Contributing Guest Reporter
(Victor Valley)– Following a somewhat mediocre freshman season, the cast of Gotham knew they had to come out swinging in their second season. With the tagline “Rise of the Villains”, Gotham not only swung, but hit it out of the park.
With several villains rising, the biggest bad so far has been James Frain’s Theo Galavan. In his personal crusade against Bruce Wayne, he managed to push James Gordon and The Penguin into a murderous rage and wreak havoc throughout the city.
While Galavan’s star was rising, Penguin was reduced to being his personal hitman and lost much of the credibility he earned with his ascent during the first season. Fortunately, he was able to get back some of his swagger toward the mid-season finale as he partnered with Gordon and Edward Nygma to go after the newly elected Mayor of Gotham (Galavan).
While Galavan may have been the main villain this season, his hired gun Jerome stole the show early on. The would-be Joker caused chaos following his escape from Arkham. Headlining a brazen attack on the Gotham police station and a gruesome introduction to his new team, Jerome and his group of “Maniax” spread terror and creepy laughter while in Galavan’s employ.
With Jerome throwing bodies off of buildings, another “Maniac” got a chance to come into her own as well. Barbara Kean, last seen murdering her parents after a terrible relationship with Jim Gordon, has developed from annoying jilted lover to full-fledged villain. While she was terribly unlikeable in the first season, she became a fan favorite and a front-runner to become the murderous Harley Quinn (or her predecessor) in her sophomore run.
Edward Nygma is another villain who began to come into his own this season. After spending last season as a creepy and obsessive nerd, a much needed personality disorder finally gave him the push he needed to begin fulfilling his riddle-laden destiny. In a great scene that takes place after he murders his lady love, his alternate personality hides her body and leaves him riddles in order to find it hidden in the morgue. I am very much looking forward to his character making the full conversion to costumed villain in the not-too-distant future.
One of the low points of the new season is the revelation of James Gordon as a murderer. By killing a mob boss for Penguin, Jim is able to have himself reinstated by a retiring Commissioner Loeb (at Cobblepot’s not-so-friendly request). He then assists Penguin in killing Theo Galavan in cold blood. James Gordon has never been perfect, but putting these types of murders in his history brings down the honor and integrity of the Commissioner to be.
While Gordon was killing criminals and working with Penguin, Bruce Wayne continued his slow march toward the cape and cowl. Discovering the Batcave and working with Luscious Fox on the destroyed computer, Bruce is getting closer than ever to discovering who killed his parents. As the season developed, Bruce seemed gullible and slightly annoying until he turned the tables on Silver St. Cloud and got her to crack. This dark and win-at-all-costs attitude has helped his character to feel more like the future Dark Knight than ever.
Finally, the fall finale offered a glimpse into the future when the show returns from winter hiatus. With Galavan possibly coming back to life (via Hugo Strange) and Mr. Freeze making a brief appearance, Gordon and Gotham City will have their hands full this spring. On a side note, if Galavan can be revived, Jerome could also be brought back from the dead to assume his place as the Clown Prince of Crime.
Overall, the series has taken several steps forward in its second season. By focusing on what makes Gotham City dark and in need of saving (the colorful and deadly cast of villains), Gotham has grown and shown more guts and character development than the entire first season. Gotham has been a very entertaining watch that leaves fans counting the days until the second half of the season begins.