TV Recap: Gotham: The Rise of Villains, ‘Tonight’s the Night’

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Tonight’s the Night Plot:

Galavan (James Frain) unleashes Barbara (Erin Richards) against Gordon (Ben McKenzie) to distract him while he makes his final push to obtain Wayne Enterprises, while Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) attempts to cover up Kringle’s death.

This week’s Gotham was somewhat of a rarity as it focused on only two main storylines, and even those were very connected.  Oh, and we also have Ed dressed as Sherlock Holmes having a picnic with his dead girlfriend, but we’ll get to that.  This week was all about crazy ol’ Barbara.  She’s been on the sidelines the last few weeks, but this episode certainly made up for that.  If we’re going to talk about “Tonight’s the Night,” it begins and ends with everyone’s favorite nut ball.

Photo Credit: Nicole Rivelli/FOX.
Photo Credit: Nicole Rivelli/FOX.

Yes, this was Erin Richards’ time to shine, as crazy Barbara is unleashed in her all glory.  While still used as a puppet by Galavan, this was finally her opportunity to settle the score with Gordon.  For the most part, this lived up to expectations, albeit some anti-climactic moments at the end.  The problem is they built it up so well from the very first scene, a trippy dream sequence.  Richards did it all in this episode.  She was diabolical, scathing, vulnerable and even heartbreaking, all the makings of a great villain.  She even does some Joker-esque moves by exposing her enemy to their greatest weakness.

That brings us to Jim Gordon, who definitely got some big character moments in this one.  Gordon’s biggest flaws are bad decision making when obsessing over catching a suspect, and Barbara.  Both were on display here, and even Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) starts to stress over their relationship.  Although to be fair, Barbara trying to kill her may have put her on edge.  Baccarin is great as always, and her back and forth with Barbara is a pleasure to watch.  While a couple missteps here and there, watching Barbara’s kooky master plan play out felt right at home in the world of Batman.

Speaking of Batman, this was also a big episode for Bruce (David Mazouz).  Galavan as the ultimate snake oil salesman was on full display, bringing us a tense scene between Galavan and Bruce.  You really felt for Bruce here, as Galavan tries to bully this kid around and con him like a carnival game.  Alfred (Sean Pertwee) certainly felt for him.  In yet another powerful moment between the two, Bruce completely breaks down.  While Alfred is always the rock in giving Bruce the best advice possible, even he doesn’t have the heart to stop him from making an obvious bad decision.  The writers are really nailing the Bruce/Alfred relationship this season.

Photo Credit: Nicole Rivelli/FOX.
Photo Credit: Nicole Rivelli/FOX.

The only other minor storyline was Nygma trying to hide Kringle’s body in the woods, but it kept getting interrupted.  This was okay, but nothing real compelling here until the end, although I predicted that outcome based on the coverage I’ve read previously for the show, so this was somewhat spoiled for me.

If for nothing else, this episode definitely pushed the storyline much further, as some pretty significant happenings took place in the last ten minutes.  I’m also very curious to see what Barbara does next, as she’s kind of in limbo after this week.  Aside from the Gordon/Barbara conflict, I also loved the animosity between Bullock (Donal Logue) and Barnes (Michael Chiklis), which made for some hilarious Bullock lines, but that’s par for the course for Harvey.

Rating: 8 out of 10 (Great)

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Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.
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Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow’s fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.