Review: Gotham – Season 2, Episode 20 “Unleashed”

This episode is named after a pet store.

unleashed_by_petco_sign_2013

That image is there because I didn’t want my entire review to read as follows:

Rocket launcher. Rocket launcher? Rocket launcher! ROCKET LAUNCHER. ROCKET. LAUNCHER. ROCKETLAUNCHERROCKETLAUNCHERROCKERLAUNCHER!!!

I get it, Gotham. I get it. I used to play GTA: Vice City. My sister and I would purposely get high want levels and go to one of those building where the cops can’t come up the stairs. Then we’d, as we called it, “go down in a blaze of glory” by taking a rocket launcher to every helicopter and cop car they sent after us. The only way out of a Blaze of Glory? Death. (Obviously.) I love that fucking game.

So I GET IT. There is no real reason not to give one of your characters a FUCKING ROCKET LAUNCHER WITH WHICH TO VANQUISH HIS ENEMIES. (Except that killing said enemy is literally pointless and doesn’t do anything story wise, but I’ll get to that later.)

This episode begins with Harvey Bullock speaking more words than he has the entire season while executing a search warrant on Hugo Strange’s office. They’ve come because Galavan’s body went to Arkham after Jim shot him 9000 times in the face. Except it went to Indian Hill. Which, according to the show, is now the same exact place as Arkham, just underneath it. “Wasn’t it a waste dump that was given away in a land grab in season one and then a secret facility-” YOU SHUT YOUR WHORE MOUTH! It’s Arkham Hill now!

When Harvey and Jim (who is for some reason still allowed to do cop shit without being an actual cop) go to Strange’s office, they find a bag of shredded paper sitting in the middle of the floor. Instead of actually searching the rest of the office or taking the bag of shredded documents, they leave. Without doing anything. They could have taken the bag of shredded paper and had some newbie cops spend hours taping those papers back together, which the newbies probably would have enjoyed because it would be several hours they wouldn’t have to worry about being gunned down in their hellmouth of a city. Unless all the shreds of papers were sentient and going to stand their ground with very tiny guns loaded with very tiny bullets.

Quick break to shout out Miss Peabody’s skull necklace/broach thing:

Screen shot 2016-05-12 at 8.01.57 PM

Turns out Ben Grimm didn’t meet his untimely end atop the roof of the GCPD. He’s unconscious and Bullock, the Greatest Character, has to act as chief in his stead. Give me more Harvey. MOAR!

Bullock and Harvey go to Butch’s house because they know Galavan’s sister (aka Sexy Plot Device) is there. How? Isn’t she wanted by the police for that “trying to kill Bruce Wayne” thing? Whatever, she’s there and they knew she was there and never did anything because they’re great cops. She’s in the middle of trying to run from her brother (WHO HAS NO IDEA WHERE SHE IS) but Jim and Harvey stop her. She info dumps on them about how her brother is now Azrael and he’ll need a new sword. That must be pretty hard to come by, right? Nope! It’s in her grandfather’s grave. Which is in Gotham.

Ok, let’s pause here and talk about this. Remember before the winter finale when Galavan became Mayor and he had a bunch of monks come over from Europe to help him kill Bruce Wayne? Remember how the Wayne family had exiled the Galavan family from Gotham because of some wandering dick issues? There was a cut off hand, and the contributions of Galavan’s family being erased, and them living like fugitives for hundreds of years because of this. Galavan was coming to Gotham to reclaim the city and his family’s honor. Apparently, none of that needed to happen BECAUSE HIS GRANDFATHER IS BURIED IN THE GOTHAM CEMETARY. With a shit ton of his other family members! You can’t claim that your family has been exiled from a city for centuries and have a guy who probably died a decade ago buried inside that city. That’s not how exile works!

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Galavan’s entire arc before the winter finale has lost any meaning. Galavan wanting to kill Bruce is now because one of Bruce’s relatives cut of the hand of one of Galavan’s relatives. And that’s the only reason!

Bullock, Jim, and Sexy Plot Device go to the family crypt where Galavan’s creepy grandfather’s body has been buried with his sword, like a knight. He lived during the era of televisions and the moon landing, but we all understand cosplay is a passion for some people so we don’t judge. Azrael shows up and is like, “YOINK!” He steals the sword and stabs Sexy Plot Device, but not before she reminds him that he wants to kill Bruce Wayne. I’ll let the AV Club take this one:

It’s actually baffling that Gotham feels the need to not only resurrect Galavan, but to then have him once again go after Bruce Wayne. “Unleashed” is nearly the same in structure and tone to “Rise Of The Villains: Worse Than A Crime,” meaning that the episode just feels like a coda that nobody wanted to a resolution we already received.

Exactly. We are right back where we started with Galavan and Bruce, including Gordon’s frantic race to save Bruce. Everyone heads straight for Wayne Room and the requisite fight between bad ass butler and Not-Batman goes down. Azrael follows Bruce to the garage, Bruce hits him with a car, Gordon shows up in the nick of time to shoot Azrael. And, finally, when all is lost, Penguin and Butch show up with a rocket launcher. How did they know where everyone was? Doesn’t matter!

THEY PUT BAD ROCK RIFFS BEHIND THE FOOTAGE OF GALAVAN GETTING BLOWN UP. It’s like every 90s commercial ever. “XTREME! :guitar riff: :EXPLOSION!: Buy SURGE and 3D Doritios!”

Obviously, this is the greatest thing that has ever happened on this show but it meant nothing. The AV Club also notes:

What’s more troubling though is that Gotham takes the time to bring Galavan back as Azrael, and then have his memory jogged by his sister, only to never have him confront the man who killed him. Gotham spent a lot of time in the first half of this season, and part of the second half, musing on how the city and the job has changed Jim Gordon. The second half of this season has seen Gordon locked up for the murder of Galavan, broken out of prison, then removed from the GCPD and, I guess, cleared of the charges against him. But this is where Gotham‘s haphazard approach to storytelling is really exposed. After spending so much time hammering home the idea that Gordon is some sort of anti-hero, that he perhaps crossed the line and would have to deal with those consequences and the blurred line between being a good guy and a bad guy, the show just cruises past the resurrection of Galavan without even having him come into conflict with Gordon.

This is supposed to be Jim’s show. We’re supposed to be focused on Jim Gordon struggling with the realities of being a cop in a corrupt city. He crossed a line and killed a man and when that man came back…nothing happened between them. We just wasted the back half of the season on Jim’s conflict over Galavan’s death, and it’s over in 3 seconds because someone brought a rocket launcher to a car fight.

Run, Selina, Run!
Bruce, who we can only assume is being driven around the city while Alfred holds his arm out the window hoping to make contact with a child’s face, forces Alfred to drop him off in an alley. Bruce has decided that he needs to ask Selina for help again. Selina, girl. RUN. No one loves BatCat more than I do. THEY ARE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER. But I just want to take this Selina and tell her to get out before he ruins her fucking life. I’m sad that the only thing this show kept from the comics is Bruce’s annoying tendency to only talk to Selina when he needs something (There are exceptions. See: Hush.)

Bruce finds Selina feeding Firefly’s birds, and he tells Selina that Strange has Bridget’s body. How, exactly, does Bruce know this? I don’t think Gordon knows this – why would he? He shouldn’t have any idea where Selina’s friend’s body was taken, and even if he did, he’d know it went to Indian Hill because her body getting rolled down a hallway was the viewer’s first introduction to this part of the show.

Selina breaks into Arkham through a ventilation shaft. Climbing through that same shaft is Ngyma, who is royally freaked out because of what he’s seen. He gives her directions to the creepy experiment rooms in the basement. When she gets there, she just happens to stumble into Firefly’s room. Strange watches as Firefly pulls the trigger on her flame thrower. I assume Selina has been roasted alive. RIP.

Additional things:

  • I’m glad Penguin is finally out of his death house. It was beginning to look like an episode of Horders in there
  • Penguin’s outfit was fly as fuck.
  • Killer Croc cameo! I wish he looked better and his eyes weren’t creepy CGI snake eyes.
  • We have two episodes left of the season and Fish Mooney hasn’t come back yet. Over/under on her being in the very last scene of the finale?

 

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