Review: Gotham – Season 2, Episode 19 “Azrael”

It’s finally happened. After almost two seasons, this wannabe Batman show finally has a Batman! He’s not called Batman, he’s called Azrael, but he jumps from rooftop to rooftop and swirls his cape dramatically, so it’s the same thing. We did it, guys! WE. DID. IT!!

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The AV Club gave this episode a B+. The AV Club is wrong.

The episode starts with Galavan smearing his blood all over the walls like its feces and talking about not remembering who he is. I appreciate that he’s bringing a new dimension to the super strong resurrected zombie. “Brains….BRAINS!” is hack at this point. “WHO AM I?” is the alt comedy of the undead world.

Strange’s Gala-boner is interrupted by one Jim Gordon, who is glowering and brooding in Strange’s office. He accuses Strange of being behind a bunch of shit, and while he is, Jim actually doesn’t have any evidence that Strange is behind anything. All he has is a hazy story from a dead dino hand girl and a picture of Strange and Thomas Wayne. That’s not Confront You In Your Office Because I Know You Are Guilty! proof. He does have visual evidence that the costume department did a terrible job getting all the beard glue off BD Wong’s face:

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Gordon is like “I KNOW YOU ARE BEHIND WHATEVER THING I’M ANGRY ABOUT THIS EPISODE!!” Strange is all, “I’m going to graft a half knife/half bone shark fin onto Galavan’s head, mount him in giant slingshot, and shoot him into your face until you die. (PS – do you have any glue remover?)”

Jim leaves the office and wanders by Nygma. Like every single character who has been sent to Arkham, he’s king of the inmates. Barbara formed a gang, Penguin eventually won people over, and now Nygma is making friends and influencing people. Why are our villains the only ones who are both mentally ill and savvy? Nygma overhears Strange plotting the fin to the face slingshot death for Jim and offers his assistance. “I also like to stab people in the face!” he says. Strange is like, “There are only so many people allowed on my stabbing team, and we’re already filled up. Maybe if someone drops out.” Nygma babbles on about stories, which, ok. This should have been presented to Strange as a riddle, because this is exactly the instance you should have the Riddler using a riddle, but instead, he just gives Strange an idea about imprinting Zombie Galavan with a new identity. Peabody liked the stabbing plan better.

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Strange then asks Zombie Galavan to become Azrael and stab a guy with a sword. In what is a genuinely funny moment, Strange says “Everything you need is in this case.” Instead of opening the case, Galavan hits a guy in the head with it. I laughed.

Back at Wayne Room, Bruce has been standing in front of his fireplace staring at the picture of his dad and Hugo Strange since what I can only assume is last episode. He is still, like a sleeping bat. Or a dead bat. Whichever bat is more still, that is the one he’s most like.

He wants to know why no one has arrested Strange for ordering his parents’ murder, and Harvey has to point out to him that they don’t actually have any evidence. He also calls Bruce “hoss,” which is more proof that Harvey Bullock is this show’s MVP.

Bruce, who has been hanging around Gordon too long, wants to know why Gordon gives two fucks about evidence. He never cared before! He’s the one running around threatening people in their offices with nothing but the sense that if he believes it it must be true, so why hasn’t he arrested Strange or shot him in the face? Jim tells Bruce that he can’t just kill people, and Bruce says, “I beg to differ.” Then he shoots Jim pointblank in the face. Harvey is all, “WHAT THE FUCK, HOSS BRO?” and Bruce is all, “I only kill anyone who doesn’t have a mother named Martha.”

Jim’s dead body goes to talk to Commissioner Ben Grimm, who is holding a press conference in front of 4 dead bodies (like you do.) Bruce is there, too, because why not? The show actually sidelines Bullock from this point on, and writes Bruce as Jim’s partner. It is both infuriating and nonsensical. I’ve said it before, but I hate how this show continually wants to give Bruce adult stories. If you want him involved in police business and embroiled in love triangles, do what Young Justice did and jump ahead a few years. Stop with the “he’s a kid but he’s still in the commissioner’s office and at the heart of all the police action!” crap.

Jim tries to convince Ben Grimm that he should allow Jim, who is no longer a cop, to arrest Strange with no evidence. Before any of that can happen, Azrael Batmans his way onto the screen. He emerges from the shadows, he jumps up walls, he seems otherworldly. The camera spends a lot of time focusing on Bruce’s face as he watches Azrael for the first time and you can practically hear him thinking “I KNOW WHAT I WANT TO BE WHEN I GROW UP!!!”

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They finally send Bruce home to watch TV and Ben Grimm locks Jim in a cell because Azrael has decided he wants to kill Jim. If Ben Grimm locked Jim in a cell every time someone threatened to kill him, Gotham would be nothing but hour-long episodes of Jim Gordon reading magazines behind bars. Of course, Azrael finds Jim and participates in that time-honored Gotham tradition of killing every cop that isn’t Jim. Ben Grimm lures Azrael to the roof where he fights him without yelling “IT’S CLOBBERING TIME!”

Ben Grimm gets stabbed and dies while Jim crouches over his body asking if he can be commissioner now.

An unmasked Azrael falls off a building in front of TV crews, completely erasing the “Gordon killed Galavan” problem. He’s “alive,” so now Jim doesn’t have to worry about any consequences for killing a man in cold blood. Let’s pause for a moment to recognize that everything happening right now is Jim Gordon’s fault. If Jim hadn’t killed Galavan, Strange would never have taken his body. Had Jim never taken Nora Fries to Arkham, Strange wouldn’t have seen Freeze’s weapon in action, leading Strange to steal not only Freeze’s body but his reanimation serum as well, which he used on Galavan. Thanks a lot, Jim. You are one of the reasons Gotham is a fucking hellhole.

Jim leaves the police station and we’re treated to a shot of Azrael standing atop a bridge, staring down. He then takes his cape and swoops it in front of the camera. BATMAN AZRAEL IS HERE, GOTHAM VIEWER! REJOICE! (Or don’t.)

We also get Penguin living with a dead woman’s body and Barbara, who was seemingly sane last episode, changing the channels on the TV like a lunatic. Everyone sees Galavan on TV.

Next week: Bruce steals a car because he’s a REBEL!

 

 

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