Okay Gotham. You had me at Azrael, as drawled out in that deep mellifluous voice of Jim Frain, but then Penguin turns up and he is so manifestly nuts, again, as is Barbara Kean and the black comedy just kept delivering in this episode.
Dr. Strange (BD Wong) reading from Alice in Wonderland:
“‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked. ‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: ‘We’re all mad here.'” Oh, yes. Yes, that will do nicely!”
Barbara (Erin Richards) maniacally clicking through the television channels with the remote and Butch admitting that Jim Gordon’s ex “scares me.” Followed up by Gilzean pronouncing that Kean is:
“Mad as a bag of squirrels.”
Kean then comes back from the kitchen, she is making gimlets, and with a mad-as-a-hatter gleam in her eye holds up a chopping knife and asks, “Do we have any limes?”
The comic quotient was huge in this episode, despite the somewhat downbeat end (?) of Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis). How disappointing if the straighter than straight head of GCPD punches out after Azrael/Galavan shoved a broken sword into his abdomen. Barnes was pretty amusing in this episode as well, with his awkward interaction with the young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). Barnes can be infuriating but he did try to be the voice of reason.
Cory Michael Smith, as Nygma, almost stole the show with his antics in the asylum. His “I manipulate” people “montage” was brilliant but overshadowed by the “Four Leaf Clover” montage of the former forensics specialist searching for that hidden passage. In terms of amusing bits of interaction, the Gordon/Nygma exchange was chuckle worthy as well.
“See you never Ed.”
(In fact the entire Arkham Asylum bit was funny. The cannibal doing a Daffy Duck riff, “Kill him now. Kill him now” was a lovely variation on the Looney Tunes gag, “Shoot him now. Shoot him now.”)
Ethel Peabody (Tonya Pinkins) , resplendent in her “Prince purple” lippy, telling Dr. Strange that she prefers Thorazine was also funny.
The fact that Strange is still so overjoyed with bringing back Theo Galavan and based upon Nygma’s caring and sharing routine, his providing the former mayor a great persona shows where the “mad scientist’s” brain is at.
The “Alice in Wonderland” reference does open up a wealth of ideas of just who this persona is for. Fish Mooney or someone else? Despite the fact it would fit Barbara Kean like a Victorian glove it cannot be her as she is out of Arkham.
Amusing moments aside, Barnes almost kicking Azrael’s butt was brilliant, even though it was most certainly going to end badly for the captain as he was so clearly outmatched. As annoying as the stick-in-the-mud head of police may be, he is a touch cookie and tries very hard to be on the side of right if Galavan kills him Barnes will be missed. In the scheme of things the captain is an old fashioned sort of cop and even though he can be infuriating the man earns major respect.
Bruce Wayne is moving ever closer to embracing his supremely messed up and dark side. The boy who one day becomes Batman is showing that the strain of his parents murder, the corruption in Gotham and his own thirst for vengeance is turning him into a caped crusader that Christopher Nolan would love.
On a sidenote here: Just how brilliant is it that Oswald keeps the body of his “step-mother” at the table, flies buzzing and foot rotting, this gesture shows how deep the Penguin has slipped back into his own brand of madness.
Honorable mention for comic moment of the show had to be when Galavan/Azrael falls/is shot off of, the roof and lands on the vehicle. The reporter in the front has the most delicious reaction to both the event and Galavan still being alive.
It is far too easy to assume that the next episode will have Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) going after his “old friend.” That should be the next sequence of events, although Azrael may be put on hold now that Nygma has found Dr. Strange’s secret laboratory.
Young Bruce Wayne may get more involved in the next episode sign he is slowly turning into the type of young man who will practice vigilante justice with no hesitation in a few years time. He definitely wants to zero in on Strange so a dry run or two may be in order.
Theological tempest in a Gotham-cup: Alfred (Sean Pertwee) with his line about no-one dying and then coming back from the dead may just cause an uproar amongst certain circles…Just saying…
This was one of the best episodes of the second season. With a few episodes to go, the season may get even better. “Gotham” airs Mondays on FOX; tune in now and catch the fun and games before the season wraps up.