Gotham continues to impress this season; progressing to darker depths in this week’s installment. Picking up from the conclusion of the previous episode, Gordon and Bullock interrogate criminals trying to get any information on Commissioner Essen’s murder; Jerome Valeska. The pair are going hard on the criminals, resulting in a few being thrown out of the window. Out of character for Gordon but understandable as he’s taken the Police Headquarters invasion quite personally.
Remember in season one and we discovered that Barbara had a lesbian fling? Well that character backstory re-emerges this week as she tongues Theo Galavan’s sister; Tabitha. Theo walks in but doesn’t seem fazed and reveals his long-term plans for Gordon which is to destroy the poor bugger. Like he hasn’t been through enough already. Galavan’s whole angle is revenge. He claims his family built Gotham however his family name appears nowhere in the city.
Valeska and Tabitha devise a plan to keep the heat away from Theo about the Arkham breakout. By planting fabricated evidence in Valeska’s fathers, Paul Cicero, apartment and murdering him, it all seems as if he was responsible. Before Valeska plunges a blade into Cicero he curses him, telling him that his legacy will be death and madness. Seems right up Valesks’s street if you ask me. Gordon and Bullock discover that Cicero might have something to do with it all around the same time as this is all going on. Unfortunately they arrive at the scene too late and end up being knocked out with gas and the heel of Tabitha big ass leather boot.
Gordon’s love piece, Dr. Leslie Thompkins, is hosting a children’s hospital charity ball. Obviously because it’s a charity evet, anyone who’s anyone in Gotham will be attending. Alfred has even managed to drag young Bruce along. The whole set up is a perfect target for a publicity stunt from our friendly chums The Maniaxs. The hired magician is on a lot of people’s lips before the event starts, so all eyes on the magician as he appears on stage. That funky moustache isn’t fooling me Jerome Velaska, but it seems to have done the trick with Gotham’s elite. Amongst the crowd is Selina Kyle, pickpocketing anyone that she pleases. A brief encounter with Bruce shows the struggle for lone wolf status and the desire for kindness and friendship that Selina is going through. It’s been a while since she stayed at Wayne Manor, back in season one, and it’s apparent she doesn’t know how she feels about Bruce. Bruce, however, is keen. Oh young love is so complex.
Valeska chooses Bruce as his first volunteer to perform the classic trick of sawing a person in half. As the magician’s assistant collects Bruce from the crowd, Dr. Thompkins starts the think there’s something fishy going on. And she’s right to believe this, as the assistant is none other than bat shit crazy bitch; Barbara Kean. Thankfully Bruce comes offstage unscathed but the deputy mayor wasn’t so lucky. Valeska requests his help on stage and not even subtly stabs him in the chest in front of everyone.
Theo Galavan is masquerading as an innocent millionaire in the crowd and stands up to Valeska but Barbara knocks him unconscious. Gordon arrives at the gala, undetected, and manages to get a firearm to Alfred just before Valeska pulls Bruce up on stage as he’s wielding a knife. Gordon makes his presence known to the villains, guns a blazing and Alfred follows his lead. Then we have ourselves a good old fashioned Mexican stand-off, with Gordon and Alfred’s guns trained on Valeska whilst he presses a blade to Bruce’s neck.
Suddenly Galavan pipes up and whispers to Valeska to chill the fuck out but he seems to have lost control of the young Joker. In a genuinely shocking twist, Galavan plunges a blade into Valeska’s neck; concluding his life there and then. Shock and disappointment was all over my face when I saw this. This isn’t Game of Thrones! Valeska was a great character and there was no need to kill him off three episodes into the season. It does however assist in Galavan’s innocent front, so story development wise I understand it but they could have done so much more with this character. So much more. He died with a big fuck off smile though which was appropriate.
While the dust is settling over at the charity event, Bullock pays The Penguin a visit. Just to add, he didn’t help Gordon at the charity event because he was still too fucked up from the knock out gas. Not because he wasn’t keen or anything. Bullock questions Penguin about the favour he made Gordon perform in the first episode. To summarise, if you fuck around with Jim Gordon, I’m going to fuck you up little umbrella bitch. He didn’t say it like that, but he clearly wanted to.
As the episode comes to a close, footage of Valeska’s signature laugh is being broadcast via the news all over the city. Random people are watching it and begin mimicking his laugh and begin sporadically killing anyone near them. A voice over of Cicero’s final words is heard as the camera zooms in on Valeska’s still smiling corpse. He might be dead, but his legacy lives on.
It’s a fucking cracking episode with more plot points being added such as Barbara liking the girls again, Galavan’s bullshit front, Bullock and Penguin’s feud and Selina and Bruce. Again, I am still disappointed with the timing of Valeska’s death. Hopefully something can stem from this. I’m not sure what but I’m optimistic.
Dir: Eagle Egilsson
Scr: Bruno Heller, John Stephens
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
Run time: 45mins