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REVIEW: Gotham 2X10 “Rise of the Villains: The Son of Gotham”

Ahh, nothing quite like having an episode title that can literally be applied to half of the characters on the show. “The Son of Gotham,” can arguably be any of the three male leads, and more likely is an allusion to all of them: Theo Galavan who represents total darkness, Jim Gordon who is comprised of varying shades of grey, and Bruce Wayne who is still meant to be a representation of innocence on the show.

Then again… it’s not called, “Sons of Gotham,” now is it?

There’s only one son and of course only Jim Gordon could take an entire episode to figure out who it is.

Spoilers ahead!

It’s another day in Gotham meaning there’s an attempted robbery, a funeral, and a ritual sacrifice within the first eight minutes of the episode.

The funeral is for the late Katherine Parks, AKA the poor cop who got eaten last episode thanks to Jim’s decision to not put a bullet in the cannibal assassin hired to kill him. Naturally, Jim feels a wee bit guilty for Parks’ death and not even Lee beckoning for him to join her in bed is enough to coax him away from his favorite combination of brooding and alcohol.

What’s even worse than being indirectly yet kind of directly responsible for a fellow officer’s death? Jim’s bad feeling regarding Theo Galavan’s upcoming trial. After paying the current (former?) mayor a visit in prison, Jim is left with his detective-senses tingling. Apparently Galavan didn’t look bummed enough for a man guaranteed to get 10+ years in prison and Jim throws himself (or at least tries to before the Captain gets involved) into finding more evidence linking Galavan to all of the awful things that have happened in Gotham as of late.

But again, the Captain is of the mindset that having a witness who will be testifying against Galavan in his trial means there’s no need to worry about Theo not spending a good chunk of his life in prison. So, the Captain sends Harvey and Gordon to figure out why someone’s going around slashing people’s throats.

Remember that whole, “ritual sacrifice,” thing from before?

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That’s why.

Harvey has been doing his own digging and stumbles across something known as The Order of St. Dumas. Not really all that relevant until Harvey then points out that Galavan had attempted to buy the Order’s former Gotham abbey. THAT SEEMS VERY RELEVANT TO ME. To Jim as well because he and Harvey decide to screw the Captain’s orders and investigate the former abbey (and current massage parlor). They pull up to the old building just as a flock of half-naked women run screaming from it and, after coming face-to-face with some of the cloaked monks, Jim gets a pretty good idea that they’ve brought with them to Gotham a whole new kind of crazy.

Gordon manages to stab one but it doesn’t do much because the monk just yanks out the knife, gives Jim a sassy smirk, and runs out of the abbey before throwing himself in front of a bus. Apparently the Order is one of the cults that is all about killing yourself so as not to reveal any information. Except… the monk totally does let something slip before death-by-bus.

“The day of reckoning is at hand.”

WTF?

Well that was completely vague and not at all conducive for stopping Galavan. Though, it’s at least enough for Gordon to convince the Captain to let him pursue the monk-angle since it’s super suspicious that they’re popping up the day of Galavan’s trial. Right? Right. Then Lee, AKA the only person who consistently utilizes common sense, points out that it’s approximately a hundred times more suspicious that nobody has noticed a bunch of literal monks traipsing around Gotham.

Hmmm… that is an astute observation Lee. And it can only mean one thing… the monks are using the sewers to get around! Of course. This is a TV show after all.

While all this is going down, Selina and Bruce are teaming up against Silver in a bid to figure out what she knows about his parents’ deaths. They come up with a pretty decent ruse, hiring some of Selina’s criminal friends to, “kidnap,” Bruce and Silver in order to scare the girl into talking. It takes a few threats but eventually she does end up talking, revealing the name of the man allegedly responsible for the deaths of Bruce’s parents. Granted, she could A. Be lying or B. Have false information, so who really knows if this mysterious, “Malone,” is really the man that Bruce has spent two seasons searching for. There’s a poignant scene between Bruce and Selina where the former basically just blatantly flirts with her and goes through the whole, “Nobody in my life knows me quite like you,” bit but, as is often the case, it’s Selina who gets the final words of wisdom in. “It’s good you’re changing just… don’t change too much.”

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If that’s not foreshadowing, I don’t know what is.

Back to the land of the adults, Harvey and Gordon make their way through the Gotham underground and stumble across the Order’s place of sacrifice. Kind of easy to find if one just follows the light of the 100+ candles that are scattered around the sacrificial chamber. They’re creepy as hell but you’ve got to admit, those monks sure know how to create a cozy ambiance. I can only hope they bought the vanilla scented candles to stave off the stench of the Gotham sewers.

Anyways, along with the cozy Den of Doom, Gordon and Harvey find another body and another one of those creepy monks. Jim knocks him out just long enough to blindfold him and repeat the weird stuff the last monk said in order to convince this monk that he himself is a monk. Are your eyes crossing yet? Monks on monks on monks. Jim goes as far as to slice his own hand and drip blood on the other guy (who’s totally into it and thinks it’s some sort of weird blessing) and manages to get a teeny bit more information before a random cop pops up and calls him detective, effectively ending his brief time as an undercover monk.

Whatevs. Gordon has more important things to deal with now. He makes his way to Galavan’s trial and unfortunately squeezes into a seat just as the lead witness says that, actually, Galavan wasn’t the one who kidnapped him. The former mayor pins his kidnapping and torture on Penguin and, since there’s no other evidence against Theo, the judge dismisses the case and Galavan walks free.

Guess what? Gordon is pissed.

Galavan gives a smarmy speech about appreciating the GCPD for doing their jobs, ending it with a sinister, ““What do you say Detective Gordon? Can we move forward together?” Again, Gordon is pissed, and instead of politely saying, “Umm…pass,” he punches Theo in the face. Chaos erupts and Gordon is dragged out of the courtroom by police officers who we almost immediately realize are working for Galavan.

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They taze Jim into unconsciousness and tie him up at a warehouse where Galavan gives his, “Just before the villain kills the hero,” speech and explains that everything he’s done was for his family’s honor. Galavan is just a façade after all, Theo is really of the Dumas lineage and has returned to Gotham to make the city atone for its crimes against his family. After a brief scuffle in which he kicks Gordon’s ass, Theo leaves his thugs to kill the detective while he sets off to take out the Son of Gotham.

In case you haven’t pieced it together yet, Bruce is the Son of Gotham.

Something that is confirmed when Galavan appears at Wayne Manor and responds to Bruce’s question of, “What do you want?” with a sinister, “Why, your life of course.”

But what happened to Gordon you ask? Penguin and one of his few remaining loyal cronies arrive at the dock, save him from Galavan’s goons, and then proceed to smack him around a bit themselves. It’s a very odd relationship that Gordon/Penguin one and, based on the promo for Gotham’s fall finale… it’s only going to get odder.

Gotham’s overarching plot has been woefully ignored in the past few episodes and it seemed as though, “Son of Gotham,” felt the burden, throwing a boatload of new information at us that’s clearly meant to explain the past and foreshadow the future. This is why filler episodes are so crushing. Because they eat up time that could have been used to slowly release snippets of information. Meaning, instead of progressively learning more and more about the Order and the intricacies behind it, we were literally smacked over the head with an episode that seemed to be scrambling to give us information in time for the fall finale.

What’s most strange about, “Son of Gotham,” is that, though not necessarily a filler episode, it felt to me as though just as little actually happened. Normally the fillers leave me wondering why I just wasted an hour on something that has no pertinence to the show. But this week, with an episode chalk full of information that will be extremely relevant to the overarching plot, I still ended the hour contemplating whether or not anything actually happened.

Gotham only has one episode left in 2A and, honestly, I’m not sure how it’ll manage to tie enough things together to make it a satisfying finale for the fall season.

Episode Grade: C+

Episode Highs:

  • The long overdue Bruce and Selina team-up.
  • Selina’s take on the Silver situation, “I was just glad to see the two-faced bitch get served.” Gotta love a cat taking a dig at a dog.

Episode Lows:

  • Do we really need a cult of monks? How could this possibly make Gotham more interesting?
  • That random scuffle between Alfred and Tabitha was completely out of place, lasted barely two minutes, and didn’t leave me all that interested despite the fact that it ended with a literal knife in Alfred’s back.

Additional Thoughts:

  • Do you think Silver’s intel was correct? Or was she telling the truth about making the name, “Malone,” up? OR #2… did she really hear that name from Galavan but he was lying to her?
  • Is anyone else kind of relieved that the fall finale is next week? I don’t know about you but I think I’m in desperate need of a Gotham

Sound off about your thoughts about the episode on Twitter or in the comments below!

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen