Gotham: Mr Freeze – BD Wong and an Order of Fries (Review)

Gotham: Mr. Freeze brings Bruno Heller’s prequel-verse back with BD Wong and and order of fries…or two.

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Gotham: Mr. Freeze brings Bruno Heller’s prequel-verse back with BD Wong and and order of fries…or two.  Of course that means little if one has not seen the episode and watched Harvey Bullock lording it over Jim Gordon for mispronouncing Mr. Freeze’s real name.

Bullock: “Oh, uh, one more thing. What’s the correct pronunciation of your last name?”

Nora: “It’s Fries.”

Bullock: “Fries. Thank you.”

To Gordon (both smug and accusatory): “Told you.”

The storyline of Nora and Victor Fries is sad, tragic and horrific.  It is easy to feel a mixture of emotions when Victor heads to the pharmacy to get pills for his wife only to be met by the kind of pharmacist that deserves to be frozen into a giant douche-cicle.  One can  feel empathy for a man who cares desperately for his wife plus a certain satisfaction that the  nasty bloke at counter has no idea who he is dealing with really deserved his fate.

In the pharmacy scene Freeze, after throwing the medicine bottle at the pharmacist, quotes the Terminator:

“I’ll be back.”

Of course, just as James Cameron’s villain in the 1984 film does, Fries returns to dispense death. While not on the same scale  as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character does in the film, Mr. Freeze goes on to deliver his lethalness with extreme prejudice. He also mentions that his two victims can help to save his wife.

After Fries leaves the pharmacy with the frozen stiffs in the back of his blue van,  James Gordon and Harvey Bullock give chase.  Leaving the frozen “sidekick” in the middle of the road causes an accident. The two detectives smash into the corpse-cicle and while the main body smashes into lots of little pieces,  part of the deceased smashes into the windshield, giving new meaning to the phrase “heads up.”

Penguin is caught by Barnes and after being questioned by the chief, Cobblepot backs up Gordon’s version of events in relation to Galavan’s death.  Nygma promises to look after Oswald’s mother’s grave and the “King of Gotham” is escorted to Arkham Asylum.

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Cobblepot’s face says it all…

In terms of “yuck” factor Victor’s experiment with the one victim who horrifically melts into a running conglomeration of brownish-red fluid and bone wins as most visceral and disturbing death yet. Even more upsetting than a drunken Butch getting his arm chopped off by Cobblepot. Although, the poor inmate that claws his eyes out may be more horrific the sight is more gory than yucky.

Drew Powell’s drill-handed Butch, aka the new King of Gotham, and his pairing up with the beautiful but deadly Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas) is deliciously perfect, as was that imagery of his spinning drill with her knife forcing it slowly down.  

Just as perfect was BD Wong‘s pairing with Miss Peabody (played by Tonya Pinkins who is currently a much nicer character on another fantasy show) as was his pronouncement that Penguin suffers from megalomania and an “unhealthy” relationship with his mother. 

The big reveal was that Mr. Freeze’s experiment worked, at the end, and that Hugo Strange is rather surprised and a little displeased  that someone else got his failed cryogenics program to work.

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James Gordon (Ben McKenzie)

 

Observation of the Episode: 

In the scene where Jim Gordon waits anxiously for Chief Barnes to speak after questioning Oswald Cobblepot, McKenzie’s character looks incredibly like an older Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). Whether it is the expression on Gordon’s face or the framing of the shot, the grown man looks amazingly like Wayne. It makes one wonder if this were entirely coincidental…

Final Verdict:

A splendid start to the “back-end” of season two. Deliciously ironic, wry, tragic and, in the case of the Fries’ story, sweet. After all, who wouldn’t go around freezing total strangers if their wife was Kristen Hager and she could look like that while dying a horrid death.  Major kudos to BD Wong who is killing it as Dr. Hugo Strange and he’s not even wearing a dress. 

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in.

Gotham: Worse Than a Crime (Review)

Aw Gotham. How do I love thee? Worse than a Crime was season two’s most epic episode with everything being nigh-on perfect in every way. From the lovely twist(s) in relation to the Bruce Wayne and Silver St Cloud storyline, to the Sam Peckinpah “walk” where this Wild Bunch are made up of an army of shotguns versus four.

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Aw Gotham. How do I love thee? Worse than a Crime was season two’s most epic episode to date with everything being nigh-on perfect in every way.  From the lovely twist(s) in relation to the Bruce Wayne and Silver St Cloud storyline, to the Sam Peckinpah “walk” where this “Wild Bunch” are made up of an army of shotguns versus four.  Granted, it stood to reason that young Master Wayne was not going to die, Bruno Heller would not go that far, but the episode practically sang a pitch-perfect tale of madness and comedy.

Sean Pertwee, as Alfred got the lion’s share of the comedic moments.

  1. Hiding in the freezer only to have a ton of additional rubbish dumped on the lid after escaping Tabby and her henchmen, “Oh bloody hell…”
  2. Apologizing to the driver he has just pulled out of the car that Alfred wishes to commandeer only to be tased in the  puss by one of GCPD’s finest.
  3. Interrupting Penguin’s diatribe about how Galavan must die:  “Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit. Can we just stop the “Bunny” and get in there chaps?”

*Sidenote* In English (as in the Queen’s English) to “Rabbit on” is to talk too much or too long. It is also the name of a song by Chas and Dave (1981) titled “Rabbit” about a girlfriend who talks too much…

Nygma, played with such maniacal panache by Cory Michael Smith, also has his fair share of amusing moments. The duet he sings with Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor)  with that smile and later when he tells Lee “Is your lover-man alive? Go to Grundy. 805.” In every instance, in this episode, Smith exudes a clear delight in his schizophrenic madness whenever he is on screen that is just so compelling. All the more so in his later scenes with Bullock and Fox.

Stand out moments:

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Lee: “Don’t speak.”

Lee arguing with her “lover-man” in front of Penguin and his evil minion:

Lee: “You’re on the run from the law. You want to attack the mayor with the help of a depraved sociopath. That’s not crazy?

Penguin: “I can hear you.”

Lee: :Shh! Don’t speak.” 

Tabitha “owning” Theo. Not once, but twice.

Young Bruce Wayne “owning” Silver.  It is obvious that Alfred clearly underestimated his young charge’s abilities dramatically when he warned the boy that he was not able to deal with Silver’s deceptive qualities. The kid is a “playa…”

Speaking of the ladies who are loyal to young Wayne, Cat’s helping to get the gang into Galavan’s lair was also special, that look she drops Alfred…

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Her look says it all…

Last, but not least, the shot of Galavan’s lifeless body being “unwrapped” by Ms, Peabody with Penguin’s umbrella shoved halfway down Theo’s throat.

While singing the praises of this particular Gotham storyline finale,  mad props go to director Jeffrey G. Hunt who “got it in one.” It also needs to be pointed out that despite Bruno Heller’s need to play fast and loose with the Batman verse, pre the caped crusader, there was no real suspense in the episode. Bruce Wayne was not going to die, nor was Alfred…although it was  bit iffy there for a little while.

Thoughts:

May Michael Chiklis’ character not wake up from Penguin’s perfectly timed bash in the head. Captain Barnes is getting old very fast, like the dinosaur he so resembles the new captain needs to be retired…yesterday.

Who is doing Morena Baccarin‘s makeup?? Was there a conscious decision to make her look like a younger Teri Hatcher? Morena is a gorgeous actress who does need to be remade into an “escapee from Desperate Housewives” lookalike.

Kudos on allowing Harvey Bullock the punch line of the episode. The gag; all the good guys and bad ones, having to take what looks like an eternal staircase up to save Bruce Wayne from being executed by the mad monks of Dumas.  Partway up, Bullock stops, breathing heavily and says he catch up.

After all the monks have been killed, or shot, the head chap leaps toward Gordon and is shot mid-leap by Bullock (Donal Logue) who has just arrived in the room. With a slight grin, Bullock says:

“That was a lot of stairs.”

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Harvey gets the punch line…

Bravo to Heller, the writers and the cast for killing it in this episode.  How can one not adore Ben MacKenzie’s Jim Gordon? At the end of the episode, before the umbrella reveal, Gordon is sitting on a bench with his paramour and in the least romantic way possible asks Lee to marry him. She smiles, but does not answer…

Does the dark man who shot Galavan, allowed Penguin to beat his mother’s murderer to a pulp with a baseball bat and teamed up with gangsters to save Bruce Wayne really think Lee will say yes?

Thinking about it, he probably does.  Heller and MacKenzie have given us a pre-role model that could have given a grown up Bruce Wayne lessons in being dark,  torn and twisted inside while fighting for justice.  One last observation/question: Did anyone else break out in goosebumps when Mr. Freeze showed up at the end?

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in for the madness and near perfection with an unforgettable cast of characters.

Gotham: The Son of Gotham – Cliffhanger (Review)

Gotham: The Son of Gotham, apart from its cliffhanger type ending, feels almost like a “coming of age” episode.

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Gotham: The Son of Gotham, apart from its cliffhanger type ending, feels almost like a “coming of age” episode where young Bruce Wayne learns about deception from Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) and Silver St Cloud (Natalie Alyn Lind). In many ways, with all those dangling plot threads, this would have been a brilliant mid-season finale.  With so many main characters in peril, along with the suggestion of looming death to a couple, it will be hard to wait for a week to see what has happened to who. 

By the time the end credits roll: Bruce is surprised by a gloating Galavan, Alfred is missing after having his clock cleaned pretty thoroughly by a shaken Tabby, Penguin saves a beaten and bloody Jim Gordon only to begin beating the semiconscious cop to learn the whereabouts of Theo.

It has to be said, Theo and Tabby have turned out to be very hard on the honest denizens of Gotham. While sis got a surprise when the butler turned out to be an almost deadly handful, it was Gordon who got the biggest jolt when her brother almost effortlessly beat the detective to a pulp.

Another revelation in Son of Gotham is that Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis) is actually a bit of a neanderthal.  An anachronism who may want to “clean up the city” but who is ultimately ill equipped to do so. Granted it has been shown that the man has an old fashioned approach but his snide remarks at Gordon’s rather impressive vocabulary, speaks volumes about the new captain’s intelligence level and attitude.

The monks of St Dumas have moved to the fore and started their campaign to clean up the city aka, reek vengeance for Theo.  It is interesting to note that the numbers of their sacrifices are made up of the criminal fraternity rather than the city’s hierarchy.  This episode had some very pleasing stand out moments.

Bruce’s playing of Theo’s littlest player, Silver was brilliant. Guest star Tommy Flanagan (Gladiator, Sin City) was spot on as the menacing thug, named Tom,  who threatens to cut off fingers until he learns what Wayne wants to know. This whole piece was perfect as throughout the entire interaction, the viewer keeps trying to figure out who really hired Tom to slice and dice his victims.

The reveal, that  the knife wielding threat was paid by Wayne and is an associate of Selina’s was priceless. As the crocodile tears dried on Silver’s face, Kyle repays St Cloud for her nastiness earlier in the season.  The scene also shows young Bruce Wayne taking those first steps to becoming the flawed hero later when he is older and more capable of fighting the criminals of Gotham.

The battle between Alfred (Sean Pertwee) and Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) was impressively choreographed and highlighted the more pragmatic, and brutal, Pennyworth who is able to dish out the punishment to those who jeopardize his charge regardless of race, creed or gender. Unfortunately despite marking Galavan’s sister, she ultimately gains the upper hand as Alfred has underestimated his opponent’s madness and homicidal capabilities. 

On a sidenote, Alfred continues to underestimate Bruce (David Mazouz) and his abilities.  Although this most likely has more to do with his not understanding the boy’s deep issues and need for revenge. 

In terms of amusement, the uneasy alliance between Penguin and Nygma continues to provide chuckles although Nygma’s scene with Dr Thompkins was suitably tense. Jim Gordon’s girlfriend is unable to sense the madness beneath Nygma’s barely controlled facade and it makes for a suspenseful interaction between the future Riddler and GCPD’s M.E.

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Silver shows her inner Cyndi Lauper and shows her “True Colors.”

The wounded monk scene managed to give enough information to Gordon to worry him and this was followed by Alfred bitting off more than he could chew.

*Sidenote* Alfred, as played by Sean Pertwee, is a delight. Unfortunately, since Pertwee has made career out of dying, usually in quite horrific ways, on screen, the sight of the actor laying in the back of a garbage truck with a knife in his back and bleeding from other Tabby induced wounds, was disturbing.  Sure, Alfred Pennyworth is a major character, but as Bruno Heller tends to play rather loosely with the Gotham verse, one can easily imaging this “Alfred” dying and Bruce hiring an English replacement with the proviso that the new butler also be called Alfred Pennyworth. Wayne is, after all, a Billionaire with a few screws maligned after this parents murder. Only more episodes will reveal whether Pertwee manages to live after his encounter with Ms. Galavan.

The bit where Theo does his “super-villain” speech, revealing what his plans are, who he really is, yada, yada, works well.  While it is a bit cliched and stereotypical, as well as overly obvious as a bit of necessary exposition, it is acceptable.

In the business of the Penguin and Nygma/Riddler “partnership” a less obvious act looks to set up some major discord between the two villains.  Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) has serious issues with Nygma’s keeping Kris Kringle’s specs. Later, when Cobblepot learns that Theo Galavan has been released, the “King of Gotham” crushes the late Ms. Kringle’s glasses with a convulsive clenching of his fist. 

Oops. This may prove to be the undoing of the new partnership as Edward has proven that his “crazy” is much more potent that Oswald’s.

It is now apparent that “The Son of Gotham” is Bruce Wayne and with Alfred “out of the picture,” Jim Gordon beaten to a bloody mess and Galavan with the upper hand, the future Batman is going to have an interesting next few episodes.  In the meantime, viewers may want to prepare for the “death” of this Alfred…

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Alfred (Sean Pertwee) fleeing the deadly Tabby…

Gotham airs Mondays on Fox. Tune in and catch up.

Gotham: Mommy’s Little Monster – Two Become One (Review)

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So, in Gotham’s latest episode, Mommy’s Little Monster, it turns out that Butch has indeed been cured and Nygma proves that two can become one, all it took was taking Ms. Kringle out of the equation. Before looking at the episode overall,  a short pause (and a tear or two) may be in order for poor old deluded Gertrude Kapelput (played by the legendary performer Carol Kane).  

Can there be a dry eye in the house after Penguin’s mother was reunited with her boy only to die at the hand of Tabitha Galavan? Speaking of Tabitha (Jessica Lucas), who’s a clever girl then? Not just a homicidal maniac with S&M tendencies and a gorgeous visage but someone well versed in breaking down brainwashed muscle, in the form of Butch (Drew Powell).

 Who knew?

Theo did and while he has a sister and a niece who “have his back,”  the trio have a bad habit of making enemies of all the wrong people. Silver St. Cloud (Natalie Alyn Lind) may brag to her uncle that Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) is wrapped around her little finger, but pissing off Selina Kyle, like Theo’s poorly thought out murder of Penguin’s mom, is going to bite someone in the butt sooner or later.

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This episode was the  highlight of Gotham’s second season. Butch almost getting whacked by Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) with Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock standing  the hitman, and his crew, off with giant machine-guns, hundreds of Penguin lookalikes attempting to create enough of a diversion that the real deal could kill Theo, Tabitha taking out another Strike Force team member with her high heel  and, last but not least, the transformation of Mr. Nygma into The Riddler.

Cory Michael Smith as Nygma gives a great performance that is not out of place  with the over the top theme and action of this episode.   Bruno Heller threw everything into this one. Selina and Silver “duking it out” (verbally) with Kyle losing round one by being too blunt with Bruce and that smug grin from St. Cloud, who clearly knows that Selina is watching…

A real “heart stopping” moment occurs when Dr. Thompkins enters her office to discover Nygma standing over the woman he murdered.  It does really look like Morena Baccarin as Leslie Thompkins was about to be checked out of the show. On a sidenote, the eyes of the deceased Kringle, were very impressive and disturbing;  opaque and blindly staring, younger viewers may just have nightmares…

Previous to finding the body, by following his  own “?” clues, Nygma’s  struggling to find Kris Kringle’s body,  that his “other half” hid,  was brilliantly done. All accompanied by some great music (Closer to the Bone by Louis Prima & Sam Butera & The Witnesses) The lady fingers gag in the vending machine was priceless. All of the events in the GCPD led to the split personality becoming one when The Riddler tells his other self some home truths.  By the time the end credits roll a new villain is born.

Jim Gordon proves, yet again, that he cannot be bought. While he and Harvey have to save the new mayor from Penguin, the first “crusader” declares war on Galavan. Gordon figures out what Butch did not say, that Theo killed poor old addled Gertrude and that the bit of information that  Oswald imparted before his escape means that Galavan is not a good guy after all.

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Selina upsets Bruce with her warning about Silver.

The two men are now adversaries and both men have made it clear that the gloves are now off. Gotham’s ending belongs to Nygma, however, and his transformation into The Riddler. The man has now become the truly insane murderer who will plague a grown Bruce Wayne later.

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in and join the OTT fun and chaos.

 

 

Gotham: By Fire – Killing Kris Kringle (Review)

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Things just took  a grim turn in Gotham. By Fire was an episode that turned out to be a bit rough on the female members of the juvenile criminal community.  Things also turned deadly for another female character who probably should have thought before freaking out in front of Mr. Nygma. Before the end credits roll things are very bleak and a particular bird-man is getting ready to take his troops out to rescue mommy.

Bruno Heller once agains teases us with his tendency to usher in characters that appear to be related to the DC Gotham verse. A female firefly was introduced and then, seemingly, discarded almost as quickly as Jerome “The Joker.” Although Bridgit Pike is not dead, the gender swap firefly has been sent to Indian Hill, a Wayne Enterprise facility where invasive testing, aka torture, of “monsters” is the rule of the day.

Poor Pike has been abused not just by her arsonist “family” but by Gotham’s finest as well. The kid looked to be ready to take on all those who bully and threaten the helpless only to get caught by Captain Barnes and the GCPD who wanted payback for the death of new Strike Force member Garrett.

The storyline for Pike (Michelle Veintimilla) was good. An abused and downtrodden girl whose adoptive family are a group of fire-bugs that bully her into submission. A little taste of power transforms the shy and awkward child into a homicidal human flame thrower.  Turns out the kid likes the power of the fire and the fear it induces and death it deals by her hand. 

Kudos to Veintimilla who pulls off the switch from timid victim to vengeful fire-starter effortlessly.  Her expressions give the viewer her thoughts and feelings, just as that one eye tells us that Firefly is terrified as she is being wheeled into Indian Hills.  This poor kid just cannot get a break. Just as she starts a little well-deserved payback to all those bullies, she is incarcerated with a fire proof body and destroyed visage.

Jim Gordon learns that his alliance with Captain Barnes is going to be an uncomfortable one. Barnes (Michael Chiklis) is a “black and white” cop. There is no grey in his view of the law, but as Gordon tells his new boss, “This is Gotham” if one were to look up grey in the dictionary, there would be a picture of the city in the definition.

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Cat tries to save her friend Bridgit.

Selena Kyle (Camren Bicondova) goes off the deep end when her friend Bridgit is kidnapped by her brothers. Getting tooled up she is approached by Gordon who promises her that if she lets the GCPD take care of things the girl will be protected. Sadly, Jim has made a promise he cannot keep, Barnes does not honor grey pledges. 

When the Strike Force head down to the meat market where Firefly is torching the owner/auctioneer and releasing the caged female captives, things go wrong. A stray shot, an angry youngster with fire at her disposal and an exploding police car means that Jim’s promise to Cat cannot be kept, even without Barnes’ insistence that Gordon was out of line.

The female Firefly goes up in flames and later Gordon will tell Kyle that the girl is not expected to “make it.” Selena swears off making friends with cops and this  presumably pushes her over the edge into full villainy. Bicondova kills it in her scenes with Bridgit and her slow tears in the scene with Ben MacKenzie as Gordon was an emotionally underplayed powerhouse performance.

As expected, Mr. Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) blows it pretty spectacularly with Kristen Kringle and he ends up killing the woman, even as he swears his love for her.  This was a doomed relationship from the start, Nygma was too socially inept to carry on a relationship with anyone, let alone the woman he killed for.  This was heavy in the irony department and one felt sorry for Kringle, who really was  a bad judge of character all around.

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Chelsea Spack as Kristen Kringle, sic transit Kris mundi…

Kringle really was an odd one, seems her admission to Lee (Morena Baccarin) that she really liked a bit of rough, was not true after all. Once Ed confesses he murdered the abusive cop Dougherty poor Kris freaks out, despite that fact that she and Nygma just had sex in his bed.  Cue one short exit for the woman who had very poor taste in men.

Butch manages to get into the employ of Galavan and becomes the plaything of Tabitha and Barbara. Later, sporting a mallet for a right hand, Butch is caught looking for Penguin’s mother. After being punished by Tabitha, the “Tiger Lady” locks him up. Gilzean (Drew Powellescapes and reveals where Gertrude Kapelput is being held and Penguin rounds up his troops for a rescue.

One does wonder if Butch has been turned by Theo’s sister as the big man stands in front of the fireplace while Penguin ratchets a shell into his shotgun and gestures for his men to go.  By the end of the episode, before we see poor Bridgit being wheeled into a room surrounded by screaming “monsters” and  the city of Gotham is full of some very unhappy people. Selena and Nygma (who is cradling the women he just murdered, screaming) are two characters whose destinies have been shaped by this episode.

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in and catch the murder, madness and mayhem that Bruno Heller delivers on a regular basis. See just how Nygma’s killing of Kris Kringle turns out for the city and its denizens.