Previously on Gotham, “Pinewood”
After discovering that Professor Strange is the Philosopher, Gordon and Bruce question him about Project Chimera. Strange, in return, sends his latest creation, Azrael, the newly resurrected Galavan, to confront Gordon. Meanwhile, Nygma investigates who Strange really is.
Before I get into the review, I feel the need to talk a little about who Galavan is portraying in the show. The character Azrael was first introduced in the comics in 1992. According to the DC Comic database, Azrael is a title used by religious crusaders and vigilantes that was passed down since medieval times. They are agents of the Order of St. Dumas, an extremist Christian cult that brainwashes soldiers into trained assassins. One of those individuals given the Azrael mantel was a man named Jean-Paul Valley. Valley would later become an apprentice of Batman and take over for him during the events of Knightfall where (spoiler) the character Bane breaks Batman’s back. Azrael’s version of Batman was a lot darker and more violent than Bruce’s Batman, and when Bruce did return he had to take down Azrael. What it looks like they are doing for the show is combining the Azrael character with the fact that in the comics Professor Strange has created a host of monsters and Azrael is one of those monsters. In the comics, though, Strange does not create Azrael with Mr. Freeze technology as the show is doing here.
Okay, enough of our history lesson, let’s get to the episode. So, Strange brings Galavan back from the dead all Red Woman like, but he is, as Miss. Peabody puts it, “mad as a hatter.” Strange explains that he is not “mad” but just grasping at fractured memories and those memories are coming from a book he had memorized when he was alive called “The Will and Order of St. Dumas,” a family book pertaining to his 12th century crusading ancestors. Gordon interrupts the history lesson when he stops by Arkham to ask some questions about Pinewood Farms.
Strange tells Gordon that he was one of the researchers who convinced Thomas Wayne to shut down the program. Gordon does not believe that story and accuses Strange as being the one who ran the program. Meanwhile, looks like the lunatics are running the asylum and Ngyma is the CEO. After overhearing Strange and Peabody, he offers to help them take down Gordon. At first, Strange at first balks at the idea, but after Nygma rambles on about how he knows people by just “listening to their story,” he unlocks the answer to the Galavan mystery. And Galavan’s story is that of the redeemed one: Azrael.
Bullock, Gordon, and Bruce brainstorm on how to get Strange. Bruce is getting impatient and wants to go in and get Strange legally or otherwise. Bruce reveals that he knows what Gordon did to Galavan and he wants the same fate for Strange. Gordon tells him that he made the wrong choice with Galavan and he will always pay for that choice. He does not want Bruce to make the same mistake.
Hey, where did they get that Order of Duma documentary? Anyway, Strange attempts to reprogram Galavan into his champion. Through this reprograming the watcher will get a glimpse into what Professor Strange will be doing to “focus” his creations to do his bidding as the season continues.
Getting back to the action, Nygma gets out of his cage and his curiosity gets the best of him. He follows Miss Peabody down a hallway as she leads one of the other inmates to see the artist formally known as Galavan. But he gets lost in the maze of Arkham’s hallways… or is this just another riddle for him to solve. Nygma is not leaving without finding out the mystery of Arkham and gets his crew of lunatics to help him out. While Nygma tries to solve the mystery, Strange and Peabody give Azrael the ancient Sword of Sin… purchased off of Amazon just yesterday. Prime, y’all.
With his sword in hand, Azrael goes after Gordon, but Bullock come to the rescue. Bruce is present to see Azrael in action and we can only imagine how this will influence him and his future crime fighting persona. To protect Gordon, Barnes arrests him, but Azrael comes for him.
“James Gordon… you have failed this city!”
Azrael puts the smack down on the GCPD as Gordon goes to get a bigger gun. Gordon comes back a little too late as it is revealed that Galavan is Azrael and he stabs Barnes. Galavan attempts to get away but is shot, several times with Gordon’s really big gun, and falls from the roof on live television. He lives, but shows the world that Galavan is not dead and Gotham is getting exciting.
Best Scene: Gordon is always the one who gets to ask the questions, but in this scene with Professor Strange the tables are turned and Gordon is the one being questioned. “Why are you here?” However, Gordon is good at the back and forth game and fools Strange into giving something up.
Honorable Mention: As Gordon and Barnes argue, we see a figure swing into the scene and hides in the shadows… Batman style. Azrael is here!
Honorable Mention: Galavan does exactly what he is told and slays a demon with a metal suitcase. Next time, Strange will have to be more specific with his orders. Tell him to open the case first.
Best Line(s): Gordon attempting to convince Bruce that killing Galavan was a mistake – he stated that crossing that line was the wrong choice “you will pay for it. Over and over again like I have been… like I still am. And it will make you more like the evil you are trying to fight. You need to be better.”
Honorable Mention: Barnes is pissed at Gordon and tells him he does not want to hear excuses. He knows he busted out Karen Jennings. He tells Bullock to shut up and asks Gordon “tell me it wasn’t you!“ He says “Why do I keep falling for your games? It is a mystery to me. Every time you come back I truly believe that you have changed. You are like some sort of optical illusion.” It is more about the delivery than the actual words.
Most Ridiculous Scene: Nygma talking to Lucy the friendly ghost.
Geek Out Moment: We see Azrael swinging from the rooftops looking a bit like Batman – and we know he’ll become a version of that character one day.
Honorable Mention: Strange is reading about his next big project. It has a girl named Alice and a cat. “I don’t want to go around mad people, Alice remarked. Oh you can’t help that, referenced the cat…we are all mad here.” Mad Hatter anyone?
This episode had some great moments as cheesy as they were. Galavan being turned into Azrael was flamboyantly satisfying with the documentary and fake sword. I also enjoyed Peabody’s and Strange’s back and forth; it was great. We even got to see what might be coming and I have a feeling it will be “mad.” All in all it was action-packed and well-paced. And the episode ends with Nygma looking for the secret door with the 1948 song “I am looking for a four leaf clover” playing in the background. Nygma finds his “four leaf clover” as Galavan looks over the city skyline doing his best Darth Vader impression and thinking avenging thoughts.