Fox’s “Batman-without-Batman” soap opera is the most amazingly weird show on television. For every episode this season, Deadshirt’s own Sarah Register, Kayleigh Hearn and Max Robinson discuss the good, the bad…the beginning? of little Bruce Wayne, skinny Oswald Cobblepot, and Jim Gordon sans ‘stache as they try to find their way in the misery-soaked, work-a-day world of…GOTHAM.
Max: This has been a really outstanding jag of episodes! “Azrael” was not only really entertaining, but there was some pretty cool setup for angles to be explored down the line! Let’s go all in on it.
THEO GALAVAN HAS BEEN SCREAMING THE ENTIRE TWO WEEKS SINCE THE LAST EPISODE
Max: Hugo Strange has basically created a human murder terrarium to house the back-to-life but very insane Theo Galavan, now rocking a very cool scar around his eye.
Kayleigh: It was really suspenseful there for a moment when we thought the resurrection had failed, but Ghost the direwolf perked up and Theo Galavan gasped back to life, and then social media wouldn’t shut up about it.
Sarah: Galavan is more of a Sparrow than a Stark now.
Max: Strange’s no-nonsense black lady assistant really shines in this episode. Normally she’s content to roll with whatever insane super-villain crap Strange is trying to set up, but here she KNOWS this is all going to end badly.
NOW WE’RE AT THE POINT IN THE SEASON WHERE GORDON KNOWS WHAT’S UP
Max: Gordon confronting Strange about Wayne Enterprises/bird claw hand girl/Mr. Freeze was a nice little scene. Dug the fakeout with the empty envelope after Gordon claims to have a subpoena.
Sarah: How on Earth is Strange this untouchable, like really?
Max: If you talk in a lowwww slowwww voice enouuuugh you’re baaaaasically teeeeeffffflon.
EDWARD NYGMA IS HAVING THE TIME OF HIS LIFE
Max: Putting Nygma in Arkham is something I almost wish they’d done earlier because he’s so much fun in these scenes!
Kayleigh: Nygma the smug master manipulator is much more interesting than the Nygma who murders people and buries them in the woods. But man, Gotham’s constant portrayal of the mentally ill as cartoonish, mugging-for-the-camera sideshow freaks is pretty tiresome.
Max: If you’re mentally ill on Gotham you’re like a person trapped in a bad improv scene that lasts an eternity.
Sarah: I loved his solo sleuthing scene at the end where he applied his forensic knowhow to find the entrance to Strange’s collection of monsters, which I bet a dollar contains Killer Croc at least. Is Gotham is just going to have Strange manufacture Batman’s entire rogues gallery?
BRUCE WAYNE HAS LEARNED NOTHING GOD DAMN IT
Max: Bruce asking Gordon to kill Hugo Strange was the only part of this episode where I was like “wait, didn’t we already wrap up this storyline?”
Kayleigh: To be fair, seeing Karen Jennings explode into a million frozen shards like the T-1000 has probably put Bruce on edge. Did anyone else get an ad for that ridiculous, probably racist “David Mazouz gets possessed by a rock” horror movie The Darkness while watching Gotham? I was hollering.
Max: I didn’t see this but I’m glad we’re finally doing a horror movie about The Grand Canyon.
Sarah: This scene was more Gotham reminding viewers of Gordon’s mission than actually adding anything. What it did give me was a great visual of Harvey Bullock spewing crumbs all over Bruce’s expensive Persian rug as he helpfully added doubt to the conversation.
…THAT’S IT! THE BIBLE!
Max: Can I just say I love how needlessly complex Azrael’s origin is? “The former mayor of Gotham has amnesia so his brain is pulling stuff from this old creepy bible his monk family memorized.” Some incredible gags here: Galavan not getting that there was a sword in that big trunk that Strange gives him, Strange somehow making the sword on-site at Arkham and presenting it as an ancient weapon.
Sarah: Galavan using the sword case to whack a guy was stupid and perfect.
Kayleigh: Hugo Strange is a secret cosplay enthusiast. He probably got that St. Dumas sword replica off Etsy. But, like, the Gotham version of Etsy, where tea cozies are handmade by sewer-dwelling dominatrixes in pig masks.
Max: Later we get Hugo Strange using OTHER books to manipulate the psyches of patients. I really do hope there’s a book called “Killer Croc” in the Arkham library.
AZRAEL! AHHHH! FIGHTER OF THE NIGHTMAN! AHHH!
Max: James Frain in the full Azrael get up, talking like Silverbolt from Beast Wars, was a thing to behold. The implication that seeing Azrael in action, even for a few seconds, is what plants the idea of Batman in Bruce’s head is a reallllllly interesting wrinkle on the mythology.
Sarah: I actually really dig Azrael’s costume, which is surprisingly comic book accurate, and I loved seeing baby Bruce dig it as well. Watching his eyes light up as Azrael lept through the scaffolding of a dark building while dodging every single bullet was great, and I ain’t even mad at the complete twist on the canon. Young Master Wayne is seeing his future.
Kayleigh: Somewhere, a guy who wrote an “Azreal vs. The Thing” crossover fanfic in 1992 weeps quietly in the arms of his wife. Not all dreams die.
Max: RIP to Michael Chiklis’s Captain Barnes and the many nameless officers who got murked by Azrael. I feel like every five episodes someone shows up and just slaughters the GCPD in their own station. At least Barnes lived long enough to break Azrael’s replica sword with a big pipe.
Sarah: It was extremely depressing for Barnes to finally see that Gordon was “innocent” (pfffft) right before getting stabbed in the gut with a Spirit Halloween Store prop. I feel like Barnes is closer to the man that Gordon will eventually be for Batman, and I kind of wanted him to have a little more influence before his inevitable departure.
MEANWHILE, BARBARA HAS BACKSLID SUBSTANTIALLY
Max: I don’t even know what was going on here but Barbara manically making gimlets to a weirded out Tabitha and Butch is some pretty classic Gotham shit.
Sarah: Just the fact that the three of them are just chilling on the couch in silk jammies was great. I’m pretty sure they would have kept doing that forever if Tabitha didn’t see her dead brother’s face on TV.
Kayleigh: What to make of the “Is Barbara crazy?” subplot. Is this “Barbara never leaves the apartment” again, only with more blank-eyed stares and meat cleavers? Erin Richards’s quest for limes was my favorite moment of the night, though, so I won’t write her off just yet.
SPEAKING OF CRAZY HEY OOOOH IT’S THE PENGUIN
Max: Gotham’s take on The Penguin is so strange because he’s never usually portrayed as “crazy” in comics or cartoons but Robin Lord Taylor is so good at playing Cobblepot as this unhinged murderer that you don’t really care. Here he is, watching a black and white TV inside a huge mansion while the corpse of his murdered stepmom collects flies.
Kayleigh: If Penguin’s hair corresponds to his mental state, that was absolutely “living alone in a decaying mansion alongside my stepmother’s corpse” hair.
Sarah: Hopefully he’s not too far gone for one more team up with Gordon. Unless Azrael is going to carry over into next season, he’s going down next week.
Gotham airs Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern on FOX.