Gotham recap: Rise of the Villains: Worse Than a Crime
Gordon and Penguin work together to stop Galavan and the Order's evil plans.
We’ve come to the winter finale of Gotham season 2, and to put it lightly, I’m confused. Is anyone else confused? After episode upon episode of build-up regarding Theo Galavan’s plan for revenge against the Wayne family and Gotham City, alongside the Order of St. Dumas, I incorrectly assumed his fall would not be quite as abrupt. Instead of an epic showdown, we get a rushed fight scene, Galavan’s death, and a somewhat happy ending (for now) for Gordon, despite succumbing to so much violence at this midway point to the season. “Worse Than a Crime” leaves viewers with some loose ends (as well as teases for both Hugo Strange and Mr. Freeze) but no real direction in where the story might go next.
Tonight most of our major characters come together for one man: Theo Galavan. The members of the Order have come with Father Creel to finally kill the “The Son of Gotham,” restore the name of Dumas to Gotham City, and complete the cleanse of the Wayne Family. On the other side of the spectrum, we have a whole lot of ideas on how to try and stop Galavan with no real consensus. But that’s what happens when “villains” and “heroes” work together to achieve the same goal for different reasons.
We begin just a few moments from where we left off in “The Son of Gotham,” with Bruce being led to his possible death by Galavan and Alfred running through a dump after escaping Tabitha Galavan’s knife on the back of a garbage truck. Alfred runs through the dump and hides in a discarded freezer as Tabby and her goons search for everyone’s favorite butler. But once they walk past him, he’s hit with a pile of garbage from overhead.
Galavan reveals his reasons for wanting to kill Bruce once and for all, then takes him to his tower for the beginning of his creepy ritual sacrifice-esque death, complete with some kind of anointment by Father Creel on Bruce’s forehead. Of course Lucius Fox comes out of the secret Wayne Batcave moments after Bruce is led off the property with news that Thomas’ hard drive has been fixed, but for now it’s too late. (Side note: Has Lucius been down there this whole time?)
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As Galavan’s plans are finally coming to a climactic fruition, Gordon is having bad dreams about Barbara Kean dangling from the church rooftop. A butterfly flutters out of her mouth as Gordon releases Barbara in the dream. He wakes up in Edward Nygma’s apartment to the sounds of Edward and Penguin singing together. Penguin reveals that Jim is now a fugitive in the eyes of the GCPD (a.k.a. Barnes) and that they must work together to stop Galavan.
Fortunately for Penguin and Gordon, things aren’t working out so perfectly for Galavan. His and Tabitha’s tension is reaching a breaking point as Galavan insults her childishness and lackadaisical approach to her work, while Tabitha complains about Galavan’s past and control issues and perhaps even his entire plan. Even Silver is no longer on Galavan’s side as she asks her uncle to skip the ceremony thanks to her feelings for Bruce. Galavan can’t have everyone turning their backs on him; he tells Silver that she needs to complete the final task of seducing Bruce one last time and that Galavan must witness Bruce kissing her right before he dies. Tabitha is not onboard, but Galavan puts the pressure on for Silver’s future in the family.
Silver goes to Bruce in his prison cell where he is wearing quite possibly the least flattering but most comfortable-looking nightgown I’ve ever seen. (It is a Snuggie? Please let it be a Snuggie.) She apologizes to Bruce and offers him some company, but at first he rejects the kindness, knowing full well that it’s likely meaningless. However, he quickly changes his mind, and the two share a few moments of bonding over their childhood and interests before Silver attempts to break Bruce out of the prison herself.
NEXT: The (almost) epic showdown
Unfortunately, once Silver gets Bruce out of his cell (and shoots a guard in the leg to do so), they run straight into Galavan and his Order brethren. Silver is then locked in the cell with Bruce and reveals that she loves him. When she asks if he loves her back, Bruce replies that he doesn’t and goes even further, explaining that he knows she’s playing with him. “Silver, I don’t love you. I pity you,” he says.
Silver reveals her final test to Bruce and what Galavan will do to her if she fails. So as one final act of kindness, Bruce professes his love for Silver in front of Galavan and kisses her before he is marched off to his death. Theo stops Silver on the way out with a hearty congratulations, but her loyalties have clearly turned against her uncle.
Meanwhile, things aren’t looking great at the GCPD. Barnes has Gordon considered an armed-and-dangerous fugitive thanks to the events that led to Galavan’s release, but Lee tries to defend her man by explaining that he’s likely been abducted over the idea that he is working with Penguin. Barnes tells Lee that Gordon has been like a son to him, but she answers that a father would have more faith in his son than Barnes is showing Gordon. After answering a riddle from Edward regarding Gordon’s location, Lee ends up at Edward’s apartment, where she sees just what Barnes suspected: Gordon and Penguin working together to take Galavan down. Gordon tells Lee that she needs to get out of the city, but Lee tells him they need to leave together: She’s pregnant.
Finally Lucius Fox has the right mind to report Bruce and Alfred missing to Barnes and Bullock. He accuses Galavan of their abductions, but Barnes’ hands are tied as there is no real evidence of Galavan’s “possible” crimes (this can’t possibly be accurate, right?). Before the boys have time to argue about anything else, Barnes receives a call: Alfred was picked up trying to commandeer a vehicle before being put down temporarily with a Taser. Alfred is awoken by Bullock, Fox, and Barnes, and he tells them about his fight with Tabitha. However, Barnes still won’t budge on even getting a warrant for Galavan as Alfred was apparently lawfully chased off of property that he broke into by the rightful owners.
Alfred and Bullock decide they’re going outside the law to get some results, but while Fox is not onboard, he is overruled. (Side note: Has Alfred’s knife wound to the back miraculously healed?) Edward, who apparently now just overhears every conversation at the GCPD, laughs when the men ask where Gordon might be. And when Fox confronts him, he nervously doles out another riddle, leading the men to his apartment for another meeting with Gordon. Gordon, though, is about to leave the city when the men show up and reveal to him that Bruce has been kidnapped. This is just what Gordon needs to go back to his plan of defeating Galavan, and Lee is clearly just trying not to burst. “I understand. Just promise me… Never mind. Do what you think is best. Call me when it’s over,” she says.
While coming up with a plan of attack, Selina pops up and offers her services about how to get into Galavan’s building. To save Bruce, it seems, Selina is prepared to be part of the team, and thank goodness for that. As Selina gets the boys inside, the Order and Galavan are preparing to take Bruce’s life. They chant “Death to the Son of Gotham” over and over again as Father Creel shows off the ancient blade that is meant to end the future Batman’s life. But before Creel can fulfill the Order’s plans, Silver cries out to stop the act, and that gives Gordon, Penguin, and the boys just enough time to make it inside the sacrificial room.
The brethren of the Order attack Gordon and Penguin’s makeshift army, but despite the combat talents we’ve seen from the brethren so far, the fight is pretty one-sided in favor of Gordon and Penguin. Creel attempts one final rush and is somehow able to fly through the air for a split second before Bullock finally bursts in and puts two bullets in his chest. As expected, Galavan has escaped from the fight, but Gordon is determined not to let him get away again.
Galavan, Tabitha, and Silver head upstairs to the penthouse apartment to grab two parachutes as Galavan reveals that Silver won’t be joining them as he is disappointed in her actions. But Tabitha has just about had enough of Galavan. She takes the wind out of him as he attempts to kill Silver and then hands Silver Galavan’s intended parachute. Both Tabitha and Silver parachute out the window to safety as Gordon runs in to arrest Galavan.
NEXT: Galavan and Hugo Strange?
In his relief for not being murdered, Galavan very stupidly responds to Gordon’s arrest with these words, “Thank goodness for simple men of principal who believe in the system.” When Gordon states that Galavan will certainly get the chair for his actions this time around, Galavan taunts him once again by saying “Wanna bet?” That one question brings about Gordon’s breaking point. He points his gun at Galavan and realizes that maybe it’s true. Maybe there’s nothing he can do that will secure Galavan’s end in a legal and moral way. Barnes, of course, enters Galavan’s apartment at that exact moment to deliver a warrant and attempts to bring Gordon in as a prisoner as well (Barnes has been alerted to what’s happening by Lucius, who is still against the others’ actions). But Penguin rushes in and knocks Barnes out. Penguin then tells Gordon that he will kill him if it means getting to Galavan, but it doesn’t take a lot to convince Gordon that killing Galavan is their best option.
Gordon and Penguin make their way to the docks to do the deed, but first Penguin brutally assaults Galavan with a baseball bat in honor of his mother. When Gordon has finally had enough, he stops Penguin and finishes the deed himself by putting a bullet in Galavan. He later meets Lee and tells her it’s over for good. He then proposes to her as she looks at him with a smile. (Are we just not going to talk about what Gordon had to do for things to be “over”?)
We end the episode with our two big reveals. First we return to Indian Hill where Bridgit Pike is supposedly still alive, though her fire suit is now fused to her skin. A body is dragged into a laboratory-like room, complete with bodies submerged in vertical tanks of liquid and connected to tubes. A woman named Miss Peabody unzips the body bag and says, “Professor Strange has high hopes for this one.” We get a rather dark glimpse of Galavan with Penguin’s umbrella shoved down his throat.
And finally the episode ends with a man running down a dark Gotham City alley, likely pursued by Mr. Freeze. It’s a complete mystery how Strange and Freeze will play into the second half of “Rise of the Villains,” but the more connections they have with the villains we’ve already familiarized ourselves with, the better. Because if there’s one thing Gotham could and should improve upon in the new year, it’s a more cohesive season of story lines, relationships, and moments worthy of being part of the future Batman universe.