While one villain rises, another must fall on Gotham.
Season two has been all about the “Rise of the Villains,” but that doesn’t seem to apply to all villains. Theo Galavan staked his claim on the city of Gotham, both as its new mayor and the new king of the underworld, while setting Penguin up for failure. And we all know that if Penguin goes down, he’s taking Jim Gordon down with him.
“Rise of the Villains: Strike Force” began with Penguin addressing his henchmen, frustrated that he still doesn’t know who broke the Maniax out of Arkham Asylum—and he’s pissed that his cronies don’t know anything either. The Maniax are hurting the Penguin’s carefully organized crime web and he hates how he doesn’t know who their benefactor is. He doesn’t want chaos, and he wants to know about everything before it happens. But Tabitha crashes his meeting, and lets him know Theo wants to meet with him … alone. This can’t be good for anyone.
During their meeting, Penguin saw Barbara in Theo’s home, and put all the pieces together: Theo orchestrated the Arkham breakout, the GCPD massacre, and the Maniax. He also learned that Theo wants to tear down thousands of residential homes to build the new Gotham, and Theo wants Penguin to do the dirty work for him. He also wanted Penguin to kill his fellow mayoral nominees and to pretend to attack him as well—although he would of course survive the attack. Penguin at first said no, until he saw that Theo and Tabitha were holding his mother hostage. That’s his Achilles heel! And just like that, Penguin lost control over everything.
At the GCPD, Captain Nathaniel Barnes (welcome to Gotham, Michael Chiklis!), made a strong first impression on day one at his new job. He threw down the proverbial gauntlet: getting the GCPD in line, firing all the dirty cops, and starting fresh—essentially letting everyone know that if you turn a blind eye to crime, not only will you get fired, you’ll go to jail. During a one-on-one with Gordon, Barnes made the young Gordon his second-in-command. And just like that, a new bromance is a-brewing with a fellow army man! Bullock clearly doesn’t like where this is heading (do we detect a hint of jealousy?), but Gordon’s all for it.
Barnes next had Gordon meet him at the police academy bright and early (after a sunrise call to Lee’s home) to handpick cadets who haven’t graduated yet—a.k.a. haven’t had their spirit or hope crushed by any precinct and/or been bought by criminals and dirty politicians—in order to to create a new strike force, Unit Alpha (ed by Gordon) as an answer to the rising villainy in Gotham. Naturally, Gordon had his concerns.
All of which were on display during a press conference where Theo was “attacked” by an assassin while announcing his bid for mayor out of mock anger, all while Penguin took out the other nominees. Gordon figured out pretty quickly that Penguin was behind the attacks and intervened with his new strike force, wounding Victor Zsasz in the process. (Raise your hand if you laughed at Zsasz’s “Unexpected!” line after getting shot.)
Over at Bruce’s school, Alfred noticed Selina waiting for him and went a bit mental. He actually slapped her (!) for killing his friend Reggie and told her to stay away from Bruce while she held back tears. A little harsh, don’t you think?! Bruce ran home shortly after to meet with Theo, thanking him in person for saving his life. Theo then introduced Bruce to his ward Silver St. Cloud, his late step-brother’s daughter, and a new young romance was born. Who wants to bet that was Theo’s intention all along? Yikes.
Down at the GCPD, Nygma finally worked up the courage to ask out Kristen Kringle and she actually said yes—mainly because his Riddler side won out and she could see his new confidence shining through. He cooked dinner for her at his place, and after apologizing for being mean, she accidentally lets it slip that he’s glad her ex is dead. Only problem? Kristen only thought her ex had left town. She also caught him talking to himself, but even with all that creepiness, he was somehow able to turn it around (boy’s got moves, y’all) and the two end up kissing. Another new romance is born!
Later, when Gordon confronted Penguin alone, Penguin pulled out the whole “I did favors for Gordon and Gordon did favors for me” card over the detective’s head as a clear threat: if the GCPD tries to arrest Penguin, he will expose all of Jim’s dark secrets, including that murder he committed. Not a good sign for Gordon, given Barnes’ first mission for the strike force is to build a case strong enough to take down Penguin. Things are about to get real complicated.
What did you think of “Rise of the Villains: Strike Force?” Is Gordon about to go over the edge to do something about Penguin before he can expose all his secrets? Did Alfred go over the line with Selina? How much is the city of Gotham screwed now that Theo is the only mayoral candidate?! Hit the comments section below to weigh in now!
Gotham airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Fox.