Reviews: Gotham S.2, Ep. 4 (“Strike Force”)

Posted: October 20, 2015 in Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , ,

WARNING: Spoilers ahead.

After the rather eventful episode “The Last Laugh” (a review of which you can read here), and with so many changes in the show, how can Gotham continue onwards with the same amount of energy and passion as before? Simple: it doesn’t. Rather, we see the characters and situations adapt to the new Gotham City left by the now deceased Jerome and press forward from there. Is this show still good with these new developments? Surprisingly, the answer is yes.

The Plot

After the death of Jerome, Penguin and the other crime lords gather to discuss who released the Maniax from Arkham Asylum. Quickly dismissing the idea that he released the inmates, Penguin then quickly takes control over all of the crime lords, demanding that any action be agreed upon by him first. Upon their departure, Tabitha enters the room, telling Penguin that Gotham’s new “hero”, Theo, wants to meet with him.

Image taken from superherohype.com

Switching to the GCPD, we find everything in chaos, with the station still a mess and officers fighting amongst each other (for some reason). How do they get themselves back into fighting shape? In comes Captain Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis), who quickly gets to work by weeding out crooked cops and establishing himself as the new boss. Barnes also has Gordon meet him in his office, where Gordon’s background helps him gain a new position as Barnes’ second in command. Both men agree to help take back Gotham City and to clean up the GCPD.

Meanwhile, Theo, who wishes to be in the running for mayor of Gotham, tells Penguin what he wants from the crime lord: to have all of the competition killed, so he can run for the position unopposed. Penguin initially refuses, although he changes his mind when Tabitha shows his mother chained up in an unknown location. To save his mother, Penguin accepts the task.

The next morning, Captain Barnes calls Gordon and tells him to meet at Gotham’s police academy, where the two will select a certain number of graduating cadets for a strike team to fight back against crime and corruption in the city. Having made their picks, the newly assembled strike team is placed under the command of Gordon, who is wary of the cadets’ abilities to handle the challenges the city will throw their way.

Meanwhile, Theo reveals to the press his intentions to become mayor after allowing one of Penguin’s hired thugs to “attempt” an assassination. Penguin himself then murders one of the other candidates. We then cut to Bruce Wayne, who, as promised, went back to school. Waiting for him is Alfred and (initially unknown to the butler) Selina, who is warned off by Alfred from attempting to interact with Bruce ever again. In tears, Selina agrees and departs. Bruce is then given running equipment by Alfred and told to run back to Wayne Manor, as part of his training.

Image taken from superherohype.com

Back at the GCPD, we see Edward Nygma talking with both himself and a skeleton while practicing asking out Kristen Kringle. Acting more boldly (perhaps due to the influence of his more confident personality?) Nygma asks Kringle to dinner, which is happily accepted. Gordon, Barnes, and the new strike team are then called on to investigate the murdered mayoral candidate, where her former staff manages to describe the Penguin well enough for Gordon to figure out his identity.

Cutting back to Bruce and Alfred, the two meet with Theo at a planned lunch (Bruce’s way of thanking Theo for saving him from Jerome previously). Theo takes the opportunity to introduce Bruce to his niece, Silver St. Cloud. Bruce quickly falls for Silver, who will be going to Bruce’s prep school in the near future. Switching over to Penguin, we see Victor Zsasz attempting to kill the second mayoral candidate before being run off by Gordon’s strike team. Meanwhile, Nygma’s date with Kringle goes smoothly, with the two of them even beginning to bond over the course of the night.

We then find Gordon confronting Penguin over his involvement with the attacks on the mayoral candidates. Penguin, in no mood to discuss the issues with Theo and his kidnapped mother, blackmails Gordon with his previous murder during the debt collection some time before. Not risking the confrontation at the moment, Gordon leaves, only to find out from Captain Barnes that the strike team is now being tasked with taking down Penguin’s empire.

Later, while Penguin has his men searching for his mother, Theo continues planning his eventual takeover of Gotham City.

Thoughts?

Even with the death of Jerome and the (expected) drop in quality, Gotham actually managed to continue onwards with a lot of vigor in this episode.

Even though I’m still not a fan of David Mazouz’s acting as Bruce Wayne, I did enjoy seeing Alfred start to train him, as well as hints towards future stories with his character (such as with the introduction of love interest Silver “is she really even his niece?” St. Cloud). Even Robin Lord Taylor’s usually praised acting as Penguin took a dive this time around, with a rather campy atmosphere about him every time he showed up on screen.

Image taken from superherohype.com

On top of the acting, we do have a couple of issues here and there throughout the episode. I especially love how, despite admitting to hearing voices in his head (and talking about a disappearance he claimed not to have been a part of), Nygma and Kringle still manage to form a romantic bond during their date. He’s clearly insane, so what gives Kringle? Maybe she’s insane too, I suppose, or will become the driving reason for his transformation into the Riddler. There was also the very convenient “conflicting interest” plot device of Gordon having to take down Penguin, despite Penguin’s leverage against him, tossed in at the very end, almost as if we couldn’t figure out that this was going to be an episode at some point.

Still, toss a lot of credit towards this episode. Michael Chiklis’ Captain Barnes was very well performed, and I’ll be glad to see him show up again in the future. The idea of Jerome and the Maniax forcing Gotham PD to gather young cadets to fight back is an interesting idea as well, considering the idea of escalation.

All in all, despite my concerns over “The Last Laugh”, I’m very happy to see Gotham doing as well as it did this time around, and I can’t wait for the next episode.

EPISODE GRADE: 7.5/10

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Comments
  1. ~Felicia~ says:

    Been loving this season!

    Like

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