Gotham, Episode 26, “Strike Force” Broadcast on October 12, 2015
Written by Danny Cannon
Directed by T.J. Scott
“Previously on Gotham,” Theo says he will have his erased forefathers’ legacy revenged, Gordon spills blood for Penguin, Essen is killed by Theo’s maniacs lead by Jerome, Bruce wants Alfred to train him and he admits to Selena that he misses her. At a charity event Theo kills Jerome to make himself look like a hero. In the present, a large gathering of thieves bicker at Cobblepot’s table. He picks up a shotgun and fires off a shell. “Gentlemen. Ladies. Others. Let’s the discuss the future with a little civility, shall we?” He’s upset that not one criminal present knows who orchestrated the escape of the maniacs from Arkham Asylum. He orders an ending to the chaos that’s ensued with these escapees’ havoc; he orders a stop to all murders and kidnapping unless he’s informed, thus restoring “trust in our brand.” Tabitha Galavan appears after the mob has left, saying her brother wants to meet with Oswald, alone. At Gotham Police Headquarters, Captain Nathaniel Barnes smashes a chair to get the arguing officers’ attention. After asserting his authority with some history and anger, he fires seven officers for being low level criminals. One complains and Barnes arrests him. Joining Barnes in his office after being asked, Gordon is made his number two. “We’re gonna fix this department and bring respect for law and order back to this city.” Once out of the man’s office, Jim is shadowed by Bullock who tells him Barnes is a problem. “We’ve seen his kind before. Idealists.” Gordon discounts his partner. At Galavan’s, Theo is watching the news where he learns he’s a rising star to fill the vacant mayor’s position, though he hasn’t announced his candidacy. Oswald and Tabitha enter, and their host greets them. Barbara enters, kissing sister then brother. Penguin realizes Theo is responsible for the inmates’ escape and their crime spree. Theo reveals a massive construction project requiring several residential areas’ destruction. As mayor, he’ll be able to make it happen, but he needs the competition taken out, by Penguin. Cobblepot refuses until the ultimate leverage against him is revealed. Cue opening title sequence and first commercial break.
After last week’s incredible Jerome coda, this episode starts to put the players in position for a longer arc. Gordon gets some good air time, with Ben McKenzie holding his own against Michael Chiklis as a driven Barnes. Why does it feel like Barnes has got a target already written on him? Theo also gets a lot to do, introducing grateful Bruce to a family member that’s going to figure prominently in Bruce’s future, who will undoubtedly catch the ire of Selina. Speaking of Miss Kyle, Wow! — What a scene between her and Alfred! Camren Bicondova and Sean Pertwee’s scene is short but the highlight of the night! Also good to see was Bruce beginning his training in an unexpected way, and someone finally getting the nerve to ask someone out to an unexpected place.
The good: Ben McKenzie, David Mazouz, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor (crushing it in the episode’s final two shots), and Camren Bicondova. Alfred and Selina, training starting, the introduction of a new family member, the green glow outside the dinner date that foreshadows a character’s future, and an outstanding image. Director T.J. Scott had some fantastic shots, especially when Penguin was emotional.
Fun lines: “That ginger maniac had to go and spoil everything,” “I’m your new boss,” “Don’t make me mad,” “It grew on me,” “I suggest you not make the same mistake,” “You will be my destroyer,” “That’s for Reggie,” “This is it,” “Take what you deserve,” and “I’ve got it under control.”
The bad: I’m a huge fan of Danny Elfman and I sure hope he’s getting some money from this show because this episode was doing all that it could to echo his music when someone nutty appeared on the screen. As much as I love the Elfman scores, go in a new direction, Gotham! I couldn’t believe the press conference continued after the hit — that was too much of a 1960’s Batman moment.
The final line: People are moving into position for a longer arc and it’s entertaining, but doesn’t have the wallop as last week with Jerome’s exit. Overall grade: B