Set Loose | Gotham “Azrael” Review
The second season of Gotham is certainly upping the ante and revealing more and more villains to us, as well as further developing some fantastic villains from Batman’s Rogues Gallery. This episode does a great job of further developing the storylines for Jim Gordon and Edward Nygma, all the while introducing us to Gotham’s latest menace, Azrael.
Jim is in a weird spot since he was essentially kicked off the force, but he does use his half in half out circumstance to get to the bottom of one of the bigger question marks this season has to offer. How is Strange connected to everything? The first scene with Jim and Strange in this episode is a neat game of mental chess as they are both attempting to outwit the other. Strange assumes that he has the upper-hand, but Jim slyly fakes a court order and gets the exact answer he had assumed, that is that Professor Strange is still conducting experiments similar to those down at Pinewood Farms.
The intellectual barbs between the two was certainly interesting, especially since Strange always portrays this ultra-confidence. It is certainly nice to see him get knocked down a peg or two. Now that Jim knows exactly what is going on at Arkham, Strange takes it upon himself to give Azrael, formerly known as Theo Galavan, his first mission.
When we saw Theo last episode, he was murdering everyone inside of the lab beneath Arkham, and he simply continues his murderous rampage here. His tale is interesting because he can’t remember who he actually is. Strange, being as smart as he is, decides that he can fabricate his past and states that he is Azrael, a descendent of the Dumas family that is sent to punish evil. He goes as far to craft a sword that Azrael believes is real, that is until later on in the episode. This brainwashing scene fits so perfectly in the comic book mythos and with such a hated character such as Theo Galavan.
Since Jim is completely wrapped up in this, he must convince Barnes everything he believes to be true. Of course Barnes doesn’t believe him, that is until a very Deathstroke-looking Azrael crashes in on them. With armor from head to toe, their guns or next to nothing to even slow him down. In one scene, Azrael takes out all the men protecting Jim Gordon with a batman-esque ease, with the addition of actually killing them.
There’s an awesome scene when Barnes lures Azrael up to the roof, and they have an old fashioned fight. At one point, Azrael’s sword breaks in half, and you can see for a split second where he begins to questions himself and his motives. But, he does still get a killing blow to Barnes. Jim comes with some back up, aka a big shotgun, and they all see as his mask flies off that it is indeed Theo Galavan. Jim proceeds to shoot him so much he flies off the roof and all the news stations catch that it is the once dead Theo Galavan.
The whole sequences was great, and I definitely love the fact that Theo is always going to have that sneaking suspicion of who he actually is. On his way out he sees the poster of his candidacy for Mayor making him flashback onto his actual life. I can’t wait to see the ripples that causes in the future with his fragmented memories.
The other big sequence was Nygma becoming the ring leader of Arkham. His intellect has actually been paying off, as he has been able to know each inmate’s psychosis and how to overcome it. He tries to convince Professor Strange that he can help him get rid of the pesky Jim Gordon, but Strange doesn’t want any of it. The scene where Nygma convinces the inmates to get him specific tools is brilliantly funny. He does eventually find the secret elevator shaft that leads down to the laboratory, but the scene cuts off shortly thereafter. It will be interesting if he becomes Strange’s next subject, or if he does make it back up from the lab on his own accord.
There are a few scenes with Tabitha, Butch and Barbara that further display Barbara’s psychotic nature, but the episode didn’t delve all that much into her besides a short scene or two. Bruce was also spread throughout the episode with a few scenes with Jim. In the scenes, Jim reinforces the beliefs about not becoming the monster you are attempting to subdue, nice little nods that will further lead to his persona in the future.