Features TV

REVIEW: Gotham 2X11 “Rise of the Villains: Worse Than a Crime”

Welp… Gotham aired its fall finale and… it was pretty much exactly what I was expecting. Ten episodes led up to, “Worse Than a Crime,” and the events that finally transpired were those that everyone was expecting since the first exchange between Theo Galavan and Jim Gordon.

And honestly, the, “Rise of the Villains,” may have ended up being the fall of Gotham considering how the show ended up wrapping up the central arc of the first half of the sophomore season.

Spoilers ahead!

This week was all about the upcoming sacrifice of one Bruce Wayne. After being kidnapped and taken to the Galavan penthouse, poor Bruce is forced to listen to Theo’s lame, “Your family ruined my family ages ago so now I’m getting revenge on you,” speech. Bruce looked just as nonplussed as I felt during Galavan’s chatter, and didn’t really seem all that concerned until one of the creepy monks started splashing what looked like holy water on his face.

bruce

After Bruce gets yanked away to a standard dungeon-like cell, Silver feigns illness with her uncle in an attempt to get out of having to watch the, “ceremony.” Theo doesn’t buy the excuse for a second and makes it clear that he can easily get rid of her and bring in someone new if she doesn’t have the backbone to watch Bruce Wayne die. Silver is a teenager with something to prove though, so she says she’ll do whatever Theo wants… which, unfortunately, is as twisted a request as ever. “Make Bruce Wayne fall in love with you all over again.”

Blech so creepy, nobody would honestly agree to tha… Okay, actually Silver does agree to it and weirdly enough it’s Tabitha who (kind of) tries to talk her out of it, warning the young girl that Theo will either kill her or throw her out on the street if she’s unsuccessful.

Eh, worth the risk I guess because the next thing we know, Silver is paying young Bruce a visit in his underground jail cell. She brings her crocodile tears along with her and, after the two kids reveal their favorite memories to each other, Silver decides that she’s going to help Bruce escape. How you ask?

“I am a Dumas. I have some pull around here.”

Which apparently means ordering one of the obedient monks to hand her his gun, shoot him with it, and then grab Bruce’s hand and sprint through the maze that is the building he’s being held in. Unfortunately, around one corner is Theo and a bunch of other monks and both kids are now thrown in the little cell together. Bummer right?”

Only if you’re a moron which, surprisingly, Bruce isn’t this week. After Silver tearfully tells him she loves him, Bruce tells her she can quit the act because he knows the attempted escape and everything that’s happened was just another play. What he doesn’t know is why she did it. Silver proceeds to tell him about Galavan’s threat to toss her, or kill her, should she not get Bruce to confess his love and kiss her. He does neither, instead telling her that he pities her and thinks that there’s still a chance for her to turn her life around, “You’re young and scared and under the control of bad people.”

Ah yes, Bruce dolling out sage wisdom like the super old person he is.

Unfortunately, his words don’t exactly do much for Silver, who’s pretty much resigned to the fact that she’s failed her mission and will likely be punished for it. “My family is all I have, and I’ve lost them too.”

Goth211Silver

Not so fast Silver! Because as Bruce is pulled out of the cell to be escorted to his sacrifice, he makes sure to tell Silver he loves her and give her one last kiss… in front of Galavan. Man, even ‘til the end Bruce is just a dude who’s trying to help everyone around him, including his pseudo-ex-girlfriends who are partially responsible for him being sacrificed by a bunch of wackos in robes.

While all this is happening, Penguin is trying to convince Jim that their mutual hatred of Galavan means that now is the time to join forces to take him down. As it turns out, Gordon needs very little convincing and is pretty much immediately agreeing to partner up with Penguin if it means bringing an end to Galavan.

Know who’s not happy about Jim’s latest suicide mission?

Lee.

Who appears at the Pen-ygma abode and sees Jim and a bunch of thugs arming themselves with a boatload of guns. Gordon is still somewhat oblivious to facial expressions because he reads Lee’s, “WTF?” expression as one that serves as the ideal segue to telling her she needs to get out of town while he takes on Galavan. Lee naturally counters with a way better point, “Are you just crazy? You’re on the run from the law, you want to attack the mayor with the help of a depraved sociopath, that’s not crazy?”

Goth211LeePengJim

Jim gives her what we think is his best, “d-oh,” face but man are we wrong because his actual best, “d-oh,” face comes when Lee then proceeds to drop the, “I’m pregnant,” bomb. Welp… that’s a pretty good reason for Jim to leave town with Lee, which he tries to do until Alfred and Harvey roll up and inform him that Galavan has Bruce. Lee knows immediately that Jim won’t be leaving anytime soon and tells him to call her when, “It’s over,” before driving away into the night.

Bit of a downer relationship wise but… hell yeah it means Jim, Penguin, Harvey, Alfred, and Selina (who knows where Bruce is being held and, more importantly, knows how to get in) do a super dramatic walk through the streets. Oh Gotham, you fail at many things but dramatically walking down foggy streets at night isn’t one of them.

Cut back to Bruce who’s being tied up to a pole, in a white nighty, as the gaggle of monks chant, “Death to the son of Gotham.” Again, so creepy. This got so weird so fast. The HMIC (Head Monk in Charge) rises from his monk throne and moves to slice Bruce’s throat but pauses when Silver steps forward and yells, “Stop!” Ooooooh… bad move Silver. For you. Great move otherwise because it gives Jim and his posse time to crash through the doors and go head-to-head against the monks.

Goth211Jim:Al

The Gordon Gang end up victorious, taking out a decent chunk of the monk army and preventing Bruce from being sacrificed to… wait did we ever actually figure out who they’re sacrificing him to? Did I miss that part? Must have been pretty unmemorable.

Anyways, snake that he is, Galavan escapes with Tabitha and Silver during the showdown and makes his way to the penthouse where he’d stashed away two parachutes for emergencies. But… wait a minute. Theo… Tabitha… Silver… hey that’s three people in need of parachutes! Umm… not according to Galavan. Silver effed up big time and therefore doesn’t get one. In fact, Galavan moves to strangle her when, outta nowhere, Tabitha smashes a vase over his head and the girls jump out of the penthouse and say, “Deuces,” to Theo.

Friggin finally. Why Tabitha hasn’t been calling the shots since day one is beyond me.

Jim makes to arrest Galavan but then wonders if the law will actually bring the man to justice. While he’s thinking things over and pointing a gun at Theo, the Captain barges in and tells Jim to lower his weapon… which he does but then Penguin pops up and knocks the Captain out. Penguin, weird as he may be, isn’t an idiot and can see pretty clearly that Jim is warring about what to do with Theo. Deciding to focus on the less law-abiding side of Jim, Penguin says, “Think of the greater good. Think of Gotham… Are you 100% sure that he won’t beat this and walk free again?”

Turns out, the answer is no.

Jim and Penguin take Galavan to the river where Penguin beats the man to a bloody pulp with a baseball bat until Jim orders him to stop. Seems like he’s sided with the law on this one.

Just kidding.

Gordon shoots Galavan point blank and then, in classic Jim fashion, dramatically walks away. Then we have the drastic contrast of him walking through some sort of botanical garden, telling Lee, “It’s over,” and then asking her to marry him. Because the perfect thing to do after committing murder is proposing to the one person who has been trying to get you to not commit murder.

Once again Gotham gave us 39 minutes of filler and 3ish minutes of truly enjoyable television.

My problem with the back half of this fall season is that nearly every episode could have been cut and we still would have understood absolutely everything that happened in this 2A finale. From what I can tell, each episode of Gotham has had about five minutes of relevant plot/footage. It’s turned into a show that has, what I like to call the Madmen-requirement: You only need to watch the premiere, the last episode’s ‘Previously on,’ and the finale itself to understand what’s happening in the season as a whole.

Remember the Firefly arc? Totally irrelevant. How about Bruce’s secret lair? Not at all important to the finale. Hell, remember Barbara’s crazy attempt at a wedding do-over? LITERALLY HAD NO POINT TO THE SHOW!

Ten episodes. Ten episodes were used to tell a story that was literally summarized in the, “Previously on,” segment prior to the episode.

That’s a red flag to me.

What’s especially weird to me about this episode is the way it approached Galavan’s death. Were we supposed to be glad Gordon killed him? Or worried that this was the metaphorical tipping of the scales where Jim’s internal darkness is concerned? Gotham tried pushing for both and ended up not being able to sell either.

Jim’s shooting of Galavan is what the show has been heading towards since the beginning of the season but the actual event was so anticlimactic that I found myself completely and utterly nonchalant towards the whole thing. Much of Gotham has, “cried wolf,” where Jim is concerned, pushing him to the brink of darkness before pulling him back until he falls over the edge.

The main problem with this, aside from the fact that it happened every episode, is that we’ve already seen Jim do some pretty dark things. We’ve seen him kill people, we’ve seen him lie, we’ve seen him go against the badge. So why is his shooting of Galavan supposed to be a big deal? Honestly. I’m honestly asking that question.

Gotham’s second season actually started off rather promising but quickly fell into the dreaded sophomore slump. With Galavan seemingly out of the picture, a new villain will need to rise ASAP to give Gordon and the GCPD something to do in the back half of the season. Here’s hoping that the new big bad will bring with him/her new life to Gotham.

Episode Grade: C

Episode Highs:

  • Lee telling Penguin to shut his mouth was one of the few bright lights in the perpetually dark Gotham
  • YAAAAAASSS Tabitha! I’ve always found her to be the more dangerous of the Galavan’s (considering she’s the one who actually does most of the dirty work) and it was about damn time that she leave her brother and, “Look out for number one.” (her)

Episode Lows:

  • The beginning, middle, and end.

Additional Thoughts:

  • Can we all agree that the best part of the hour was the 15-30 second teaser of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice?
  • Looks like 2B is going to be chilly… what are your thoughts on the teased villain Mr. Freeze?

Sound off on Twitter or in the comments below and let us know what you thought of Gotham’s fall finale!

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen