Assemble | Gotham “Rise of the Villains: Strike Force” Review
What a last episode Gotham had. GCPD is in shambles, Jerome met an untimely fate, Galvan is positioning himself to be a mayoral candidate and Bruce is going back to school. This week’s episode, “Rise of the Villains: Strike Force,” while much slower, was still a good episode that moved the eventual plot along.
Somewhat missing in all this Maniax mayhem was Cobblepot and his new crew. Being the self-proclaimed King of Gotham, you’d expect he’d have some knowledge of who turned Gotham inside out. But, he definitely doesn’t have a clue, not until Tabitha told him Theo wanted to meet him anyway. At the meetings, Cobblepot quickly connects the dots and realizes that this is all a play for him to take over Gotham. But it turns out that he wants Cobblepot to be his lapdog and take out his opponents. When Galavan explains what he wants to build, Cobblepot is taken aback and mentions that thousands of homes would need to be destroyed, and that he’s more of a builder, a problem solver. Cobblepot was quick with the wit when he tells Galavan, “You need an assassin. This is Gotham; you can find them in the phonebook under A.”
I love the fact that, even though Cobblepot is a villain, he has an affinity for the Gotham he knows. He’s much deeper than say Victor Zsasz, and actually wants to control Gotham in a civil way. And by civil he means as civil as he sees fit, anyway. So how do they force Cobblepot to follow through with the plan? By having his mother kidnapped and held hostage, naturally. With Penguin backed into a corner, we finally get to see how he acts under pressure.
Since he has no other option, he begins checking off the list for Galavan. He first kills Mrs. Caufield, which turned into quite the funny scene when she asks, “Are you here to kill me?,” and Cobblepot calmly states, “As a matter of fact, yes.” I love this side of Penguin because it’s so ruthless yet hilarious at the same time. Butch even has a couple nice lines when he tells her aids to just think of blue skies and cornfields. Victor Zsasz is also helping Cobblepot check off the list, but he runs into a bit of interference.
With the Captain getting killed last episode, there’s a new sheriff Captain in town, the well-known Michael Chiklis. He’s the hard-nosed, honest to the bone Captain that the GCPD needs. Although, the newly reinstated Bullock doesn’t feel as hopeful Jim does. Bullock knows that sometimes you have to do something a little dirty to get to the really dirty underbelly of Gotham. But, as honest and true as Jim is, Captain Barnes chooses Jim as his right hand man. The changes come fast as he lines up various dirty officers and fires them on the spot. What a change indeed. With a nice big hole in their police department, the Bullock and Gordon duo go out recruiting for a new task force.
It will be interesting to see if their straight-lined task force can finally do some good in Gotham. I can’t wait for the moment where they have that moral grey area and have to make a snap decision. Their first encounter with Zsasz proved that they are quite the bunch and made him run away from his target.
The list is at a standstill, and Cobbelpot is more stressed than we’ve ever seen him. So, Jim thinks it would be a perfect time to wave his ego in the air and tell them that the GCPD is completely clean and ready to go after anyone and everyone that might even have a hint of dirt for them to find. But, Cobblepot reminds him that he killed Ogden for a simple measly debt. Jim tries to play it off coy and says that he will get everything that’s coming to him, but you could tell he was tense about it.
To completely change scenarios, we have Bruce back at school. Although we don’t really get to see any interaction with him actually at school, we do see him awkwardly walk past his classmates. Before he can get back to the car, however, Selina drops in on Alfred at the car. He instantly slaps her, something that caught me slightly off-guard, and says that he knows it was her that killed Reggie. Alfred says that he doesn’t want to ever see Selina around Bruce. This scene was neat because it is the small seed that will later pit Bruce and Selina against one another. Once Bruce gets to the car, Alfred gives him some running shoes and tells him that he will see him at home. Bruce says, “You expect me to walk?” Alfred hilariously retorts, “No, I expect you to run.” This small scene is great because it shows the beginning stages of Alfred’s training for Bruce to later let him become Gotham’s savior.
Bruce does get a latter scene where he gets a love interest of sorts. While at Galavan’s party, he sees a girl playing in the fountain and is completely infatuated with her. I assume that Theo set this all up and is playing on all of Bruce’s teenage emotions. Silver St. Cloud will surely hang around for a while, as she’s a love interest in various Batman arcs.
To end out the happenings of this episode, we have another awkward scene with Nygma and Ms. Kringle. Nygma’s alter ego convinces him to very straight-forwardly tell her that she is going out with him and to meet him at a certain address for a date. Of course, she agrees. It turns out that Nygma is quite the chef. But, where his cooking skills are up to snuff, his subtletly is definitely not. Kringle mentions Doherty, and Nygma states that he’s happy he’s dead. He tries to cover it up, but it’s quite obvious she isn’t buying it. Well, until he tells her that sometimes he has voices in his mind that tell him what to do. Then, she seems pretty fine with the situation. They dorkily take off their glasses and share a kiss.
As much as I love the awkwardness of any and every scene that Nygma is in, they just feel weird for some unknown reason. I’m sure it’s due partly because Kringle is essentially a pretty useless character. I’m not saying that she needs to be all-powerful, nor does she need to be an assertive strong women. But her giving into Nygma’s machismo persona and not his dorky one is quite strange.
Alas, the final scene shows that Captain Barnes is ready to go all in and makes Cobblepot public enemy number one. Great thing for Gotham, not so much for Jim if his dirt comes from under the rug.