Review: Gotham (S2 E20/22), Monday 30th May, Channel 5

GOTHAM: L-R: Ben McKenzie, guest stars Tonya Pinkins and BD Wong Cory in the "Wrath of the Villains: Unleashed" episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, May 2 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX

Previously on Gotham… Theo Galavan, back from the dead and reprogrammed as assassin Azrael, has attacked GCPD, leaving Captain Barnes injured; Oswald Cobblepot has set out for revenge, and Ed Nygma has discovered the secret of Indian Hills, making him more determined to break out of Arkham.

As this season gallops hysterically towards its finale, we get more of a sense than ever before that this is a comic-book scenario; a revengeful caped loon is stalking the streets, Penguin is sharing a dining-room with his slaughtered step-family, and Professor Strange is doing the maddest of mad scientist acts. Any pretence that Gotham is the tale of everyday criminals has totally gone out of the window.

This leaves Jim Gordon in an unenviable position, trying to stem the tide of lunacy with increasingly inadequate tactics. As we’ll see, extreme acts of criminality demand extreme measures.

Professor Strange runs rings around Gordon and Bullock, shredding all his important documents before the two turn up to search Arkham for evidence relating to the resurrection of Galavan; Bruce Wayne takes a more direct course, sending Selina Kyle in to search for Bridget Pike (incidentally, we haven’t previously commented on Selina’s new hairdo – where in the slums did she get that styled? And do we like it? Well, let’s not get all Hello here. )

Gordon is of course also preoccupied with Galavan, who has been twisting the heads off priests in search of a replacement for his shattered sword. Tabitha points Gordon to a family vault where the three clash; Galavan recovers a sword, and stabs Tabitha; but she’s not dead, and neither, we learn, is Captain Barnes. For an assassin, Azrael isn’t too good at polishing off his victims, and Gotham  seems rather reluctant to dispose of any major characters too.

There’s a touching scene where love-struck Butch defends the hospitalised Tabitha from a revengeful Penguin; who’d have thought that Butch would turn out to be one of the more sympathetic characters in Gotham? He forges an uneasy alliance with Penguin to take down Galavan.

Selina gets into Arkham’s air ducts, where she meets Ed trying to get out – the first real encounter between these two proto-supervillains – and Azrael turns up at Wayne Manor, giving Alfred a chance to try his sword-fighting skills. As with Jim Gordon and Victor Fries, it doesn’t seem to occur to Alfred that there’s no point shooting at the body of an armoured man – go for the headshot, Alf!

Intercut scenes show Selina evading the Arkham guards, while Bruce and Alfred fight off Azrael; not even running over him with a sedan is enough to finish him off, but Butch and Penguin have the right idea, turning up just in time to blow Azrael to pieces with a bazooka.

This scene with its hilariously anthemic music and crackling dialogue marks the most enjoyably over-the-top moment yet in Gotham; how are they going to top this in the finale?

Well, Ed gets caught on his way out of Arkham, and Selina discovers Bridget, only to find her in full Firefly mode and eager to test her shiny new flame-thrower. Cat obviously isn’t going to fry, but she may get singed.

Chris Jenkins

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