This episode really centres on the escaped Arkham inmates, now known as The Maniaxs. We first see the Maniax throwing living hostages off the roof of the Gotham Gazette. Jerome solidifies himself as the leader on the crazy bunch by winning a sadistic game of Russian roulette. He may be young, but he’s not scared to shoot a loaded gun three times at his head just to prove a point. Theo Galavan manages to blackmail the Mayor into stepping down from his political stance, claiming that monsters are coming to cleanse Gotham with blood and fire.

Gordon turns to Bullock for assistance on tracking the Maniax and also tries to change his mind about quitting the police force. Sadly his attempt is blocked by Bullock’s oddly named girlfriend Scottie. He does however give him a good lead on what the crazy gang are planning next. They’ve stolen a tanker full of gasoline and obviously that’s going to mean a shit storm for somebody. Commissioner Essen says some inspiring stuff to Gordon about not wasting her position like so many men before her; she actually wants to make a difference which is a nice change considering the city.

GOTHAM: Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) in the Rise of the Villains: ÒKnock, KnockÓ episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, Sept. 28 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Nicole Rivelli/FOX.

Nygma is battling with schizophrenia and his feelings for Miss Kringle. Nygma was always a bit strange, but after killing Miss Kringle’s cop boyfriend towards the end of last season he has developed a split personality. His other dark and confident persona appears and argues with Nygma’s regular reserved side. It’s a little bit like Jim Carrey’s character in Me, Myself & Irene, which is a cheeky link between actors as Carrey played The Riddler in Batman Forever.

Meanwhile our well-mannered young Bruce Wayne decides to fire long-term butler Alfred after he destroys a computer in the hidden basement of Wayne manor. I can understand Bruce’s frustration and I can sympathise with Alfred for doing it, as there is stuff down there that a child has no business knowing about (future Batman gadgets) but firing Alfred? Really? Bruce you are a bloody orphan. You have no one else, why the fuck would you get rid of such a loyal friend? It didn’t make a lot of sense to me but it wasn’t surprising to me that this temper tantrum is short lived and the two are rekindled by the end of the episode. Again, this subplot seemed out of place because this could have developed over a few episodes but it was rectified within the hour. Alfred calls upon Lucius Fox to help repair the broken computer, after threatening him in a bar in a kind of fuck with me and I’ll kill you sort of way. Classy Alfred.

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Hands down the best part of the episode is when the Maniax invade the Gotham Police Department. Disguised as cops, they begin relentlessly murdering real police officers and recording the whole affair to broadcast later. Barbara manages to lure Gordon out of the building just before and he ends up nearly getting beaten to death by Aaron Helzinger (an absolute unit of a man) but Barbara puts a stop to it before he goes too far. Does this mean she still has a soft spot of Gordon or is she simply a full of psychopath and wants to see him suffer more?

Jerome steals the show however; his portrayal of the Joker is excellent. It’s clear he has taken inspiration from Heath Ledger and has nailed the sinister and playful nature of the character. After her inspiring words of cleaning up Gotham, commissioner Essen is murdered by the Maniax. I thought his character death as premature to say the least, named commissioner one week then killed the next. She didn’t have an opportunity to achieve anything but it did show that the Maniax mean business. No one is safe so it was a nice to see Bullock have a sudden change of heart at the end and join up as Gordon’s partner once more. Shame he was too late to save Essen. A great episode with some promising plot lines to come for the rest of the season.

5/5

Dir: Rob Bailey

Scr: Bruno Heller, Ken Woodruff

Starring: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, David Mazouz, Morena Baccarin, Zabryna Guevara, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor

Prd: Rebecca Perry Cutter, Scott White

DOP: Chris Norr

Music: David E. Russo

Year: 2015

Country: USA

Run time: 45mins