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REVIEW: Gotham 2×04: “Rise of the Villains: Strike Force”

With a title like “Strike Force”, I was expecting this week’s episode to be an action-fest. Except it wasn’t. It was a snooze-fest. However, before we move any farther, I must warn you: SPOILERS AHEAD!

So we begin at Penguin’s. At the long table, random people with wild hairstyles and makeup yell,  pretending to argue with each other. After Penguin silences them, he reveals his vision for crime in Gotham. Unlike Jerome, Penguin desires ‘discipline and unity’.  Penguin wants to know about all crime before it is committed. Therefore, Penguin is keen on knowing who organized the Arkham Asylum breakouts without his permission. Conveniently, Tabitha enters, and requests for Penguin to see Theo.

Back at the GCPD, the other cops are catching onto the idea of “Wait, why is Gordon in charge?”  Luckily, a man walks in and breaks a chair (wasting department resources). He announces himself as the new captain of the GCPD, Vic Mackey  I mean Nathaniel Barnes. Barnes lays down the law and fires the corrupt officers in the department. Gee, where has this guy been? He would have been hella useful with getting rid of Flass and Leob. After he threatens any corruption in the GCPD with jail time, he summons Gordon to his office. OOO Gordon’s gonna get super fired and arrested, right? I mean he killed a guy while doing a favor for Penguin…

…And nope. Apparently, Barnes called Gordon to promote him as his second-in-command. Aw man! I had such high hopes for Barnes. I thought things were going to finally get done. Now with forever-incompetent Gordon in pseudo-command, Gotham is basically doomed to crime.

Meanwhile on the news, Gotham seeks to fill the large power vacuum. While there are official candidates planning to run for Mayor, many citizens of Gotham foolishly bid for Theo to run for office.

Penguin arrives at Theo’s, and Penguin’s suspicions about Theo’s luck at the Children’s Hospital fundraiser are confirmed when ugh Barbara walks in. Like what does she do all day? Besides the Galavan siblings (Hey-o! *self-five*). Anyways, this causes Penguin to realize Theo’s involvement with the Arkham breakout and Jerome’s actions. Wow. If Penguin weren’t a murderer, he would have had a bright future as a detective. I mean that took him less than two seconds to put together. We all know the GCPD could use a mind like that, especially with incompetent boy Gordon around.

Anyways, Theo announces his elaborate plan to take back Gotham by building residential areas? Um…okay. Theo explains that in order to rebuild Gotham in his vision, he needs for Penguin to destroy it. Tabitha and Theo then try to assert their power by calling Penguin the “King of Garbage”. Oh hell naw. They did not just go there. Penguin retorts by reminding them that he single-handedly took out the gangs of Gotham. However, Theo continues to push his agenda onto Penguin by requesting that Penguin eliminate the other two mayoral candidates, Caulfield and Hobbs. While Penguin initially rebuffs Theo’s idiotic plan, Theo blackmails Penguin by showing him footage of his mother. Um, Why would this get to Penguin? For all he knows his mother could be already dead. It’s just footage on a television screen, not real proof. Also isn’t Penguin powerful enough to just take Tabitha and Theo out? Ugh. Whatever.

The next morning, Barnes summons Gordon to the Police Academy. Barnes basically summarizes how horrible Gordon was a cadet. However, despite having poo-poo for brains, Gordon was able to rise to the top of his class because he was in the army and experienced tragedy. Umm…that doesn’t mean Gordon is a good cop… Anyways, Barnes reveals to Gordon his plan to organize a task force of freshly graduated cadets to clean up Gotham. This idea is based on the assumption that cadets are untainted by corruption. Clearly, neither Barnes nor Gordon have seen The Departed or Internal Affairs.


At a public ceremony, Theo is awarded the ‘Medal of Valor and Bravery’. While giving his acceptance speech, a masked gunman “attempts” to kill Theo. Of course, Theo goes unharmed, and he uses this failed assassination as a catalyst to announce his intentions to run for mayor. Meanwhile,  Penguin goes to Caulfield’s campaign office and stabs her a bunch of times. Ew.

We are then brought to a school. And wait, is that Bruce coming out of the school? OMG, he is! He’s actually doing something his  age. Anyways, at a distance, because Bruce is ashamed he has a butler #RichKidProbs, Alfred waits for Bruce. Selina jumps down to greet Alfred, only to get slapped/punched in the face by him. After basically yelling at her for killing Reggie and getting Bruce involved, Alfred tells Selina to scram. Sad kitty.

Back at the GCPD, Nygma rehearses how he will confess his feelings to Kringle by practicing with a skeleton. Of course, his split personality makes an appearance. He reminds him of how Nygma saved Kringle’s life, and therefore, he deserves her. Inspired by this logic, Nygma loses his normal elaborate riddles and straight up tells Kringle that they will have a dinner date. While personally, I would get pissed off if a man did that to me, Kringle is apparently into it.

Meanwhile, Barnes assembles his “strike force”, and once again gives a passionate speech about how he wants to clean up Gotham. I have an idea, why don’t you actually go out and do that, instead of wasting time and department resources talking about how you want to do that? Wow, it took me less then an episode to get annoyed at Barnes.

Afterwards, Gordon and Bullock are sent to examine Caulfield’s campaign office. Because of Penguin’s threat to kill their families, Caulfield’s workers are initially hesitant to provide any information about the murder. However, after Gordon basically summarizes what the workers ALREADY know, they decide meh, what the hell? Let’s give Gordon a vague but obvious description of Penguin. Cut to commercial. Wow, even the show knows it’s going to take Gordon at least a whole commercial break to figure that one out.

Coming back from commercials, we are brought to dinner between Theo and Bruce. Honestly, I don’t mind Bruce’s scenes now because the rest of the episode is equally as boring. Later, Theo introduces Bruce to his ward: Silver St. Cloud. The two exchange painfully cute smiles at each other as they discuss school, while Theo creepily watches the “middle-school level” chemistry occurring between the two. So much puberty is happening right now!

While waiting in his the car, Penguin confesses to Butch about Theo’s hold over him. Penguin fears that Theo will kill his mother if he finds out their plan to look for her. Um, Penguin aren’t you super powerful? How are you threatened by Theo? However, Butch insists that he will search for Penguin’s mother, regardless.

Meanwhile, Victor Zsasz pays Hobbs a visit. Yay! Fighting! Zsasz easily wipes out a majority of Hobbs’s henchmen. Unfortunately, while chasing Hobbs, Zsasz is interrupted by Gordon and the Strike Force. Don’t worry, Gordon isn’t competent, Bullock is there. We all know they got there thanks to Bullock and not Gordon. Anyways, after exchanging shots, one of the recruits manages to shoot Zsasz. However, Zsasz manages to escape. Finally, Gordon puts two and two together and realizes Penguin is behind the assassination attempts. *Cue slow clap*.

We are then brought to Nygma’s place. He charms Kringle with a home cooked meal and oh it’s on! However, Nygma accidentally expresses his relief about the death of Kringle’s ex-boyfriend. Oof! Kringle excuses herself, which prompts Nygma to have a brief conversation with himself. Unfortunately, Kringle catches him and decides to leave…and the mood is officially deceased (RIP). In an act of desperation, Nygma tells her about his split personality, and apparently Kringle is into it. And it is BACK ON!

Later, Gordon goes to confront Penguin with his suspicions. While Gordon threatens to arrest him, Penguin snaps back. And I rejoice. Penguin reminds Gordon about his hypocrisy as he recaps Gordon’s own corruption. SHUT DOWN! And Gordon leaves defeated, and presumably cries on his way home.

Unfortunately, putting Gordon in his place does nothing to ease Penguin’s mind, as Butch later arrives with a shoulder pat as an indication of his mother’s whereabouts. Wait, so is she dead? Because only death would warrant a scream that overly-acted.


Final Grade: C-/D+

Honestly, the “Previously on Gotham” recap at the beginning was the most exciting thing that happened.


Extra thoughts:

+ Penguin: “You need an assassin. This is Gotham. You can find them in the phone book, under ‘A’.”

+Ha-ha. Alfred makes Bruce run 6.5 miles (10.5km). Ha-ha. I wish I could’ve seen that asthma attack waiting to happen.

+Nygma and Kringle kiss.

+I miss Jerome…Sorry, I had to.


What did you think of this week’s episode? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Elizabeth Banalagay