Gotham Season Two: Episode 4

by Conner Fulton

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Episode 4 starts with Penguin yelling at his posse of punk-rock bureaucrats and trying to restore order in ‘his’ city. For some reason the idea of Penguin meeting Theo makes me nervous on Penguin’s behalf. In part because I like Penguin, in part because I don’t know what Theo wants, and in part because Galavant has the ability to kill main characters of any importance.

Then Michael Chiklis of all people busts in, fires half the police force for being corrupt and pretty much completely takes over. It’s unclear yet if he’s the saint that the GCPD needs or if he’s just an idealist. It’s apparent that he can be a bit overzealous, but I don’t think his character is about him, it’s about what he causes. It’s obvious that he isn’t abrasive enough to need to go, he’s just a tough cop with his heart in the right place and that’s about it. 

Theo reveals his huge plan. Delta City from Robocop. And he needs Penguin to do all the dirty work like eliminating politicians and tearing down residential areas. And like any good villain, he’s kidnapped Penguin’s mom. This is probably the one thing in the world that freaks Penguin out the most (other than, you know, killing his mom). It’s interesting how even when the Penguin is yelling in anger, he’s still fairly subdued.

So, Gordon and the Captain assemble a Strike Force of politically correct video game NPC’s, each distinguished by their unique skill (boxing, wrestling, marksmanship and intellect), ethnicity and reason for joining the GCPD. It’s so politically correct, all they need is a kid in a wheelchair and it will officially not belong on this show anymore.

Penguin and Butch are going on an extremely simple but absurdly effective crimewave assassinating political nominees and, other than the brutal murder, it’s surprisingly funny. Mainly because Butch is so out of it from his thorough Butch-dazing that he’s basically a goonish version of the Joker. He casually watches Penguin knife a woman to death while holding two people hostage and good-naturedly advises them to think about ‘Blue skies and cornfields’. Wait a minute… Jokes during homicide… Is in Gotham… MAKES JOKES!

In other news, Alfred smacks Selina and calls her ‘treacle’ then tells her to go away, so I now believe Alfred is my Spirit Animal. Bruce is going back to school and manages to crash into a group of nerds instead of the usual jocks (though since he goes to a prep school, it’d be the group of preps. Then again, he already dealt with the prep kids in Season 1). So his school career is off to a weird start.

Ed Nigma finally asks Kringle out. By which I mean he tells her they’re going on a date, which is probably the only reason she said yes (because she couldn’t not. Classy). Of course, because he’s the Riddler, Nigma manages to make Creme Brulee in as evil a way possible, like he’s Luke Riordan manufacturing poison. Their date goes surprisingly well (they KISS) despite him operating under the severe social handicap of being Edward Nigma.

Interesting how even the fancy buildings in Gotham are grungy and Victorian like if the Chernobyl incident happened in London during the 1800’s. It takes a lot of effort to be that stylish in such a grim way. SPEAKING OF STYLISH IN A GRIM WAY:

Victor Zsasz. I haven’t touched on Victor yet, despite the fact he’s so memorable. And that might be because even though he’s so memorable I always forget about him when he’s not on screen. He basically looks like Malcolm the Ice Cream Man. If you don’t know who that is, I won’t link a picture because he’s sort of creepy looking. He basically looks like a clone who popped out of the clone juice stuff early. You know, the vat of liquid clones come from?

He looks like a giant, man-proportioned baby. He looks like a human naked mole-rat wearing a ton of leather. He looks like Sir Ben Kingsley’s nephew dressing up as Sir Ben Kingsley for Halloween. He looks like if Mini-Me grew up. He looks like a plucked raven. He looks like a human tire. He looks like his name should be Sid. He looks like Donald Pleasance with Patrick Stewart’s Mr. Clean-looking youthening CGI from that one X-Men movie.. I should probably stop now, because I’m thinking about Zsasz way too much. I didn’t even need to look at a picture to know those are all true. His image is burned into my mind.  He’s a really interesting guy on looks alone, and this is before he gets the scars.

He basically acts like Agent 47 in a gunfight, both arms out straight with a pistol in each hand. He’s the most accurate person on the show and is extremely hard to hit, presumably because the bullets get creeped out when they get close to him. I should stop harshing on Zsasz because I really do like him. He’s funny and every time he shows up you’re just like ‘Oh snap’.
Any character with that much screen presence is automatically one of the best. And he’s no longer utterly panic-inducing, like he was in Season 1. Back then, he was always doing the unpleasant jobs, from torturing to assassinating likable characters. Now, he’s just killing people we don’t care about. Overall, this episode was really good. Gotham does a good job juggling a million subplots around and making sure they’re always interesting. There’s never a dull moment.

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