Warning: Spoiler Alert
The FOX Network series “Gotham,” opened its second season with an episode that should eliminate any doubts the series is going to suffer from the sophomore blues. The show-runners made every moment count in this fast-paced and gripping chapter. The powers that be have labeled season two as “The Rise Of The Villains,” but it could be subtitled “Doing The Right Thing Isn’t Always Pretty.” Alliances were formed that blurred the line between good and bad, in order to achieve the desired endgame. This results in show that no longer pits the white hats against the black hats, now all the characters are varying shades of gray.
Season two opens seconds after the first season finale on another rainy day at Wayne Manor as Bruce and Alfred head down the staircase they discovered hidden behind the fireplace. When they reach the bottom of the staircase, there’s a door in front of them with the carving of a creature that appears to be a cross between a man and a lion. The door’s locked and the only way to enter it is through a keypad. Bruce furiously punches in a number of codes, but the digital display reads access denied with every entry.
We watch a montage of the rest of the characters set to a the Lou Reed classic “Perfect Day,” a perfect counter-balance to what we watch unfold on the screen. Lee helps Jim with his tie as he prepares to direct traffic, now that he’s been demoted to patrolman. His former partner Harvey Bullock quit the department rather than accept the demotion, he’s now a bartender and picks a drunk’s head off the counter to clean it. Penguin now the King Of Crime in Gotham City, kisses a bald man on top of his head before he has Victor Zsasz shoot him to death. We see Barbara Kean arrive at Arkham Asylum and we see a familiar face among the inmates, Jerome Valeska who many fans believe will evolve into the Joker.
We then get our first glimpse of the character that appears destined to become the “Big Bad” of season two, as Theo Galavan gives a hefty man wearing what looks like a superhero costume including a helmet a liquid and tells him to drink it. The man responds yes master and consumes it all.
Gordon’s directing traffic in Gotham City when the dude in the suit comes down the stairs of the elevated-train system and announces that he’s Zaardon Slayer Of Souls. He then pulls out two pistols and fires overhead into the metal bridge, then throws the pistols down and unsheathes a sword and grabs a young woman. Gordon tells Zaardon he doesn’t want to shoot him as there’s too much paperwork involved. Zaardon pushes the woman away and Gordon’s able to deflect the sword, overpower the dude and cuff him.
Just then the uniform that’s supposed to relieve Gordon arrives, another hefty guy munching on a burger as he arrives. Gordon barks at him that he’s late and the uniform smirks and asks Jim what’s his problem and Gordon just pushes him away due to his frustration. He whips around and pulls his weapon, pointing it at some would-be looters and growls bad idea. The guys put down the stuff and take off.
Gordon brings Zaardon back to the station and tells him he’s heading for Arkham Asylum. Zaardon responds that Gordon won the battle but his master will win the war. He tells the patrolman dark days are coming and Jim thanks him for the heads up.
Gordon goes into the men’s room and sees Ed Nygma standing in front of a sink staring into the mirror, without his glasses on. Jim asks him if he’s okay and Ed responds he’s fine and Gordon leaves. We then realize that Jim interrupted a conversation between Nygma and his reflection. His reflection starts talking about pursuing Kristin Kringle in a romantic relationship, but Ed says they have to leave Miss Kringle alone.
We’re now in Captain Sarah Essen’s office along with Essen, Gordon, Commissioner Loeb and the uniform that Jim pushed Officer Frank. Loeb asks Gordon if he put his hands on Frank and he replies that he did and Frank leaves the office. Loeb tells Gordon that the infraction calls for him to be dismissed from the force and tells Essen to take Jim’s gun and badge. The Captain starts to protest but Jim tells her to stop. He then shakes hands with Loeb and says that he told the Commissioner he’d break him and he intends to fulfill that promise.
Jim tells Lee and she tells him that she’s glad he got fired, as he was far too good to be directing traffic. She says she knew he’d never quit so she’s thankful that the decision was taken out of his hands. We can see by Gordon’s expression he doesn’t share her opinion.
Barbara’s reading a magazine in the communal cell at Arkham Asylum when Jerome comes over and introduces himself. He tells her that one of their fellow inmates Richard Sionis wants to be her friend, Kean responds that she’s not interested. Jerome tells her that a girl needs a friend at Arkham as the guards refuse to intercede. She then gets the attention of Aaron Helzinger, a gigantic bald man that looks like a wall with a face. She asks Aaron if he’d become her friend and protect her if someone tried to hurt her. He said of course and Barbara cooed and called him a cutie and thanked him. Jerome says she got a gorilla but Sionis runs Arkham and can get her what ever she wants, Barbara replies she wants a phone.
Gordon goes to see Penguin and says they need to talk, Cobblepot kicks out all his staff except for Selina Kyle, who apparently joined up with Penguin after Fish Mooney’s apparent demise. Jim says Penguin owes him a favor for saving him from Sal Maroni’s guys. Oswald says he thinks they’re even but he tells Gordon he’ll grant his favor. When Jim says Penguin doesn’t know what he wants, he responds that Gordon wants to be reinstated as a detective and Loeb to resign as Police Commissioner. Gordon tells him that’s indeed his wish and Penguin responds that he wants Jim to do him a favor in return and collect a debt. Jim refuses and wishes Penguin luck as he says goodbye.
Jim heads down to Harvey’s bar and soon he’s stinking drunk. He says screw the Penguin, Loeb and the GCPD and asks his former partner if he’s going to join him in a drink? Bullock says he’s been sober for 32-days, without the stress of the department he doesn’t need the booze. He tells Jim that he’s got a woman that doesn’t dislike him, a home and he sleeps well every night. Jim hugs him and tells him that’s great.
Gordon decides he needs to sober up and he decides to walk to Wayne Manor to accomplish that. By the time he reaches Bruce’s home he’s sober as a judge and asks Bruce and Alfred why they’re so dirty? He then tells Bruce that he got fired from the GCPD and so he can’t fulfill his promise to find the killer of Bruce’s parents. Alfred asks if there’s any way he can get reinstated and Jim says he could but it would mean becoming a collector for Penguin, an act he believes is morally wrong.
Bruce says that Gordon can fulfill his promise to Wayne and bring reform to the GCPD, but he refuses to take it as he’d be working for Penguin and that’s demeaning. Then he asks if Jim’s sure it’s not his pride standing in the way of the greater good? Alfred tries to stop Bruce, but Wayne says Gordon wouldn’t have walked there if he wanted Bruce to keep his thoughts to himself. Wayne says doing the right thing isn’t always pretty, but it’s necessary. The two shake hands and Alfred shows Gordon out.
Gordon heads to a night club that’s also the headquarters for the guy that owes Penguin money, Ogden Barker. Gordon enters Barker’s office and says he’s there to collect the debt owed to Penguin and Barker laughs in his face. Gordon says he’s not leaving without the money and Barker pulls out a gun and sticks it in Jim’s face, Gordon says he’s going to count to three and Barker and his henchmen start laughing. Jim grabs the gun then knocks out Barker and two of his goons telling the third guy to fill the bag he gives him with money. He runs out just as Barker recovers and he growls get him.
Gordon starts running on the street with the two goons in pursuit when they see some uniforms ahead of them and one of the guys yells stop thief, so the patrolman start chasing Gordon. However he gives them all the slip as he ducks into a parking garage. His troubles aren’t over as Barker steps out of the shadows and starts shooting at Jim, he misses but Gordon kills Barker with return fire. We see the anguish on his face but Gordon runs off.
Bruce’s frustration not getting the right password on the keypad, causes him to destroy it with a hammer. He then enters the library with a bag of fertilizer and some other objects. He tells Alfred he’s taking his own advice that doing the right thing isn’t always pretty and he’s going to build a bomb to blow the door off his father’s room. He says he’s building it with or without Alfred’s help, his guardian and butler tells Bruce that he’ll need another ten bags of fertilizer to do the job.
Gordon delivers the money to Penguin, who apologizes that things got messy and pledges that Gordon’s name will never be connected with Barker. Jim asks if Penguin knew Barker would react that way and Cobblepot responds that he had no idea things would go down the way they did. He then tells Gordon that his favor will soon get granted.
Jim heads back to his apartment with Lee and she sees something’s bothering him and asks if he’s alright and he responds he’s fine. His cellphone rings and he picks it up and Barbara’s on the other end. He asks her how she got use of a phone and she says the only thing that matters is they’re talking. She then tells Gordon there’s been a terrible mistake, she didn’t attack Lee, Lee attacked her and she’s insane. Jim growls don’t ever call me again and hangs up. Lee asks who it was and he says a salesman, which of course Lee realizes is a lie.
Then her landline rings and Jim tells her not to answer it because it’s Barbara, it goes to her answering machine and we hear Kean say hey girlfriend, sorry I missed you. I just want to wish you a painful death with you going out screaming. Jim says that she’s locked up in Arkham where she can’t cause them harm. Lee suggests they move away and start fresh in a new city and Jim replies he can’t, because he did a bad thing.
Loeb’s in bed asleep that night when he’s woken by noises downstairs. He enters his kitchen and he sees Victor Zsasz standing there, then suddenly we hear Penguin asks Loeb if he’s got any peanut-butter. Loeb asks what Cobblepot said and Penguin puts on the kitchen lights and again requests peanut-butter. The Commissioner shouts for his guards and Zsasz produces a disembodied head that he proceeds to use like a ventriloquist’s dummy. Zsasz moves the heads lips and says in a high squeaky voice Hi Boss, how about a bottle of beer. Penguin and Victor laugh as Zsasz throws the head into the kitchen sink.
Penguin tells the Commissioner as he makes him a peanut-butter sandwich, that usually he threatens his victims with unearthing scandals about them, but Loeb lacks any dirty-laundry. Penguin says that he knows that any threats of force would get ignored by Loeb so he’s just going to have Victor kill him. He says he needs some requests granted, but it will be far easier dealing with Loeb’s successor as Commissioner. Loeb asks Penguin what he wants and Penguin says he wants Gordon reinstated as a detective and Loeb says he’ll do it.
However Penguin says even if Loeb does reinstate Gordon, his hatred of the former detective would cause him to eventually fire him, so he’ll still have to kill him. Zsasz pulls out his gun and Penguin says, unless you’d resign as Commissioner.
Zaardon arrives at Arkham Asylum and he’s put into the same communal cell as Barbara, Jerome and company. He proclaims that he’s Zaardon Slayer Of Souls, but Sionis tells him to shut-up he’s telling a story. After a couple of minutes Zaardon interrupts the story and threatens the other inmates. He then collapses but as he hits the floor, a blue gas comes out of his mouth and knocks out the other inmates. Seconds later an explosion takes place at the other end of the hall and a young woman and a bunch of mercenaries, knock out the guards and grab the inmates.
They come to in another facility and they’re all strapped to large cement poles. One of the inmates asks where they are and Jerome says they’re out of Arkham so things are improving. Theo Galavan and the woman who broke them out of Arkham enter the room, he introduces himself and the woman as his sister Tabitha. He says he broke them out to form a super-band of criminal geniuses. Kean says she just has issues and Galavan says she has ferocity, beauty and desire, that’s all she needs.
Sionis tells Galavan that he wants no part of his plan and wants to be released, he says he’ll get Galavan a million dollars as soon as he hits the street. Galavan says he’s disappointed and the money means nothing to him. Galavan demands that he and Barbara get released and Galavan says oh you’re trouble we need to get rid of you. Tabitha releases the binds then produces a whip and strangles Sionis with it, then when she has him on the ground she slices him to pieces. Galavan asks if anyone else wants to leave.
The next scene’s at the retirement ceremony for Loeb and a men’s choir sing a song from The Sound Of Music. The spokesman takes the podium and says the Mayor couldn’t attend the ceremony but sent a friend in his place. He introduces businessman, scientist Theo Galavan. Galavan says that he’s an adopted son of the city, having recently moved there but he already feels Gotham City’s magic. He thanks the outgoing Commissioner and his replacement Commissioner Sarah Essen.
Essen goes up to Gordon and congratulates him for whatever he did to pull off his amazing feat. Lee congratulates them both then tells Essen that Gordon’s a determined man. Essen excuses herself to take a call and Lee says to Jim I hope this was worth it, Jim replies he does as well. Essen returns with some distressing news six inmates escaped from Arkham including Barbara Kean.
Alfred runs the fuse to the bomb out to the library, then fastens it to an ignition switch and asks Bruce if he’s certain this is what he wants. Bruce says he is and pushes the switch, the bomb knocks the door off it’s hinges and the two enter the room. We see a couple of computer monitors and keyboards covered in cobwebs, on one of the keyboards is a letter for Bruce from his father, that Thomas wrote shortly before he and his wife were shot to death.
He tells Bruce that if he’s reading this message that Thomas has died and Bruce figured out the code for the keypad was Bruce. He then says that his son’s responsible for the room, as Thomas became a better man after he became a father, Then he started to ask the tough questions.
He says he’ll dispense with fatherly advice, except to tell his son he can’t have happiness and the truth. That he’ll have to choose what path to take and he begs his son to choose happiness, unless Bruce feels a deep calling to pursue the truth. We then see Jim Gordon straightening his tie in the men’s room of the GCPD, ready to resume that calling within him.
The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 8:00 pm on FOX.