Gotham, Season 2 Episode 1 Review: “Rise of the Villains: Damned If You Do…”

(Beware, spoilers below!)

Gotham wastes no time in picking back up where the show left off. At Wayne Manor Bruce and Alfred go exploring in his father’s underground tunnel, but a passcode lock ensures that they can’t go any further. One month on, Harvey is working in a bank, Jim is a traffic cop, the Penguin is ruling the city and Barbara’s entering the Asylum. In a tower in the city z man called Zaardon drinks some liquid from a chalice and tries to kill some people, but Jim easily ends the situation.

Jim ends up being dismissed from the force by Loeb, but not before encountering Ed, who when alone ends up talking to himself. At night when Zaardon sleeps, a burp releases a cloud of blue gas… After Leslie comforts Jim in their apartment. In the Asylum Barbara and Jerome talk for the first time, and she wants a telephone.

In the Penguin’s house Jim goes to speak to his ‘old friend’ to get Loeb fired. In return, Penguin wants Jim to do a favour for him, but Jim refuses. Whilst Selina might have the trust of Penguin, she’s still trying to move up in the world. Jim goes to the bar to talk to Harvey, who claims he’s happy with his new life, but he needs to go to talk to Bruce to apologise for not being able to keep his promise. Bruce calls Jim out on being unwilling to do a deal with Penguin in order to get his old job back. We find out that Bruce has still been struggling to get into his fathers’ vault, and in frustration he smashes the pin pad.

Come nighttime Jim is out running his errand for Penguin, and he ends up not only getting the money, but killing the crook. In the morning Bruce decides to make a bomb to blow up the door, much to Alfred’s chagrin. Barbara manages to call Jim and then leaves a threatening message for Leslie. She asks him to come away with her, but he tells her he can’t. In the dead of night Penguin and Zsasz show up in Loeb’s house.

In a ceremony the next night Loeb is still alive in well, and we find out that he’s managed to get Loeb to step down. In Arkham Zaardon ends shows up, and when he collapses to release more blue gas he manages to break out six more inmates. The inmates wake up in the house of the newest rich philanthropist to hit town, Theo Galvan. He wants to create a team to make Gotham tremble, and he’s prepared to kill anyone who doesn’t comply.

In Wayne Manor Bruce and Alfred finally break into the vault using the bomb, and they discover a letter from Thomas Wayne to his son. He tells Bruce that he can’t have both happiness and the truth, and pleads with Bruce to choose the latter unless he feels a true calling.

With Gotham throwing us back into the cut and thrust of the action, it’s clear that in the intervening hiatus the show writers have managed to iron out some kinks that were grating before. No more Fish, mad Barbara instead of annoying Barbara, and Jim does something that can have serious repercussions down the line. Whilst there still seems to be some inconsistencies in the show, here’s hoping that with move around of some of the key players and the introduction of some new ones Gotham is able to move forward.

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