Gotham: Unleashed Review

Galavan's Azrael plot is more frightening in its second half, but the real star of the hour goes to Selina and her visit to Arkham.

This Gotham review contains spoilers.

Gotham Season 2, Episode 20

Githammanaged to pull off a pretty action-packed, suspenseful third act in “Unleashed” by putting its super-teens in danger. Ultimately, this episode was a little too disjointed to be one of Gotham‘s best, but it was an entertaining hour — with one of the best random character rendezvous’ of this show’s short history. Here’s everything that went down in “Unleashed”…

The city is on the hunt for Theo Galavan.

What could have been just another GDCP Looks Fruitlessly For the Villain-of-the-Week opening act was made about a million times more entertaining by the prominence of Bullock in the hunt. With Barnes in a hospital bed (and Gordon not even a cop anymore), the GCPD is leaderless and guess who they’re internally looking to to take the job? Yep, our friendly neighborhood snarkster.

Gordon and Bullock manage to convince Tabitha to help them track down her brother before anyone else finds him and tries to kill him (which, yeah, good luck with that). Even though Tabitha left her brother to die in the midseason finale, she agrees — because this character has had almost zero development.

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It’s sad, really, because, later, when the gang catches up with Galavan, Tabitha tries to get her brother to remember who she is — and who he is — by telling stories of the childhood. The problem is: we don’t really know who she is, or what their relationship is like past some thinly-veiled antagonism. The moment when Galavan stabs Tabitha should have been shocking and emotional, but, instead, it is meh-worthy and predictable.

The only person who seems to care about Tabitha’s injuries is Butch, who later visits her at the hospital to profess his love. Which, OK? I get that these two have been spending a lot of time together, but you can’t just take a character who, up until this point, has mostly been used as comedic relief and a character whose only defining trait so far is “dominatrix,” not give them any character dynamic development past some light scheming in one room, then want us to care about their relationship.

To be fair, Gothammight not want us to care about their relationship. Butch’s profession of love isn’t so much about his own character or Tabitha’s so much as it is a nice set-up for Penguin’s entrance. Oswald convinces his own friend to join forces against Galavan, who now has his sights set on Bruce…

Theo Galavan dies — again.

The second half of the Azrael plotline was a little easier to swallow than the first — partly because there was way less of Galavan’s prophetic ramblings and partly because it ended with Penguin shooting Galavan with a bazooka.

Let’s be clear: This scene was ridiculous. It made what was an actually somewhat frightening sequence of Galavan chasing Alfred and Bruce around the Wayne mirror into a punchline. (Alfred waving back at Butch and Penguin? Come on.) But, again, it did involve Penguin shooting Galavan with a bazooka, so we’ll call this one a wash.

I was much more impressed with the clever, suspenseful tactic of Bruce leaving his shoes as decoys for Galavan to find, and then running him over with one of his many cars. Bruce isn’t even old enough to drive yet, but he’s old enough to run resurrected supervillains over with a car when the situation calls for it. This feels new. Seeing the villain-of-the-week try to kill Bruce while Alfred tries desperately to protect him only to fail and have Gordon swoop in at the last minute? That’s less novel for this show.

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Selina sneaks into Arkham

The hands-down best plot of the night involved our girl Selina sneaking into Arkham to find proof that Strange has been extending his Pinewood experiments. Well, that’s what she promised Bruce she would do, but gathering that intel is really just a bonus project for her true mission: finding out if her former bestie Bridget (aka Firefly) is still alive, as Bruce suspects.

It was frustrating that Gothamdidn’t address the fact that, last time Bruce and Selina were together, he was ditching her in some well-intentioned, yet idiotic bid to keep her safe while he hunts for the truth behind his parents’ murders. A few episodes later, he’s going to her for help, putting her in more danger than she would have been in, just to get the answers he seeks. I think Selina can take care of herself, but I’m frustrated with the inconsistent characterization on Bruce’s part.

Selina easily sneaks into Arkham — because she’s a badass — awesomely running into Nygma, who is trying to escape after finding Strange’s experiments, while crawling through the air ducts. This may be one of my favorite Gothammoments of all time. The two quickly get what they want from each other: Nygma tells Selina how to sneak into the basement, and Selina tells Nygma which way to the exit. 

Neither have particularly good luck in their respective missions. Nygma makes it out of the air ducts, only to be discovered by Arkham’s hounds. Selina overhears Strange and Peabody’s plans and finds Bridget, but her former friend has undergone a similar brainwashing/conditioning technique as Galavan. Bridget, dressed in a new and improved Firefly outfit, thinks Selina is a test, someone to be defeated. The episode ends with Firefly seeminging gearing up to burn Selina. This better not happen, show. Selina Kyle is regularly the best part of this program.

Memorable quotes

“You have a lot of anger, Mr. Gordon. I can help you with that.” — Strange 

“I’m tired of trusting Jim Gordon. Aren’t you?” — Bruce

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“Must have been weird to see your dead brother show up dressed like a ninja from Medieval Times.” — Bullock

“If he wanted to wear leather, he should just wear leather. This is Gotham City. Nodody cares.” — Penguin


2.5 out of 5