinct and he follows her out holding his pistol and aiming it at her.

As soon as he leaves Jerome and Greenwood enter the station wearing uniforms. Jerome ties up Commissioner Essen and then he and Greenwood open fire on the precinct. The pair kill almost all those in the building, Nygma, Kristin Kringle and Lee Thompkins, are among the few not badly injured in the incident. Essen’s witnessed this all before Jerome turns his attention to her.

Meanwhile Gordon’s following Barbara down an alley and he calls out to her to surrender and he’ll do all he can to help her. She says that’s just going to get her sent back to Arkham and Jim throws up his hands and says let’s talk this out. Kean says it’s too late for that and we hear a scream and Helzinger jumps down and lands on Gordon and starts pummeling him. Jim picks up a steel pipe and hits Helzinger in the head with it and then just stares when he doesn’t react. After a couple of seconds, Aaron softly says oww and then continues beating Gordon to a pulp until Barbara tells him to stop.

Jim’s on the ground on his back barely conscious and Kean straddles him and tells him she kept saying this is what she’s really like, but Gordon wouldn’t listen. She says I’m not sick I’m free, then tells Jim he best get back to the station in a hurry.

Greenwood and Valeska now concentrate on Commissioner Essen, Greenwood picks up a video-camera and starts taping Jerome’s conversation with Essen. She looks at him and through gritted teeth tells him that he’ll soon be dead and nobody will remember his name. Jerome laughs at her and says that’s where you’re wrong, I’ll leave a mark and it’ll spread like a virus throughout the city. Greenwood shouts out there’s nothing as contagious as laughter and Jerome shoots him dead saying that’s his line. Now just three MANIAX remain.

Essen head butts Jerome in the head and he says he likes it and tells her to do it again. The second time she breaks his nose and says that’ll leave a mark. Valeska laughs as blood spurts from his nose, then says now it’s my turn. When Jim arrives back at the precinct, a couple of uniforms are still alive as well as Ed, Kristin and Lee. However Sarah’s dying, her blouse covered in blood. Jim grabs her hand and says it’s a new day Jim and dies.

Lucius Fox is with Bruce in the cave as Lucius inspects the computer and smiles and says it’s certainly broken. Bruce asks him if he can fix it and Fox says he imagines so, but it’ll take some time. He then tells Bruce that he loved his father and he never got a chance to tell him that and he wishes he’d helped him more. Alfred enters the cave with a somber expression and some news for Bruce.

Jim enters Essen’s office and suddenly we see Harvey in the doorway and he says she was a Hell of a lady and Gordon responds she was a Hell of a cop. He then sees Harvey’s sporting his shield and he says he appreciates but Harvey’s not obligated to come back. Bullock says he doesn’t want to talk about it, we are what we are. Jim asks him how Scottie took the news and Harvey says she’ll understand, or she won’t.

As they head out of the office and into the main precinct, Bruce and Alfred arrive. Bruce tells Jim that he’s sorry for the losses but he’s glad Gordon’s okay. He then says he’s sorry he was so rough on Jim the last time they spoke and he gives Gordon a hug. One of the cops turns on a TV and we see a news report containing footage that Jerome sent to the station that he taped during the massacre. He tells the city they’re all prisoners, just cogs in the wheel, then tells them to hang onto their hats as they ain’t seen nothing yet!

The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 8:00 pm on FOX.