The opening Rise of the Villains trilogy was a triumph for this series, producing its strongest ever episodes. Now it seems to be back to business as usual for a series that keeps offering glimpses of brilliance. Bruce is back at school, Jim is desperately trying to clean up the GCPD with the help of a cynical Bullock and Penguin is trying to maintain control. I suppose not every episode can have the surprise climatic death of last week.
Gotham’s strength has always been its colourful villains, so any episode like this that concentrates on the bland and broody heroes is not as enjoyable. We meet the stereotypical army veteran Michael Chiklis as Captain Nathaniel Barnes. Whilst full of clichés, it was an enjoyable performance with plenty of future potential. The Strike Force of new recruits answering to Jim (Ben McKensie) were quickly assembled without an ounce of character or interest between them. James Frain’s Galavan is filling the Fish Mooney role for this season by acting more like a plot device than a character, whilst being surrounded by far more interesting and colourful characters.
As with the first season the highlight of these lack-lustre episodes remains Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin, his facial dexterity is astounding as Galavan manipulates him into some rash decision making. This is a neat storyline to keep Penguin pursuing the maintenance of power, as a scheming and struggling Penguin is far more interesting than a successful one. Ed Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) also continues to develop his dual personality with an enjoyable “voices in our heads” discussion on a date.
Roll on the next episode, lets hope this one doesn’t put people off.