Gotham S02E01 Review: “Damned If You Do…”

EXPECT SPOILERS FOR SEASON ONE AND S02E01 THROUGHOUT!

via denofgeek.com

via denofgeek.com

Gotham‘s second season started off with a bang this past Monday (quite literally!) as we saw Jim Gordon struggle with his allegiances, and ultimately accept Penguin’s deal to kill a rival gang leader in exchange for his job at the GCPD back. It’s a move that placed Jim’s moral compass in a more grey place than we’ve seen it so far, but ultimately led to a few positive outcomes: first of all, Gordon (despite starting the season demoted again and then being kicked from the GCPD altogether) is a detective again, and secondly, his ally Sarah Essen has risen to Commissioner in the wake of Loeb’s forced retirement at Penguin’s hands. Unfortunately, Bullock is still off the force, but I for one hope he makes a return sooner rather than later.

Of course, as Jim’s drama unfolds on one side of the city, there’s a whole different set of issues (in more ways than one) over at Arkham Asylum. Fresh off of her murderous turn in the Season 1 finale, Barbara Kean is locked away in the Asylum’s halls with none other than Jerome (Cameron Monaghan), the possible Joker-to-be who debuted in “The Blind Fortune Teller” (S01E16). Naturally, because this is Arkham we’re talking about, the two manage to break out by the end of the episode, being selected as part of a potentially Suicide Squad-esque team called the Maniax. The team was hand-picked by Theo and Tabitha Galavan (James Frain and Jessica Lucas, respectively) to create chaos in Gotham City, no doubt as part of some master plan that is sure to unfold over the course of the longer arcs Gotham‘s showrunners have promised for Season 2.

In the third and final corner of Gotham we got to see in this premiere, Bruce Wayne explored the grounds beneath Wayne Manor, particularly the secret fireplace entrance to what we can only assume is some sort of proto-Batcave. This plotline was teased in the Season 1 finale, but sadly hasn’t amounted to much… yet. It’s got a lot of potential though, and I have a feeling that Thomas Wayne’s mysterious note for Bruce is going to set our little Batman on a season-long journey to delve deeper into his parents’ past.

Now, for those of you who are still hunting for Easter Eggs and foreshadowing in Gotham, this episode didn’t have a whole lot, but what it had was rather interesting. First of all, the note from Thomas to Bruce is reminiscent of both the letter that Thomas sends his son in Flashpoint, and also Thomas Wayne’s will in the “Father to Son” announcement trailer for Arkham Knight. Additionally, the note’s opening indicates that Thomas felt a bit of a conspiracy pulling in around him near to his and Martha’s death. Could the Waynes’ killer have been a hired gun after all? It’s been a while since we heard anything on that front, and I don’t necessarily expect answers from Gotham on this matter too far ahead of when Bruce dons the cape and cowl, but we may get another inkling of a clue soon.

Finally, (and I only include this one because I’ve seen it floating about on the internet lately) there is speculation that Theo and Tabitha Galavan may be our Gotham entrypoint to the Court of Owls. Created by Scott Snyder at the beginning of the current Batman comic run in 2011, the Court is a mysterious group of Gotham elites who essentially run the city in shadow– they’re a secret society with private assassins and a hand in every facet of Gotham society, yet most people believe them to simply be a myth. Would I love to see the Court of Owls on Gotham? Absolutely. But does the description fit with the Galavans? From what we’ve seen so far, it’s not necessarily a shoe-in, but it’s also not impossible…

The kickoff of Gotham‘s new season, “Damned If You Do…”, is by far one of the show’s better episodes, and shows off perfectly that this show has found its footing. The tone here is a perfect blend of campy fun and dark, noir-ish adventure (along the lines of a slightly more rough Batman: The Animated Series), and I’m definitely excited to see where Season 2 of Gotham is headed.

As always, get your news and reviews about all kinds of Bat-media right here From the Batcave! Be sure to like From the Batcave on Facebook and follow us on TwitterTumblr, and YouTube to get the scoop first!

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