“Strong as an ox, fast as a snake, mad as a hatter.”
That’s how Hugo Strange and his No. 2, Peabody, describe the newly revived Theo Galavan on Monday night’s Gotham, “Wrath of the Villains: Azrael,” and they could not be more right. As the title of the episode suggests, the Order of St. Dumas comes back in a big, big way to the series, but this time it’s not Theo pulling the strings.
The episode begins days after Theo’s resurrection. He’s still completely bananas, writing scribbles on the wall with the blood of those he murdered and yelling into nothingness as he grapples with his return to the living realm. Hugo and Peabody continue to monitor him, but while Peabody doubts why they have brought Theo (or anyone) back if he will never regain sanity, Hugo is overly optimistic. He explains that Theo is not actually crazy — he just doesn’t know who he is because his psyche cannot reconcile being brought back from death. In fact, the scribbles on the wall are all from the Order of St. Dumas sacred text. Hugo is exceptionally proud of his little monster come to life, but his happiness is rapidly diminished when he receives a visit from James Gordon.
Gordon begins his visit by telling Hugo he is on assignment to find out the truth about Pinewood, and while the questioning begins calmly enough, he quickly reverts to cop mode to interrogate and intimidate Hugo about his reinstatement of Pinewood (now called Project Chimera in Indian Hill), but the not-so-good doctor isn’t having it.
He asks why Gordon is in Gotham at all, doing this job for his “client” when the city has been so unkind and unjust to him. Hugo knows it’s because Gordon needs to do this job for himself, because he does indeed have this inherent, secret hope that one day his redemption will come. Gordon disagrees, and his tells give away his lying. But Gordon sees some tells on Hugo’s face, as well, when he serves Hugo a court order to exhume Victor Fries’ body and Hugo lies by saying Fries was cremated. By the time Hugo realizes he was being conned, Gordon is already out the door with the knowledge that Hugo is playing Dr. Frankenstein.
As the Hugo-Theo-Gordon saga continues, Ed is starting his own little adventure inside Arkham. He quickly figures out how to turn the other patients to his side by defending some and befriending others. (Anyone feel like Ed’s “conversation” with the Lucy personality missed a real opportunity to use the phrase “Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do”?) When he sees Gordon leaving Gotham, he taunts his former friend and states that getting out of Arkham is like one big puzzle and no one can beat him in that arena, but Gordon gets the psychological upper hand.
Ed then overhears Hugo and Peabody talking about what a nuisance Gordon is and offers his services to take the former detective down. Everyone has a story, Ed says, and they just want to be listened to. That one little comment gives Hugo a brilliant idea: It’s time to give Theo a story so he can settle into one identity. Unfortunately for Theo, the story Hugo gives him is one of Azrael from the Order of St. Dumas.
Azrael was said to be a 12th-century warrior who served a man named Dumas, who was given a sainthood title for miracles he was able to perform. One of these miracles was bringing Azrael back from the dead. Hugo confronts Theo, states that he is Dumas and that Theo is his son Azrael. The personality seems to stick as he begins to do Hugo’s bidding. Perfect timing as Hugo’s main job for Azrael is to kill Gordon.
As this story continues to strengthen inside Theo’s mind, Hugo’s nefarious plan starts to take shape. He tells Peabody he wants to imprint personas and stories on other patients (and maybe makes a reference to Jervis Tetch, a.k.a. the Mad Hatter from DC Comics?) and continue shaping Theo’s, as well. He brings Theo/Azrael a fake “Sword of Sin,” brings him patients from Arkham to test his willingness to carry out his master’s plans, and sets him on his task: Kill Gordon. And we quickly learn that the new Theo is nothing if not persistent in this arena.
Meanwhile Gordon tries to slow Bruce down from taking on some vigilante justice. Bruce tries to explain that he believes they should take Hugo’s life into their own hands as Gordon did with Theo, but Gordon tells him that making that kind of decision will haunt him for years and he will become the very evil that he is trying to stop. Gordon tells Bruce to leave things up to him and the police, but the more Gordon, Bullock, and Bruce try to explain the truth behind Pinewood and Hugo Strange to Capt. Barnes, the more he resists.
NEXT: Theo and Gordon’s epic showdown, part one