It has been a bumpy-old ride; from the urban gloom of series one to the cartoonish capers of series two, Gotham has steered an uneven course, veering from absurdity to brilliance, sometimes in the same episode – hell, in the same scene.
As Gotham gallops with foam-flecked lips towards its season finale, the temptation must be to work towards one big climax, preferably with a cliff-hanger ending and a taste of something to come next season. But no – in typical over-the-top fashion, we’re being bombarded with new characters, new plot lines, deaths, reversals and forebodings.
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.
On most crime shows, people who are dead stay dead. But Gotham is prepared to break all the rules – that’s surely part of its charm – so we weren’t that surprised when Hugo Strange managed to resurrect one of the corpses in his Indian Hill facility.
Events in Gotham are coming to a head; Jim Gordon’s out of jail, pardoned, and has nailed his persecutor Ed Nygma; Bruce Wayne has found the killer of his parents, ‘Matches’ Malone. But the question of who commissioned the killing of the Waynes remains, and only one person knows the answer to that – The Lady.
Have you ever been disappointed when your TV hero escapes from jail? We were, a bit, last week – not only because we were enjoying seeing how James Gordon took to life in the slammer, but also because we thought the villains deserved a bit of a rest from his relentless interference.
Oh, the irony! Jim Gordon’s in jail for a murder he didn’t commit, that of Riddler’s patsy, while we know he should be in jail for a murder he did commit, that of Theo Galavan. One way or another, he’s in for a rough ride in Blackgate Prison.
Every now and again, we find ourselves thinking that Gotham has lost its way; if an episode is to violent, too rushed, too unfocused, or if character consistency goes out of the window. Then we get an episode like this one, and our faith is restored. Oh, the glee when we realised what the producers had…
With Mr Freeze now on ice – a sadly short introduction for one of the most sympathetically portrayed of Gotham’s villains – we return to Bruce Wayne’s quest for vengeance. Will he find what he is looking for, and if he does, will it destroy him?
As the conclusion of what is essentially a two-part origin story for Mr Freeze, there are few big surprises in this episode; but there are so many incidental pleasures along the way that we’re inclined to treat it kindly.
While the second half of Season 2 of Gotham is titled Wrath of the Villains, in many ways it’s a goodbye – Theo Galavan, Tabitha and Silver St Cloud are pretty much out of the picture, and there’s a new baddie on the block; the cryogenic killer we know is to become Mr Freeze.
This is the climax we’ve been building up to, the (US pre-Christmas) mid-season finale, marking an end to the Theo Galavan plot, and the start of something new. Can the episode live up to expectations?