As the second season of Gotham comes to a close, so does the “Wrath of the Villains” storyline. We were introduced to a new rogue gallery of bad guys from DC Comics including Mr. Freeze, Firefly, Azrael, (the real) Edward Nygma, Clayface, and of course Hugo Strange. We also got to revisit some season one bag guys as well including Oswald Cobblepot and the reintroduction of Fish Mooney. Some episodes hit their marks, some didn’t. The season helped close the door on the Indian Hill/Arkham Asylum storyline with a bang and definitely opened the door for season three.
Continuing from last week, we begin this episode of Gotham with Gordon, Bruce, and Lucius Fox took captive in Arkham. Gordon is imprisoned by Hugo Strange while Bruce and Lucius have to answer Edward Nygma’s riddles or die. Strange’s torture is different that Nygma’s is. Strange, having ever the God-Complex drugs Gordon and tries to mind control him to get some answers. During his drug-induced interrogation, Strange questions Gordon about his past, his guilt, and even his love life. BD Wong has been superb this season. Meanwhile, Nygma is having “riddles of death” that Bruce and Lucius must answer. It’s actually very reminiscent of the “Riddles in the Dark” scene from The Hobbit, with stakes just as high. Ultimately they seek the same thing. They need to find out of Gordon, Bruce and Lucius know who is the real bad guy, the one controlling Strange and demanding the monsters from his experiments be made. Ultimately the good guys don’t know who the true bad guys are, but we all know from Strange’s Skype calls that it is the Court of Owls.
This also takes some of the steam out of Strange as once we find out how much control the Court of Owls has over him, the softer he becomes. Just last week he was his master manipulator and completely in control. In just one episode he’s neutered due to his fear of the council. When they say “jump,” he says “how high?” And when they say give us the monsters and blow up Indian Hill, he obliges (even though it may cause a radioactive explosion) due to his fear of the Owls.
Meanwhile, “Clayface Gordon” manages to thwart off the Gotham Police’s assault on Arkham by saying that there is no threat. As he heads back to the police station, we get a chance to see actor Ben McKenzie act against character as he plays the goofy, horny, arrogant, and sly version of Jim Gordon. Not only does he want to hit on every female in the police station, but he’s clearly not Gordon as he continuously doesn’t remember anything about Gordon’s past. Harvey somewhat realizes this but chalks it up to Jim not feeling well. Only when Barbara Kean comes to the police station, does she realize he is not Gordon. After punching him is his face, do we see the mangles version of Jim Gordon’s face and the jig is up… back to Arkham the police go!
Meanwhile, Fish Mooney fresh from her resurrection and getting adjusted with her new powers of hypnotic suggestion via touch is determined to escape from her prison cell. She tried to lure Ms. Peabody close to her in order to grab and force her, but unfortunately never gets close enough. Soon enough, she is able to touch Ms. Peabody where not only does she find out her name’s Ethel, but she gets Ethel to release her and help her plot her escape. Fish sicks Peabody after Strange, but after Strange defeats Peabody he sets the bomb off.
As Bruce, Gordon, and Lucius try to escape, they run into Strange after he set off the bomb’s timer. We are also treated to a pretty cool battle between Mr. Freeze and Firefly to give us a literal “song of fire and ice.” After Strange somehow gets in the middle of their fight and gets both burnt and frozen, Gordon revives him. Strange reveals much of his plan unconsciously to Gordon. Not only do they need to try and escape to stop the monsters from leaving, but they also have to stop the bomb. However, Strange is so afraid of the Owls that he would rather die. So how will Gordon save the day? Selina reveals that Nygma (who was placed back in jail by Strange) knows how to get to the basement. Off Gordon and Lucius go to try and disarm the bomb. They run into a beaten Peabody who is thirsty. Her pleas for water are interpreted as a means to disarm the bomb. Lucky for them, water is what is needed to disarm the bomb.
With Strange now in custody, the only thing left to do is stop the monsters from escaping. Fish Mooney escapes in a bus that happens to be housing the monsters. After a daring police chase, Fish seems to get away. Enter Oswald Cobblepot. His crew breaks out the big guns and not only cut down the police car chasing Mooney, but they also force the bus to crash. Fish escapes the crash unharmed and then reveals herself as alive to Cobblepot, which shocks him completely. After her touch, he passes out, which freaks out the rest of the crew.
Gordon decides that it’s time to get his own house in order ad he’s off to reconnect with Leslie Thompkins. He places his trust in Harvey to handle the Gotham police department, but not before stealing Harvey’s car. Bruce finally connects with Alfred, and now is even more determined to solve his parents’ murder. Although Hugo Strange was responsible, Strange reports to the Court of Owls. Now Bruce has a new villain to try and stop. The episode ends focusing on the crashed bus, where a Good Samaritan opens the bus and out come all the monsters. Gotham cleverly doesn’t show any of the new potential villains’ faces, but rather silhouettes so we have to keep guessing who they will be until the fall. We do hear what appears to be Jerome’s laugh. Remember Jerome’s body was at Indian Hill, so perhaps we’ll see him next season as well. He was a great precursor to The Joker. The only face they do show is a face identical to Bruce Wayne. Does this mean that he has an evil twin?
For a season finale, it was pretty good. The episode could have used more Selina Kyle and definitely more Oswald Cobblepot. Besides Edward Nygma, he’s the best bad guy on the show. It looks like we’ll have a whole new bunch of rogues to deal with for season three, including the Court of Owls. Gotham executive producer John Stephens has already confirmed that we will see The Mad Hatter, Talon, and fan favorite Solomon Grundy next season. Of course, we can expect Bruce Wayne to continue to grow until he can eventually become Batman. Looks like it will be a great season three. We’ll find out this fall.