Gotham – Rise of the Villains, Episode 4: “Strike Force”

Fox’s Gotham
Season 2, Episode 4: “Strike Force”
Directed by T.J. Scott
Written by Danny Cannon

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Last Laugh” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Scarification” – click here
IMG_0121Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) is dealing with the fallout from the “ginger maniac” throwing the Gotham underworld into disarray. He wants “discipline and unit” amongst the gangs. Everything needs to go by the book, through the so-called King himself. A little order. Then he gets a visit from Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas), proposing a meeting with Theo (James Frain).
At the Gotham PD, Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis) shows up. He’s the new boss, and he commands respect. He’s not pleased with the massacre, how criminals simply walked through the doors and killed their people. He calls out a bunch of names, proceeding to fire a bunch of cops he sees as “lowlife criminals.” Looks like it really might be a new day. Something Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) wanted long ago, yet now he’s kind of caught in a divide. Afterwards, Barnes calls Gordon in for a talk. He likes the younger detective, making him second-in-command. Let’s hope Jim’s latest involvement with Penguin doesn’t muddy things up too much. Harvey (Donal Logue) warns his buddy, too, understanding idealists and Gotham don’t mix so well.
IMG_0122Enjoying life as the hero, without Jerome around, Theo receives a visit from Penguin. The two men discuss things. Penguin realises the brains behind the Maniax, all that chaos, is sitting right in front of him. He further makes clear he’s not to be underestimated, either. And that’s true. Theo suggests quite a plan, wanting to rebuild the city. This first requires destruction.
That’s where he sees Penguin coming in to help. Theo wants to run for Mayor of Gotham, which means he’ll need the other candidates dead. When Penguin refuses, Tabitha shows him that they have his dear mother Gertrude (Carol Kane) held captive. If he doesn’t do what they want, she’ll die. God damn.
Barnes and Gordon talk more together. The new captain’s impressed with him, he likes the way Jim works and how he gets things done. He wants to start a team of good cops, not the dirty ones; cadets getting right out of school, not “jaded” or corrupted yet. They go meet Gus Freeman (Danny Johnson) at the academy, he shows them the best of the best, as they look for the right candidates. They find Josie (Paulina Singer), Garrett (Lenny Platt), Martinez (Lucas Salvagno), and Pinkney (Ian Quinlan). They are the GCPD Strike Force. Ironic, no? The man who played Vic Mackey on The Shield putting together another Strike Team? Any fans out there?
Meanwhile, Theo’s being given a Medal of Bravery for defending Gotham City. Right as someone makes an attempt on his life. Ah, yes – the plan is unfolding. He goes right on with his speech. Telling the citizens they will “not be intimidated.” He announces his candidacy for Mayor. Perfect, villainous timing, while Penguin is busy, out visiting the other candidates for Mayor.
IMG_0123While Alfred (Sean Pertwee) waits for Bruce (David Mazouz), Selina (Camren Bicondova) shows up. That’s when the butler slaps her across the face, chasing her off, not wanting her to be in the young billionaire’s life. After that he has training for Master Bruce to do, such as running home.
Poor mentally ill Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith). He’s practising his lines for Kristen Kringle (Chelsea Spack) on a prop skeleton. His other side tells him: “Take what you deserve.” He believes he’s entitled to Ms. Kringle. That is some scary shit. He begins by asking her out confidently to dinner, but I worry what more could come of it.
At the GCPD, Barnes initiates the Strike Force, telling the new recruits the “city is bleeding to death.” They must stop the flow. No more free passes, for anybody. Justice will be served. Extreme prejudice. This is right when they get the news about one of the dead mayoral candidates. Gordon and Bullock figure out that none other than Penguin was at the scene. I can see where this is going; nowhere good for Jim.
Bruce meets Theo at a fancy restaurant. They sit, speaking about what happened at the fundraiser. Of course the kid believes the man is a hero. Theo talks of the death of his parents, coming to him as a kind of saviour, acting like there’s a possibility he could help find their killer. He’s also got a niece, Silver St. Cloud (Natalie Alyn Lind), the perfect distraction for a young, curious billionaire.
IMG_0124There are troubling things happening across Gotham. Such as Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) visiting Hobbs, one of the other mayoral candidates. The creepy killer does his thing, unsettling everybody before murdering them. The GCPD Strike Force arrive to save Hobbs himself. Zsasz takes a bullet, but gets away.
Mr. Nygma is preparing dinner for him and Ms. Kringle. He’s hosting at his apartment, cooking up a fancy dinner. They have a nice chat over food, music, drinks. He does slip up a bit, mentioning nastiness he ought not mention. When he starts talking to himself, Kristen catches him. Although he makes it out as less a psychotic thing than it is, which she understands. This keeps her from walking out.
Jim goes to see Penguin, he isn’t happy. He wants to know why the King of Gotham would be messing around with the mayoral race. Penguin is on edge with his mother at the end of the knife, and he starts talking the way Jim wishes he wouldn’t, about the debt, Baker’s death. Just as I predicted. Not looking good, particularly with a pro-justice captain leading the charge nowadays at the GCPD. Will Jim fess up and clear the air to take care of business? Or will it come out without his control?
IMG_0125Love the direction this is headed. Interesting take on Jim Gordon, as always, only gets better with time. Also, I’m a huge Chiklis fan, ever since Vic Mackey days. Glad to see him kicking around.
“Scarification” comes to us next.

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