TV Recap: Gotham, ‘Unleashed’


Unleashed Plot Summary:

With an unhinged Galavan (James Frain) on the loose, Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bullock (Donal Logue) tirelessly track him down, while Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) plots his revenge against the former mayor.  Bruce (David Mazouz) continues to obsess over catching Strange (BD Wong), and turns to Selina (Camren Bicondova) for help.  Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) attempts to escape Arkham Asylum.

Hugo Strange
Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/FOX

This was no doubt another uneven episode of Gotham as we approach the home stretch of season two.  There was a lot of underwhelming story beats, as well as plain old cliché writing.  Nygma uses a vent to try and escape?  Really?  Yeah, I can’t let that pass.  Even in the worst episodes of season one, Gotham always managed to infuse high points that singlehandedly saved the episode.  That’s exactly what happened here.  Despite a mixed bag all the way through, there were certain OMG moments that made this episode pretty damn memorable.

I’ve been mixed on the return of Theo Galavan so far.  While James Frain is doing a great job, Azrael has straddled the line between bad ass and goofy.  While clunky out of the gate, they finally found a villainous balance between crazy Galavan and calm, cool, collected Galavan.  By the end of the episode, I was on board, especially in how Galavan’s plan to kill Gordon takes a completely different turn.  While Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) has been pretty forgettable ever since the mid-season finale, she finally shares a gripping moment with her brother.

Speaking of Tabitha, Butch (Drew Powell) finally leaves the confines of his large dinner table and actually does stuff.  A lot of stuff.  One problem with Butch’s story though is a crucial “woe is me” scene between him and Tabitha, but their relationship was never that emphasized for us to really get into this.  Butch’s entire arc changes though once Oswald comes back into the picture.  Their reunion was pure gold, funny and twisted.  This was also a great episode for Oswald, who’s been stagnating the last couple weeks.  Him and Butch easily have the greatest moment of the episode, although the entire sequence was almost ruined by the damn music.  Seriously, what were they thinking with that score?  Come on!

Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/FOX
Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/FOX

Bruce and Selina showed a ton of potential early on, but it quasi falters.  It didn’t go in the direction I thought it was, as this demanded more Bruce/Selina scenes, which are always a treat.  Selina breaking into Arkham is a great idea on paper, but it plays out just okay, although her and Nygma do have a pretty funny meet up.  I already alluded to Nygma’s escape plan, and it was a total waste.  For someone who’s been written so well all season, for Nygma to merely climb a vent as an escape plan was utterly putrid.  It’s Nygma – do better!  So far, Nygma in Arkham hasn’t lived up to the hype, although I suspect next week could change all that.

While this episode had its ups and downs, the best part may have been the preview for next week.  Holy replacement eyeballs, there’s a lot going on!  While Gotham hasn’t faltered, I’m hoping for a strong finish to the season that lives up to many of the episodes we saw when the show was hitting its stride.  Despite its failings, this week still delivered some pretty cool moments, including a Rudy-esque pump up speech by Bullock.  It also had Alfred (Sean Pertwee) fighting, which automatically makes the episode worth while.

Rating: 7 out of 10 (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.