Gotham: Rise of the Villains – Season 2 Review
Gotham - even without Batman - goes from strength to strength.
Gotham has done well to defy expectations and build on a slow, almost whimsical start, developing into a quirky but compelling – and surprisingly Burton-esque – expansion of the Bat-universe.Season 2 of Gotham – sometimes titled Rise of the Villains; sometimes called Wrath of the Villains – takes the events of the first season and aims for epic in scale, delivering a succession of villains – both new and old – across its expansive 22 episodes, as overwhelmed detectives Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock attempt to keep the dark city from collapsing under the weight of its crime and corruption, now assisted by the welcome presence of Michael Chiklis's new Commish', representing The Shield's veteran actor's career ironically coming full circle.Whilst Batman himself – or more accurately, a very young Bruce Wayne – is almost a side player to this whole affair, his involvement seldom feels contrived and more often than not carries with it the benefit of the presence of both Sean Pertwee’s tough-around-the-edges Alfred and Camren Bicondova’s young Catwoman. It’s McKenzie’s Gordon and, arguably Donal Logue’s Bullock that headline the show though, with the latter in particular developing the character in a more interesting and far more rounded way than ever in before in the Batman universe.
This season’s all about the villains, however, with Dr. Hugo Strange’s diabolical experiments in Arkham Asylum spilling over into a grander scheme which absorbs the likes of an early Mr. Freeze and a young Firefly, whilst Robin Lord Taylor’s pivotal Penguin orbits the mayhem on his own convoluted arc.
There’s nods to The Joker, and plenty more work for the soon-to-be-Riddler, whilst Gordon’s love life is further complicated by the haunting memory of his homicidal ex, despite his otherwise potentially blossoming relationship with Morena Baccarin’s Dr. Leslie Thompkins.
This season's all about the villains, maintaining momentum right across its 22-episode arc.
It’s a hard show to put down, which is a great testament to how compelling it is, and it is arguably far stronger – and more assured – in its sophomore year than during its debut. There’s very little filler as the overreaching story arcs take hold, and the plot thickens. Whilst it may not have the super powers of some of its brethren, the ensemble excitement of Gotham leaves it one of DC’s most addictive TV shows.
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