‘Gotham’ 2.20 Recap: “The Bad Guys in This Town Keep Getting Weirder and Weirder”

This may just be me, but every time I hear James Frain screaming the name “Azrael!” on ‘Gotham’, I inevitably think he’s much more of a Gargamel. Groan if you must.

Jim Gordon may not be a cop anymore, but his former partner Harvey still is. The two of them arrive at Arkham Asylum armed with a search warrant to go through Prof. Strange’s office. Even the corrupt judges in Gotham can’t ignore the fact that Theo Galavan, who supposedly died and was cremated under Strange’s supervision, is now back in town making a very public spectacle of himself. Sadly, the by time Jim and Harvey get there, Strange had just finished shredding all his files for spring cleaning. What unfortunate timing. Strange gloats that their warrant specifically only covers his office, not the rest of the building.

After the police leave, Strange is considerably less smug about the fact that Galavan/Azrael has gone missing and not checked in.

Having gotten a peek at the horrors in the Indian Hills lab beneath the asylum, Ed Nygma returns to his cell dejected. He’ll need to find another way to escape. Luckily, the giant air vent above his cot decides to rattle and draw attention to itself just then.

As for Azrael, he turns up in a church, looking for a new holy weapon now that his (fake) sword is broken. The priest informs him that they have no weapons in the church, so Azrael kills him.

Capt. Barnes survived his attack by Azrael but is in critical condition at the hospital. Meanwhile, news of Theo Galavan’s return is all over the television. Penguin watches this and declares that he’s coming to get his old nemesis.

With Barnes out of commission, and Jim off the police force, Harvey is left in charge of the GCPD. Reluctant at first, he gives a big speech to rally the troops.

Bruce Wayne is once again impatient to get justice for his parents’ murder and is frustrated that Jim has gotten nowhere with Strange. He has Alfred drop him off in the city so he can find Selina. Alfred doesn’t think this is a good idea, but Bruce convinces him that it’s time to let him go.

Spooked by seeing her brother back from the dead on the news, Tabitha packs up some things to skip town. Butch begs her to stay with him. Before she can leave, Jim and Harvey interrupt to question her. She tells them her family’s legend of Azrael, the mythical immortal assassin. She also says that she recognized the sword Theo was carrying around. The real one is buried with her grandfather. If Theo is convinced that he has become Azrael, he will undoubtedly go for it.

Bruce finds Selina feeding pigeons in a coop on top of a building. (Actress Camren Bicondova has had a noticeable growth spurt and no longer looks like a little girl.) He asks for her help breaking into Arkham Asylum to get dirt on Strange. She thinks that’s crazy, until he mentions that her friend Bridgit Pike (the pyro who suicided-by-cop earlier this season) was brought to Arkham after she died. It’s likely that Strange revived her the way he did Galavan and Victor Fries. Selina volunteers to go to Arkham herself. It’s too risky for Bruce to go, because he’d be in deep shit if he got caught, but nobody cares about her.

Tabitha brings Jim and Harvey to her family crypt. They open her grandfather’s tomb and find the sword inside. Azrael comes in behind them (seriously, were none of them watching the only entrance?) and fights them to steal the sword. Tabitha tries to get through to her brother by reminding him who he is, but the only memory she’s able to dredge up is of Bruce Wayne, which reminds him that he swore a vendetta to kill the boy. With no feelings for her whatsoever, Galavan stabs his sister in the gut and absconds with the sword.

Jim commandeers a police car (the tires on his are slashed) and chases after Azrael. He calls Wayne Manor and warns Alfred that Theo Galavan is coming for Bruce.

Selina gets past the Arkham gates in a laundry truck (which is conveniently doing a delivery in the middle of the night) and breaks into the asylum through an air vent on the roof. Deep into the building, she runs into Ed Nygma pulling his own John McClane routine. They recognize each other and strike a deal. She’ll tell him how to get to the roof if he’ll tell her how to get to the lab in the basement.

Tabitha survived her stabbing, but (much like Capt. Barnes) is laid up at the hospital. As Butch stands vigil over her bed, he’s interrupted by Penguin, who suggests that they should team up to exact revenge against Galavan.

Alfred and Bruce go around Wayne Manor securing all the windows and doors when they find a window broken. Azrael is already in the house. He strikes, and Alfred fights him off, but Azrael overpowers him and tosses him out another window. Bruce runs.

The guards discover that Nygma isn’t in his cell and sound the alarm. Selina finds the secret elevator to the basement. When she gets down there, she hides and eavesdrops on Strange and Peabody talking about Theo Galavan. Expecting Harvey to come back with a broader search warrant next time, they plan to move all the patients from the basement.

Azrael stalks Bruce through the mansion and finds him in the garage. Bruce rams him with a car, but Azrael really does seem unstoppable and catches the boy with a whip around the throat. Jim Gordon arrives and shoots Azrael a whole bunch of times until he runs out of bullets. Unfortunately, Galavan’s armor deflects all the shots and he remains standing. Just then, Penguin steps in, snickering. He admonishes Jim to, “Always bring the right tools for the job.” Right behind him is Butch, hauling a rocket launcher. With a hilariously cheesy rockin’ guitar riff on the soundtrack, Butch fires a rocket, blowing Theo Galavan right to Hell. He won’t be coming back this time.

Nygma makes his way to the air vent on the roof, but is immediately caught by asylum guards just as he thinks he’s gained his freedom.

Selina searches the lab until she finds Bridgit, fully dressed up in a sleek new costume. Her friend, obviously brainwashed, doesn’t recognize Selina. She declares that her name isn’t Bridgit; it’s Firefly. The episode ends as she sparks up her flamethrower to attack.

Episode Verdict

Selina will be fine, of course. There’s no suspense to that as a cliffhanger. Much more significant is the (permanent, this time) death of Theo Galavan. Although I didn’t really care for the Azrael storyline and felt that the character was turned too goofy, I expected that he would eventually revert back to his old self. I guess not. This seems like an undignified end for him. It probably would have been better if he’d stayed dead the first time.

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