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Gotham - Unleashed - Review

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“Unleashed” by “Gotham” this week is an entertaining episode that picks up the pace of the overarching plotline as the show speeds towards the season finale.

With Captain Barnes still in critical condition after last week’s attack, Gordon and Bullock are leading the search for Azrael. Their first stop is Arkham Asylum, but as always, Dr. Strange is a few steps ahead of them, having given his office a thorough “spring cleaning” and reminding a fuming Gordon that he doesn’t have to answer his questions given – as Gordon has no problem acknowledging when it suits him – he’s not a cop anymore. Here again let me say how much I love B.D. Wong as Strange, how much I enjoy the dry snark and/or withering scorn that drips from his dialogue, and how sad I’ll be if he doesn’t survive to see next season. Ditto Tonya Pinkins as Ms. Peabody.

Anyway, Bullock brainstorms that Tabitha Galavan is their next best lead and they catch up to her just as she’s trying to flee the city, clearly terrified that her brother will come after her for betraying him (and sidebar – I wonder what happened to Silver St. Cloud. Since Tabitha turned on Theo to protect her, I’m surprised we never saw her in the back half of the season). It takes some prodding, but Tabitha fills them in on the history of Azrael and the Order of Dumas. She also reveals that the allegedly real Sword of Sin is buried with one of her ancestors, conveniently in a Gotham crypt. It’s there they are all again ambushed by Azrael. For some reason, Tabitha tries to get through to Theo, but all she does is stir up a memory of his original mission – kill Bruce Wayne. She also gets stabbed in the stomach for her troubles.

Not long afterwards, Azrael barrels his way into Wayne Manor and one of the best fight sequences of the season commences. The sword-swinging brawl between Azrael and Alfred is really cool and well-choreographed. Bruce also gets a great moment when he plows a car into his adversary. But in the end, it takes the intervention of Gordon, then the Penguin and Butch (more on that team-up in a bit) to put Theo Galavan in the ground once and for all.

With Galavan’s second death, I’ll take one last opportunity to moan about what a mistake it was that the show had Gordon kill him the first time. Gordon never felt bad about it, he wasn’t punished for it, nobody really turned their back on him because of it, and worst of all, he didn’t learn any kind of lesson about his temper or his violent tendencies. And with Galavan’s resurrection and subsequent demise, it’s all been rendered moot. Having Gordon cross that line, in my opinion, ended up doing more damage to the character than the middling narrative mileage the series got out of it was worth.

Moving on, the subplot this week ties tightly into the main story. Early in the episode, Bruce – apparently tired of trusting Gordon to come through for him – heads into the city to see Selina. There’s no apology for how coldly he treated her the last time they saw each other, only a request that she help him break into Arkham Asylum so he can dig up some dirt on Dr. Strange. To further incentivize her, he reveals (and I don’t know how he could possible know this) that her friend Bridgit was sent to Arkham and that it’s possible she’s still alive. This sparks Selina into action and she agrees, although she insists it’s safer if she goes alone.

Shimming her way into Arkham via the air ducts, Selina bumps into Edward Nygma trying to get out and amusing greetings are exchanged (“Forensics guy?” “Street trash girl?”). Clearly horrified by what he saw down in Indian Hill, Edward is desperate to escape and Selina agrees to show him the way if he tells her how to get into the basement (I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet, but it’s so silly that the secret elevator door has an old-fashioned lock that can easily be picked). Their deal doesn’t end well for either of them. Edward is easily recaptured by the guards. And Selina ends up in even direr straits when she comes face-to-face with Bridgit. Because Bridgit doesn’t recognize her own name, is decked out in a fancy new Firefly suit, and, as the episode ends, seems poised to roast Selina like a marshmallow.

To wrap up, I must confess that I think Butch is now my favorite character. He’s always been good for a hilarious one-liner and he has a great one here when he gets exasperated about people barging into his headquarters. Also, despite their relationship developing mostly off-screen, Drew Powell is excellent in the scene where Butch visits a comatose Tabitha and talks about how much she means to him. And finally, goaded into action by the Penguin, he’s the one who takes down Azrael, by blowing him apart with a freakin’ rocket launcher. Awesome!

I’ve “Unleashed” my thoughts about this week’s “Gotham.” Now it’s time to tell me what you thought. So please come share in the comments section.

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