Gotham-Wrath-of-Villains-Frozen

A Legion of Horribles Plot:

Bruce (David Mazouz), Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Fox (Chris Chalk) devise a plan to infiltrate Arkham Asylum to save Selina (Camren Bicondova) and expose Hugo Strange (BD Wong) once and for all.  Strange perfects his revival technology with the full awakening of Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith).

If there wasn’t already an episode called “Arkham,” this would have been appropriately titled “Arkham Asylum.”  The crazies truly drove this week’s penultimate episode of season two.  Gotham is slowly inching its way back towards greatness, setting up for what I hope will be one hell of a finale.  Before we get there though, there’s business to attend too, most notably for Bruce Wayne.

As is usually the case these past few weeks, Bruce was one of the stronger parts to the episode.  We continue to see more and more of Batman in him, as Bruce takes on guilt after guilt with each passing moment.  With Selina Kyle trapped in Arkham, Bruce feels all but responsible.  Alfred (Sean Pertwee) certainly drives this point home.  Geez, Alfred, cut the kid a break!  Whether it’s the movies, video games, comics or this show, you can never have enough great Bruce/Alfred scenes, and we surely get another one here.  I love how Alfred has finally embraced who Bruce Wayne is.  It’s time to stop the charade of treating him like a kid.  Bruce is going to do what he’s going to do, and Alfred reluctantly accepts.  It’s the first time we really see Alfred come to terms that Bruce is just like his father, constantly putting his life at risk.  This is a point Hugo Strange also drives home.

The highlight of the episode was no doubt the exchange between Bruce and Strange.  Throughout the entire season, Strange has had the upper hand on every character.  While this remains the case with Bruce, he still underestimates him, and even grows to respect him.  While Strange has been a fantastic villain, this moment really added dimension to the character, in particular his thoughts on both Thomas and Bruce Wayne.  It’s a great foreshadow to how Strange will view Batman, and more proof of how much care these writers have for the source material.

Aside from the character development, Strange really was in all his glory.  He had control over everyone.  Even when they introduce some big new villains, you think Strange’s days might be numbered, yet he’s still able to dominate the situation.  One of the sloppier aspects was Fox’s plan to infiltrate Arkahm.  This was doomed from the start.  The more power you have, the harder you fall, and I have no doubt Strange is in for a rude awakening in the season finale, but I’m curious to see who does him in.

Speaking of people Strange has admiration for, how about Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith)?  That was nice of Strange to give good ole Eddie a chance to screw over Strange’s enemies.  Nygma has been done so well this season, but his time at Arkham has been very vanilla.  I’m sad to say it didn’t get much better here.  There was nothing Riddler here, just a loud speaker and a cliché ultimatum.  Where’s the creativity we saw when he framed Jim Gordon?  I’m hoping for one more great Nygma moment before the season closes out.  The Selina storyline was also completely forgettable, considering Bridgit/Firefly (Michelle Veintimilla) was so rich and tragic earlier this season.  Weak.

While Nygma and Firefly disappointed, we had some other villains who picked up the slack.  That’s right, not one, but TWO huge villain introductions.  They’ve certainly stayed true to the “Wrath of the Villains” mantra till the very end.  I’m mixed on one of the villains, as it’s so recent, relative to comic book terms.  The other baddie though was epic, and something I had no idea they would be able to pull off!  Let’s just say it comes in at the end, and it’s one hell of a way to close out the episode.  Yikes.

This was another up and down episode, but the ups were damn good.  Bullock (Donal Logue) was a delight as the disgruntled police captain.  What gave me real joy though was seeing Bruce, Alfred, Gordon and Fox sitting together in one room, as they were the four core characters in all three Dark Knight movies.  That was pretty cool.  I guess I should talk about Fish Mooney’s return.  I always loved the character from season one, and have no problem with her being back.  Aside from one big reveal, she didn’t do much, but I’m certainly intrigued.  Intrigued is the word I’d use to describe my feelings towards next week’s season finale.  I have no idea where this is going, but I’m expecting one hell of a ride.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (Very Good)

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.