‘Gotham’ 2.11 Recap: “Thank Goodness for Simple Men of Principle”

After this week’s episode, ‘Gotham’ will take a break until late February. Fortunately, unlike some other popular shows, this one actually delivered a pretty exciting and satisfying mid-season finale that should leave fans eager for the series to come back next year.

Picking up where we last left off, Alfred is still alive. I don’t think that comes as any surprise. He rode the garbage truck to the city dump, where Tabitha and some goons chase him around. He hides in an old refrigerator (don’t try this in real life, kids), which gets covered by a pile of trash, throwing Tabitha off his trail.

Back at Wayne Manor, Lucius Fox exits the secret basement office (has he been down there for the past few months?) to deliver the good news that he’s fixed Thomas Wayne’s computer, only to find nobody home and see signs of a struggle.

Galavan has kidnapped Bruce. He introduces him to Father Creal (Ron Rifkin), who informs the boy that he will be ritually sacrificed to wash the sins of his family away in his blood. That doesn’t sound pleasant.

Jim Gordon wakes up in Nygma’s apartment and sees Nygma and Penguin acting chummy and palling around. This prompts the obvious question: “What the hell?” Indeed, that’s the reaction I’d give in the same circumstance. Penguin informs him that they’re good friends now and proposes that they all work together to take down Galavan.

Galavan’s niece Silver feigns a cold and tries to bow out of the ritual that evening because she doesn’t want to watch Bruce die. Galavan sees through the act and calls her soft. He gives the girl an ultimatum. She must prove her worth by successfully seducing Bruce Wayne again (even though he knows she betrayed him) and trick him into declaring his love for her. If she fails, she’ll be worthless to the family and Galavan implies that he’ll kill her.

Silver visits Bruce in his cell. She apologizes for what she did to him and blames her uncle for forcing her to do it. Bruce is wary of her, but allows her to stay and talk with him. What else does he have to do in the hours before his death?

Alfred digs his way out of the trash heap and attempts to carjack a ride back to the city, only to get tased by a beat cop who saw the incident.

With Gordon mysteriously missing, Capt. Barnes thinks he’s dirty and puts out an APB to find him.

Bruce claims that his favorite animal is an owl. (Not a bat? Hmm.) Silver chats about dolphins. The two kids start to bond a little over their respective dead parents.

At work, Nygma gives Lee a riddle clue that points her to find Jim and Penguin. She begs Jim to give up everything and leave town with her, but Jim is determined to stop Galavan at all costs. Lee then drops the bombshell that she’s pregnant, forcing him to reconsider his priorities.

Silver tells Bruce that she can help him escape. This seems like an obvious trick, but what has he got to lose? They overcome a guard and make a break for it through the underground tunnels beneath Galavan’s skyscraper, only to be intercepted by Galavan, who expresses his disappointment with Silver and tosses them both in another cell together.

Lucius goes to the police station to report Bruce missing. Capt. Barnes is skeptical. He needs proof that Galavan kidnapped the boy before he can issue an arrest warrant. Even when Alfred (who’s been hauled in for the carjacking incident) tells the story about Tabitha attacking him, Barnes still insists that he needs more. Harvey finds this incredibly frustrating.

When Nygma overhears Harvey, Lucius and Alfred talking about Jim, he can’t help himself from blurting out another riddle that Lucius very quickly (to Nygma’s surprise) deciphers. This leads the trio to locate Jim, just as he’s about to leave town with Lee. They tell him about Bruce, and Lee gives up. She knows she can’t change Jim, so she leaves alone.

Silver tells Bruce that she loves him, but he’s a smart boy and knows that she’s playing him. With sincerity rather than contempt, he tells Silver that he pities her.

As the group arms up to go after Galavan and rescue Bruce, Jim and Penguin have a disagreement over whether to arrest Galavan or kill him. Lucius expresses concern that none of them really has much of a plan beyond charging into Galavan’s compound and shooting the hell out of the place, but that seems to be enough for everyone else. Selina arrives to offer her help as well. She says that she can get them into the building.

When Galavan comes to collect Bruce, the boy puts on a show of kissing Silver and telling her he loves her. The feelings may not be genuine, but he still has compassion. Galavan is impressed that his niece passed her test.

Bruce is forced to put on a white robe and gets marched into the middle of a crazy religious ceremony while Creal and the monks chant “Death to the Son of Gotham” over and over. When Creal draws a big knife, Silver screams to distract him. Galavan is disappointed with her again.

Selina fulfills her promise and gets Harvey, Alfred, Penguin and a small army of Penguin’s lackeys into Galavan’s building. They race up a winding staircase – except for Harvey, who gets winded halfway up – and charge in to interrupt the ritual. Thus commences a lot of shooting, fighting and stabbing. Father Creal leaps at Jim with his knife, but Harvey steps in at the last second to blow him away.

Bruce Wayne is saved, but Galavan and Tabitha grab Silver and flee to the top floor where they have two parachutes stashed. Tabitha asks what they’ll do with Silver, and he says it’s time to kill her. At this point, Tabitha (who likes Silver) has had enough of her brother being such an asshole. She conks him over the head and puts his parachute on Silver, then (in a really terrible CGI shot) the two of them leap out of the building and glide to safety.

Jim finds Galavan moments later and considers shooting him, but Galavan isn’t worried. He knows that Jim will just arrest him, and he can weasel out of any charges. Capt. Barnes arrives and orders Jim to stand down. He also tries to arrest Jim too and says he’ll sort everything out later. Just then, Penguin sneaks up behind Barnes and knocks him unconscious. He still wants to kill Galavan and tells Jim to “Think of the greater good.”

As Alfred walks Bruce out of the building, the boy insists that he had a perfectly feasible escape plan that he was just about to enact when the others barged in. You know, I kind of believe him.

Jim and Penguin stash Galavan in a car trunk and drive to the city docks. If I’m not mistaken, it’s the same location where Jim spared Penguin’s life in the show’s pilot episode. Galavan acts smarmy again. He doesn’t believe that either of them has the balls to actually kill him. Penguin is determined to prove him wrong, and beats the hell out of him with a baseball bat. Jim stops him short of killing Galavan. Again, Galavan feels confident that goody two-shoes Jim Gordon will do the right thing and haul him down to the police station for booking. Unfortunately, he’s wrong. Jim pulls his gun and shoots Galavan dead.

Much later, Jim finds Lee and proposes to her. We don’t get to see her answer.

A coroner wheels a body bag into the sketchy Indian Hill facility. Overheard dialogue talks about the corpse being freshly dead and references characters “Ms. Peabody” and “Professor Strange” – the latter of whom is a villain from the comics. The body bag is unzipped to reveal Galavan’s body with Penguin’s umbrella shoved down his throat. Ouch.

Finally, the first half of the season closes with a non sequitur coda in which a random victim runs through a parking lot until he’s cornered and attacked by a man wearing a strange suit who appears to blast him with a freeze ray. This obviously must be the introduction of Batman villain Mr. Freeze.

Episode Verdict

The very final scene has nothing to do with the episode before it and feels awkwardly shoehorned in, like a post-credits teaser at the end of a Marvel movie but without any distance between it and the other scenes. I think I’d prefer it if Mr. Freeze just got a proper introduction after the hiatus.

Other than that, this is a very interesting and exciting episode that takes a really surprising dark turn at the end. For as much as we’ve seen Jim compromise his morals throughout this season, I still didn’t think he’d outright execute Galavan. That action will undoubtedly have some ramifications. For one thing, there’s no way Capt. Barnes will believe any story Jim concocts to cover it up.

Is this really the end of the Galavan storyline? I expected him to be the primary villain for the entire season, but it appears that the show-runners want to shift gears in the second half. At the same time, perhaps his last scene is mean to imply some sort of resurrection will occur. That might be a stretch even by this show’s standards, but we’ll have to see how it’s handled.

In the meantime, the next episode feels like it’s an eternity away.


  1. Csm101

    Hey josh, did you see in the morgue, what could’ve possibly been Fish Mooney’s body in one of the tanks? If that’s the case, I can see them bringing the joker kid back to life se la well. Maybe that’s what the “Rise of the Villains” will ultimately mean. Just speculating of course.

    • Josh Zyber

      I missed that! Will have to rewatch that scene.

      I wonder if the show is planning to bring in some of the magical and mystical stuff involving Lazarus Pits and whatnot from the Batman mythos. If so, I’ll have very mixed feelings about that.

  2. T.J. Kats

    Agree that this was an excellent episode and way to end go on a break.

    Jim actually killing Galavan was really surprising and well done I thought.

    Also in the end scene(s) they were introducing two characters. Besides freeze they are introducing Hugo Strange. He was the person referenced at the morgue.

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