Gotham knows you were frustrated with season one. Gotham knows you might have even given up on it at some point during its freshman outing. But Gotham is trying its damnedest to win you back with season two. And so far, it’s working.
Monday night’s premiere episode, “Damned If You Do,…” completely course-corrected the entire series in just one hour. Gone is the tired procedural element that weighed down the DC Comics series last year. In its place is a heavy emphasis on the villains who captured our interest during their brief stints onscreen, like “Jerome” aka the ginger sociopath who is almost definitely the Joker even though the show still refuses to admit that point-blank. Even Barbara, who had the dullest, most cringeworthy arc last season, has new life as she completely leans in to her murderous, psychopathic tendencies in Arkham Asylum. Who would have thought that Barbara of all people would become one of the best, juiciest roles on Gotham?! Certainly not this girl.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s start at the beginning of the hour, where we quickly learned that both Gordon and Bullock have been demoted to traffic cops after going after Commissioner Loeb, although Bullock quit right away to work in a bar. The dirty, corrupt Loeb wanted Gordon to quit too but ended up taking his badge after Gordon shoved another cop in anger. That whole mess led Gordon to decide to work outside of the law to clean up the city…and so he headed straight to his “friend” Penguin for help in taking out Loeb now that Penguin is comfortably in charge of the criminal underworld of Gotham. He’s even got Selina working for him.
But the Penguin wouldn’t just do Gordon’s dirty work for free. He wanted a favor in return for getting the Commissioner fired, but Gordon refused—homeboy won’t stoop that low. Instead, he met up with Bullock at his new bar to drown his sorrows with his old partner, but Bullock’s 32 days sober, dating a good woman, and happy with civilian life. Could Gordon live that way too?
Gordon continued his apology tour all the way to Wayne Manor to let Bruce know he’s sorry for being unable to keep his promise and find his parents’ killer. But Bruce made Gordon realize that he’s only refused to do a favor for Penguin because of his own personal ego. He’d be sacrificing the greater good for vanity. “Sometimes the right way is also the ugly way,” Bruce explained. Wait, how old is this kid?!
That questionably wise advice ultimately propelled Jim to do the “ugly” thing: steal the money owed to Penguin from a nightclub owner. But when the club owner followed him, guns blazing, Gordon ended up killing the dude. Gordon has officially gone dark!
In return, Penguin kept up his end of the bargain and invaded Commissioner Loeb’s house, striking a bargain with him. Cut to: a ceremony honoring the Commissioner as he stepped down, with Gordon even getting his badge back. All’s well that ends well? Expect that murder to bite Gordon in the ass somewhere down the line, though, because there’s no way he’s going to get away with it.
Now with Gordon back where he’s supposed to be, we turn to his crazy ex Barbara, who’s now exactly where she’s supposed to be: Arkham Asylum. As soon as she settled in to her new home, Jerome approached her, telling her to make a friend for her own safety, like the billionaire who murdered 25 people “just for fun.” According to Jerome, he runs the place and can get Barbara anything she could want—like a phone. We don’t know exactly what Barbara did in return for the phone, but you can use your imagination and come up with a few unsavory options. The reason she wanted a phone so badly? So she could prank call Gordon and his new girlfriend Lee just to torment them. What is her end game?
Whatever it is, it’s about to be put into motion. New villains Theo and Tabitha Galavan invaded the asylum, breaking out six inmates including Barbara and Jerome and her new billionaire “friend.” The Galavans aspire to create a team involving the insane criminals, but when Barbara’s billionaire “friend” didn’t agree to work together, Theo had Tabitha brutally murder him. What a way to inspire team bonding, huh?
As if that wasn’t enough villainy for ya, back at the GCPD, Edward Nygma has gone full-on Riddler. With his schizophrenia at an all-time high, and his darker, more evil half still interested in one Miss Kristen Kringle? All we can say is: Uh oh.
With all the villains on the rise, it’s a good thing Bruce is one step closer to reaching his true potential as the Batman. When he couldn’t get into his dad’s secret room via a code, he takes a hammer to the keypad, ultimately deciding to build a bomb and blow it open. With Alfred’s help, they finally got into the cave below the mansion. Yes, that cave. It’s all happening!
In the end, Bruce found a letter left for him by his father in The Cave, warning him that in life he can’t have both happiness and the truth. We all know what choice Bruce ends up making, and based on the last shot of the premiere of Gordon staring at his scowling reflection in the mirror, we know what choice he ends up making too.
“Dark days are coming” indeed.
What did you think of the season two premiere? Are you back on board with Gotham now that it’s darker and focusing on the villains? Hit the comments below to weigh in now.
Image Credit: Fox