Gotham: Rise of the Villains 2.01 – “Damned if You Do…”

Gotham is back… Er, excuse me, Gotham: Rise of the Villains is now back on your television, touting a new season-long theme. If you haven’t guessed, it’s all about the villains, now. Thinking back though, Season One was riddled with a variety of over-the-top, crazed villains – as many as a different one every episode. So, I’m not really sure what is going to happen this season. Are there going to be villains exploding all over the place? All joking aside, Gotham still has lots of things to work out, but the Season Two premiere starts on a good note!

Last year, Gotham was still trying to find it’s footing. Was it going to be campy? Gritty? Over-the-top? Or a combination of all of these things? It still needs to decide. It can’t be campy, yet gritty and realistic because that just doesn’t mesh.

***** SPOILERS BELOW *****

Anyways, when we return to this twisted city, Oswald “The Penguin” Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) has become the “King” of the Gotham underworld after dropping Fish (Jada Pinkett Smith) to her watery death. Good cop Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) was demoted to a basic cop with intentions of going after the crooked commissioner. Oh, he also is trying to enjoy life with newish girlfriend, Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin). Jim’s former partner, Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), has quit the force to bartend. Jim’s ex-girlfriend, Barbara (Erin Richards), went crazy after killing her parents and now is locked up in Arkham Asylum. And young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) has discovered a secret tunnel in his house. What could that be?

PenguinBruceTime has passed in the premiere, but not much has changed. Somehow everyone in the city is listening to/scared of the Penguin. He even gets goody two-shoes Jim Gordon to do a bad deed for him in return for getting Commissioner Loeb to “retire.” Unfortunately for Robin Lord Taylor/The Penguin, he is no longer the interesting, fun character we loved in Season One. The show is so inundated with crazy villainous characters now, he doesn’t really stand out anymore. Also, it doesn’t help that he has already risen all the way to the top of the mob scene. Where else can he go? He has nothing else to do, no one else to conspire against, which is disappointing.

TheoThe show brings full camp in Arkham Asylum, where the “patients” mingle amongst each other in gaudy black and white striped uniforms. Barbara manipulates many of the men and makes a friend in Jerome (Cameron Monaghan), the jokery killer from Season One. He is great, over-the-top and fun. More of him, please!

They are all able to break out of Arkham with the help of a mysterious man named Theo Galavan (a creepy James Frain). Theo and his silent, stabby sister, Tabitha (Jessica Lucas), want to make a “gang” of crazy bad guys to take over Gotham, which is totally original, ya know. But, he also has a hand in the police force. There is more to this “Theo” than we know.

CATOh, and as for some of the other characters, little Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) is working for Penguin for some reason and Ed Ngyma (Cory Michael Scott) is becoming more insane by the second, talking to himself in the mirror at an alarming rate. More fun to come from him, for sure…

Bruce

Almost forgot about little Brucey. After months of trying the combination lock on the door to the underground tunnel, he makes a bomb (yes, that’s right) and blows up the door. What a pointless waste of time! Inside, he finds a sentimental note from his father, but it contains one harsh truth: “You have to choose between happiness and the truth.” Jeez, that’s not fun. I don’t know how Alfred (Sean Pertwee) deals with the humorless, French-speaking, bomb-making incessant twat that is Bruce. I guess I should make it known that I strongly dislike children who act like adults, and young Bruce is at the top of the list. Bruce also reminds us that Jim never solved his parents murders. I almost forgot about that!

JimOverall, Season Two is off to a not too shabby start. The show still needs to decide what it wants to be. Hopefully, this season, it will truly be more serial and less episodic in nature. Only time will tell, but we can hope. I’m still rooting for the show.

What about you guys? What did you think of the premiere? Are you hoping for more villains and more craziness? Let me know in the comments below!

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Post Author: Ben Fleck