Review: Gotham (S2 E5/22), Monday 8th February, Channel 5

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gotham-rise-of-the-villains-scarification-previewWith Penguin firmly in the grip of sinister Theo Galavan, and Jim Gordon not yet aware of his villainy, Gotham City seems set for a takeover – but there’s a new criminal on the block in the form of arsonist Firefly, and she (yes, she) presents a more immediate danger.

It’s interesting to see Penguin, so emotively played by Robin Lord Taylor, reduced to tearful impotence by the kidnapping of his mother; but of course, he remains dangerous, beating one of his own men to a pulp, and is still determined to unearth Galavan’s secrets.

Gordon, meanwhile, is shutting down Penguin’s operations, and in the process hits weapons market The Merc. A detonating perp gives a clue that there’s something flammable in the air; Penguin has recruited a gang of arsonists to spread chaos, while stealing something essential to Galavan’s plan from Waynecorp.

Sid Bunderslaw, Waynecorp stooge, gets his comeuppance when his eye (but not the rest of him) is needed to penetrate security; and Penguin finds out from local historian Edwige just what the Galavans have against the Waynes – a murky tale of sexual intrigue, false accusations and murder.

With the help of a little bald man, Father Creel, and his army of unkillable assassins, the Galavans are determined to regain what they lost to the Waynes. Is this shadowy cult the ‘Court of Owls’ which makes recurring appearances in recent Batman continuity?

Bridget (Michelle Ventimiglia), the appealing kid sister of the appalling Pikes, gets the tough jobs, suiting up and wielding a flamethrower to pull off the arson attacks. In the process one of Gordon’s strike force dies (see, we told you they were only introduced as cannon-fodder). Bridget escapes with the help of Selina, but we can’t help feeling she’s doomed – she’s too good a person to survive a career of villainy.

Poor old Butch Gilzean gets his hand chopped off to make his defection from Penguin to Galavan seem plausible; as he’s one of the more likeable of the villains, we feel for him, but can’t help wondering what he could attach to that stump.

Even more bizarre is the sight of Jim and Lee sharing a fondue with Ed Nygma and Ms Kringle – we wish the scene had gone on longer, so we could see which couple performed best at Charades.

Nice to hear that Selina at least has some faith that Fish Mooney will come back from the dead; is this a hint that she might, maybe at the end of the season? Certainly Galavan has to fall in due course – he can’t be allowed to complete his plot to kill little Bruce Wayne – so there’ll be a power vacuum again. And nature abhors a vacuum.

Chris Jenkins

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