Review: Gotham – Season 2, Episode 4 “The Strike Force”

Hello. I apologize for the tardiness of this review. I just…couldn’t.

Let’s get this shit over with, shall we?

Gordon and the Squad of Gordons
(Rob Bricken from io9 described the new hot cop squad as a bunch of Gordons. This is the most perfect way to describe them.)

We start this Gordon adventure with Ben Grimm, a.k.a. The Thing, wandering in from the Marvel Universe to break chairs and all around unfuck fucked up shit. He’s firing motherfuckers within his first 3 minutes on-screen – including someone named “Hightower.” Sadly, this is not a Gotham/Marvel/Police Academy crossover.

We all know that Michael Chiklis isn’t sticking around for the duration, correct? We’re all aware that he’s here for like 3 episodes before he a) dies, b) is revealed to be a Galavan double agent, or c) is revealed to be a Galavan double agent and then dying, right? (The correct answer is C.) Of course he’s a double agent. Walks into the precinct talking about how he’s gonna clean up this town and immediately makes Jim his second in command? I bet Galavan has someone close to him who knows this is exactly what Jim is hoping for, someone with blonde hair and grudge against her former boyfriend.

The next morning, Ben Grimm calls Leslie’s place looking for Jim. Jim is all, “OMG, HOW DID YOU KNOW I’D BE HERE? ARE YOU A WITCH????” and Ben Grimm is all “Uh, you guys make out in the middle of the station like once a day? Also, I’m working for Galavan and Barbara told me?” Gordon and Grimm go to the Police Academy and pick out a bunch of idealistic green cops to be on their Super Duper Kill Squad. Just give all these kids red shirts and break their phasers, they’ll be dead by mid-season.

(Hey – remember when Montoya and Crispin were set up to be allies for Jim and then they just disappeared with no explanation? The show doesn’t.)

Ben Grimm gives a “Hey, isn’t Broken Window policing AWESOME? I think so! KILL EVERYONE! YAY!!” speech to Gordon and the new cadets. They barely have time to digest it before they’re called away to protect the final mayoral candidate, who is being threatened by the Penguin/Galavan. Zsasz has been sent to kill the guy. There’s a shoot out and stuff, whatevs. No one dies, so.

Jim then goes to talk to Penguin about his role in the assassination. Penguin points out that Jim needs to be worried about that guy he killed in the pilot. You know, the guy it made no sense for Jim to go shake down for the Penguin? Now we know why he did it. Now he has a SECRET to hide from Ben Grimm. We all know what’ll happen if he finds out:

(He already knows.)

Back at headquarters, Ben Grimm has decided to go after the Penguin. Why? Because that means the person who knows Galavan blackmailed the Penguin into killing the other candidates is dead. The “Galavan is EVIL!!” thing is so transparent it’s boring. I wish Jerome was still alive.

Penguin
Penguin begins this episode surrounded by rejects from every post-apocalyptic sci-fi moved filmed in the last 20 years. They’re his “people” and he wants to know why these elaborately dressed morons didn’t know who orchestrated the break out at Arkham. But he doesn’t have to yell and break stuff for long because Convenient Lesbian Plot Device #1 shows up to take him to a meeting with Theo Galavan! Oh my, what could Theo, a very upstanding citizen of Gotham, possibly want with a MOB BOSS???

Pictured: Me, after dying from sarcastic shock 

Penguin meets with Galavan, where Lesbian Plot Device #1 and Lesbian Plot Device #2 titillate for titillation’s sake. It’s a shame that the moment Jerome exited stage left the writers forgot about Barbara. Here she is back to her old season 1, “I’ve got nothing to do this episode so I guess I’ll make out with this chick?” ways.

Galavan, a man who wanted everyone in Gotham to believe he was one of the good guys, immediately tells Penguin all about his evil plan to build giant towers in the middle of Gotham. His plan is about land and real estate, which he’s stolen from every villain in every Superman movie.

I MADE AN ISLAND!! (Why isn’t “Superman and the Terraformers” a comic book yet?) 

Galavan wants Penguin to kill all the mayoral candidates (except him!) so he can become powerful and win elections and zzzzzz……..

The only interesting/strange part here is that Penguin doesn’t want to do this. Which, given Penguin’s love of people owing him favors, MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE. Penguin doesn’t care about the people who will be displaced by those glass towers, he cares about power. He cares about his status and his ability to make money. Why wouldn’t he want the mayor of Gotham to owe him a favor? Why wouldn’t he want dirt on a very powerful man that he can later use for his own purposes?

And let’s be honest here. Those people who are going to be displaced by Galavan? They’ll eventually be displaced by one of Wayne Enterprises many “rebuilding” projects. Dude owns every fucking thing.

After Penguin says no, Galavan reveals that he has Penguin’s mother in an undisclosed location and he’ll kill her if Penguin doesn’t do what he wants. I hate this. There’s no reason for it.

Penguin goes to the lady candidate’s office and stabs her about a million times. Points for his jaunty hat. That’s style. Butch, who is quickly becoming my second favorite character (number one is Bullock) is asked why Penguin is stabbing the lady candidate. He says, “Darlin’, I’ve got no freakin’ idea. We’ve been doing crazy stuff all day long.” THIS IS THE THESIS STATEMENT OF GOTHAM.

Later, Butch has to tell Penguin that he can’t find his mother. Penguin reacts by throwing a bottle into a fireplace and screaming, which is exactly what the audience is doing after sitting through this episode.

Galavan the Pimp
After Galavan threatens Penguin’s mother, he’s off to run for mayor when he’s almost “shot” at a press conference. Then he decides to have dinner with Bruce. And here’s where it all goes fucking pear-shaped.

First – the way this show treats Bruce is insane. He’s not a king. He’s not an adult who can in any way help the people who constantly come running to him. He’s a fucking child! He can’t even vote yet! He can’t legally rent a car or buy beer! Every “adult coming to Bruce for X” scene feels awkward because the writers desperately want to put Kid Bruce into Adult Bruce situations and it never makes sense. Never.

Second – The set up is gross. Galavan has positioned Bruce so he “just happens” to see Manic Pixie Dream Silver playing in a fountain…while Galavan is talking about Bruce’s dead parents. Galavan then “notices” Bruce noticing Silver and immediately offers to introduce him to his niece. So Galavan is basically a child pimp. He’s offering Bruce a girl so she can “seduce” him into doing Galavan’s bidding. How do we know this? The preview at the end of the episode where a shadowy figure asks if Galavan has the Wayne boy yet.

Regardless, Bruce and Silver are13-YEARS-OLD. This set-up should not be a thing for either of them at this age. Again, the writers are putting Kid Bruce into Adult Bruce situations that make no sense and are completely inappropriate. If Silver has to be involved with Galavan and try to get Bruce onto his side, why can’t she just be instructed to make friends with Bruce at school (told to bond with him over their mutual “new kid” status, perhaps)? Why do either one of them have to be put into a romantic setup at such a young age?

Third – If Galavan really is Ra’s, is this a very white, very blonde Talia? As a friend pointed out, it is a Ra’s thing to do to offer up his daughter as a “prize” to whatever man he wants to do his bidding. However, I don’t think Galavan is Ra’s. I think he’s a member of the Court of Owls. Meaning Sliver, a classic Bruce Wayne love interest, is now a member of a shadow organization hell-bent on controlling Gotham. Like the kid doesn’t have enough problems.

Bruce, Selina, and that Crazy Motherfucker Who Lives in Bruce’s House
So, remember last week when I quoted Rob Bricken (again) saying the biggest threat to Bruce Wayne in the Gotham universe is his “asshole butler”? THAT WAS 100% SPOT FUCKING ON. In all my years of Bat fandom, I never ever thought I could dislike Alfred. ALFRED! The backbone of the Bat family!! Right now, I hate that motherfucker.

Prior to Bruce’s “Here, have a girl from my stable” dinner, he’s back at Gotham Academy per his promise to Alfred. As Alfred is waiting for Bruce to get out of school, Selina shows up to do really dumb jump acrobatics off a wall (acrobatics that are so bad the show is doing camera tricks and quick cuts so we don’t notice she didn’t really jump off the wall. Didn’t work.) Last episode, Bruce told Selina he missed her. She’s here because of that and she says hi to Alfred WHO THEN SLAPS HER RIGHT ACROSS THE FUCKING FACE, UNPROVOKED.

Selina, who is justifiably shocked, stands there with tears in her eyes while Alfred berates her. He tells her that he slapped her “for Reggie.” Reggie. The man who stabbed Alfred and left him for an already traumatized Bruce to find. Reggie, the guy who was stealing from Bruce and selling secrets to Bruce’s company so they could destroy a 13-year-old boy. The guy who Alfred was so pissed at he tried to get out of his hospital bed and kill himself. The guy who threatened to kill two children over losing a bag of heroin. Alfred slapped a girl over THAT GUY.

Look, I understand that Selina is a murderer . I did not agree (and still don’t) with the show’s choice to make her a murderer. But that doesn’t make it ok for a grown ass man to haul off and slap her in the face. (And can I just say how gross the “YEAH! HIT HER!” comments I’ve seen have been? She’s a fucking CHILD, guys. Not ok. EVER.) In addition to how not ok that was, having ALFRED of all characters hit her shows a complete lack of understanding for Alfred’s purpose in the Bat Universe. Alfred is, for all intents and purposes, Bruce’s father. He is the glue that holds the Bat Family together. He is a calm, stabilizing force in Bruce’s life. Is he an enabler of Bruce’s lifestyle? Yes. But he provides nurturing support and is the voice of reason for a man who would not have one otherwise. Alfred is the lighthouse in Bruce’s stormy night – without him, Bruce would truly be lost. Alfred (among others) keep Bruce grounded and prevents him from becoming what he fights against. When you make a character whose sole purpose is to be a stabilizer pointlessly violent and thoughtless, you remove a necessary ingredient in making Batman who and what he is.

Then Alfred tells Selina that Bruce hates her and she should go die or something, so Selina does some parkor and runs away. Selina is Bruce’s only friend his age and Alfred is totally ok with sending her away so this sad little boy remains isolated and alone.

After Selina leaves, Bruce walks through a cluster of three people instead of walking around them, showing he has a fundamental lack of understanding social situations. (MAYBE IF HE HAD SOME FRIENDS HIS OWN AGE WHO COULD TEACH HIM-OH WAIT.) Then Alfred makes him run 90 minutes home, which is totally great for someone who has never run that distance before. Bruce, RUN AWAY FROM THAT CRAZY MOTHERFUCKER BEFORE HE KILLS YOU.

(It also takes a lot of Bruce’s agency away from him if you make ALFRED the one responsible for his training. Batman should be all Bruce’s “idea” and his physical and mental training are a representation of his incredible will and seemingly unstoppable desire for justice.)

Back at school after meeting Silver, she comes over to him and is all “HI BRUCE! I HAVE TO BE NICE TO YOU BECAUSE MY UNCLE IS FORCING ME. PLEASE HELP ME. PERHAPS CALL THAT COP YOU KNOW?” and Bruce is all “I WISH I COULD BUT MY BUTLER IS AN INSANE CONTROLLING ASSHOLE. WHY DO YOU THINK I ONLY STAY IN ONE ROOM OF MY EIGHT MILLION ROOM HOUSE? TRULY, WE ARE DOOMED.”

Meanwhile, Selina is crying on a sidewalk because the writers have no idea what to do with her.

Nice Guy(tm) Riddler and Christmas Tree 
The less time I spend on this the better. As I mentioned before, the Riddler saved Ornament’s life so TV Rules dictate he should be awarded the vagina of his choice. Never mind that the woman attached to the vagina has been visibly uncomfortable every time she was near him last season – he wants her and the TV Gods are going to give her to him. She is not her own person, she is the Object he Desires, and since he now had CONFIDENCE (thanks to his Two-Face personality), she will forget how weird and scary he’s been for the rest of the show and fuck him. She’ll forget about how she noticed Nygma’s name encoded into the “goodbye” note written by her missing ex. She’ll even ignore him admitting to hearing voices and talking about how her missing boyfriend is dead (AND HE’S HAPPY ABOUT IT) because it’s time for him to receive THE PUSSY PRIZE!!!

I guess all I can say is at least he didn’t roofie her? I honest to god thought he was going to do that when I saw him making dinner.

Let’s call it now – he’ll (and by “he’ll” I mean his “confident” other self) will kill her by the fall finale. Sorry, Tinsel. You made the mistake of being an object of desire on a prime time TV show. Enjoy your violent and bloody death.

Final Thoughts 
I absolutely hated this episode. My fear that the show would revert to its nonsense wheel-spinning ways after killing off Jerome was 100% correct. A character I previously loved is now a child-slapping monster and two innocent children are being used in a situation way too adult for them.

I may stop watching this show.

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3 thoughts on “Review: Gotham – Season 2, Episode 4 “The Strike Force”

  1. I’ve really enjoyed your reviews for this show. I look forward to them every week. but I totally understand if you want to stop. This all sounds rather soul-destroying. Seriously WTF?

  2. I can’t grasp why you EVER watched the show. From the first photo of Street Selina it looked like utter trash. What’s wrong with you for staying this long? Do you like pain? Are you that obtuse that they were never going to do anything but play on your bat/cat love to hurt you? Well you’re part of the reason they got a second season, so I have no sympathy.

  3. Pingback: Review: Gotham – Season 2, Episode 6 “By Fire” | Last Ditch Effort

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