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REVIEW: Gotham 2×19 “Wrath of the Villains: Azrael”

Considering I’d given up on Gotham before, “Rise of the Villains,” became, “Wrath of the Villains,” I wasn’t a bit surprised by how unenjoyable the latest episode actually was. Perhaps I’ve just lowered my expectations to the point where Hades himself is chilling above them but, “Azrael,” felt like another slowly-inserted nail into the proverbial coffin. Considering how much this episode was teased, getting its own three-minute trailer, I suppose I was expecting a bit more from it. Unfortunately, “Azrael,” was pretty much like every episode this season.

All of the flaws are still prevalent, annoying characters are still annoying and questionable plotlines still make no sense, and there was little to no forward momentum this week that once again made me upset about waisting the 8-9 timeslot watching Gotham.

Spoilers ahead!

The main focus of, “Azrael,” was understandably on the man himself. We watch as the individual formerly known as Theo Galavan basically goes certifiably insane, fitting since he’s housed snugly in Arkham Asylum, and Hugo Strange tries to utilize this new incarnation as a means of getting rid of the annoying fly that’s been buzzing around: Jim Gordon.

As it turns out, Azrael is easier to tame than one would expect thanks to the handy user’s manual that is the Order of Saint Dumas journal. Strange makes quick work of Azralvan, convincing him that he is Dumas himself and using some questionable hypnotherapy practices to tame him completely. Strange gives Azralvan a fancy new sword and tells him to use it to off Gordon, an assignment that is readily accepted.

Azrael’s first attempt at murder doesn’t pan out that well since Gordon is surrounded by the GCPD but he at least gets some noice PR as the Gotham press discusses how they’ve, “never seen anything like this.” Okay. Sure.

Goth219

Anyways, Jim gets thrown in custody because the Captain doesn’t want him going after Azrael which is perfect because it makes him an easy target for the new assassin. If you had flashbacks to, “Bitter Pill to Swallow,” you’re not alone because this was almost the exact same episode.

Jim and the Captain, trapped in a room with the lights out while an assassin is coming for them.

I guess the big difference this time around is that the Captain most definitely did not make it out with a minor injury. Azrael guts him like a pig (no pun intended) before leaping from the roof and showing his face to every news outlet in Gotham. So now everyone knows Galavan is no longer six feet under.

The possible death of the Captain was just another stark reminder of how little I care about the characters on this show. None of them have resonated with me and most of them have actually become less interesting and enjoyable to watch. At this point, the only person I’d feel marginally bummed about seeing get killed off is Bullock.

Ironically, perhaps for the first time ever, it was Bruce Wayne who said something that I actually agreed with.

“I fear we’re going down the same path as before.”

I’ve been trying to tell you this forever Gotham. You’ve been throwing the same tired plot at us since the Pilot and it’s not working now just like it didn’t work then. Two seasons focused on Jim’s internal darkness and Bruce’s obsession with his parents’ murder is two seasons too long. What would have served as a solid episodic arc has turned into the weight that is dragging Gotham down into the abyss and making it a show with no central focus that is worth watching.

I’m not sure what could possibly be planned for the finale considering the 2B episodes haven’t been leading up to anything. While the show seems to think that it’s moving towards something jaw-dropping, the episodes themselves have done nothing to indicate that the final three episodes will be anything other than tired and underwhelming.

I mean, really. On paper Gotham should be great. The latest arc is about a crazy doctor who’s bringing people back from the dead and turning them into assassins while putting other known killers back on the street. That sounds like a pretty cool premise but instead we get a bunch of broody, “good guys,” talking about nothing and simultaneously doing nothing.

Episode Grade: C

Episode Highs:

  • Strange’s lab-tech is perhaps the only person with common sense on this entire show. “There’s no use bringing back the dead if they come back crazy.” Thank you.
  • Nygma is still the only consistently enjoyable character. His toying with his fellow Arkham inmates was fun to watch and a pretty solid reminder that, “This place is just one big puzzle and puzzles are my forte.”

Episode Lows:

  • Little plot movement, little action, and more cheesy one-liners than even I can stand.
  • Azrael was wholly underwhelming since he’s just a Strange puppet that didn’t actually manage to do anything.

Additional Thoughts:

  • Why, on television, does the amount of scruff on a man’s face determine their emotional stability and internal darkness? “Jim’s got some stubble, I guess he’s now a renegade private eye who doesn’t care about the law as much as he does working his way around it.”
  • “I’m sick of this.” Me too Bruce, me too.
  • What’s going on with the Arkham patients put back on the streets? Barbara and Penguin are both acting a bit… shall we say,

What did you think of the latest Gotham? Were you a bit underwhelmed by Azrael? Sound off on Twitter or in the comments below!

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen