Martin Carr reviews the twentieth episode of Gotham season 2…
Even though I am over a week behind with Gotham it is moving so fast this barely seems to matter. Azrael or Galavan depending upon your point of view remains at large unleashing all types of trouble for all concerned. What James Frain gets to do before his final big sign off is incapacitate some more people, go bat shit crazy in chain mail and leave us with one memorable villain.
With Barnes on life support, Gordon still taking it upon himself to protect Bruce while young Wayne shrugs off the protection being offered, Gotham goes up another gear. There are now more villains running around the city than there are police to incarcerate them. Butch and Tabitha are no longer the domestically blissful couple, while Barbara seems to have disappeared into the ether.
Penguin meanwhile makes a brief but important return to things this week sporting a dapper demeanour and heavy artillery. B.D. Wong’s Hugo Strange continues being the puppet master releasing his creations upon a world where he considers they might do some good. There is little or no explanation of his motives and even fewer hints regarding those pulling his strings. But with break-ins, break-outs and more security breaches then one would expect from an asylum, Arkham is now becoming more familiar and somehow less frightening.
We have known for some time about Indian Hill but Nygma’s discovery felt less the revelation it should have been. While the top-secret facility itself is neither secret not particularly secure anymore. Elsewhere ‘Unleashed’ constituted nothing more than a combination of set pieces, where people were charging in somewhere, crawling along somewhere else and achieved little more than just maintaining momentum. These actors, including the new ones for season two, are now so adept that those set pieces felt somehow secondary.
Mckenzie, Logue, Pertwee, Lucas, Lord Taylor and Mazouz have breathed life into their respective incarnations grounding Gotham in a reality just slightly removed from our own. Arkham is still a flight of fantasy and Strange is definitely the mad scientist archetype with an undercurrent of sinister, but otherwise it remains business as usual. What I liked beyond the rocket launcher this week was Logue’s Bullock, who was forced into an acting captain role. There were elements of comedy amongst the crazy supplied by this fish out of water scenario that gave a much needed levity to the show.
As I said at the outset this reviewer has missed a step but Gotham will not be stopped. With ‘Unleashed’ they continue pushing the envelope, maintaining momentum and heading towards a cataclysmic season finale guaranteed to put season one to shame. Crack on is what I say.