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Rogues’ Gallery was nice returning episode for Gotham this week. The audience finally got a peek at the workings inside of Arkham and it was as expected. Although the kookiness could have gone a little further, it was still pretty nuts. Yet, there was one good thing that came out of all that: a solid bad guy. Jack Gruber (Christopher Heyerdahl), a highly intelligent inmate, has put a fast one on Gordon. Now, he is out and about to plan his mischievous acts but there is a suspicion that he will return. Nothing like the other bad guys Gordon came across before the midseason break. The only downside to this was the continuous pattern of unnecessary subplots within the bigger plot. The Selina-Ivy break-in and Penguin’s stinky stay in a jail cell comes to mind. While Mooney and Barbara should be part of the list, their subplots still brought out something interesting to the mix.
First, for the things that went so well in Rogues’ Gallery. There were so many layers to Arkham that I wished were shown, such as this “maze” Gordon hinted at. The journey to the basement might have helped. Still, there is no denying that Arkham was a fresh new environment for the audience’s eyes. It should have known that the craziness inside would involve a semi-disturbing play created by one of the inmates but there were so many misdirection, I didn’t know where I was suppose to look. So many mystery plots lead me to believe that it was the staff and not an inmate who was conducting those torturous experiments. Reason number one: how does an inmate have the resources and capabilities to electrify his fellow inmates? The staff would have access to that. Well, as it turns out it was Gruber. That Jigsaw-sounding-nut had his own laboratory and equipment to fry his victims’ brains. So far, all we know about this character is he is a nut who is creating mindless, controlled dangerous body guards. And yet, there was more information on Nurse Dorothy Duncan, who had a very interesting, sad background and even worse demise. For a person who got away from Gordon and is most likely to return, there should have been more back-story.
It has been plainly obvious in my past reviews that I don’t find Barbara as a solid character. Her neediness always hits the negative side of the spectrum. In this episode she hit the mother lode of needy but something about screwed up Barbara made her more likable. Seeing her with Montoya and being called “toxic” brought out a curiosity in me. While it was hinted at before, only now in this episode did I want more about their past. But still that was the only interesting aspect of her. She doesn’t bring anything to the table and Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) makes a better love interest in Gordon’s life.
Then there is Mooney, whose subplot brought us Butch (Drew Powell). Mooney was practically invisible and her mission was ignored because under the spotlight was Butch. Like Barbara and Gruber, this is another character with an interesting past. How does this character go from a mob boss’s best friend to another boss’s body guard? There is something intriguing about a sidekick, body guard who kills his best friend with oldies in the background. He is very loyal to Mooney but if he is capable of killing his childhood best friend, then what else is he capable of? For a character that has been in the background for so long, this episode really made him shine and move to the front.
Now comes for the less interesting subplots within the episode. Is anyone else “irked” by the Penguin? This character has made the same mistake multiple times and still hasn’t learned from it. He continues to think he has the power and abuses it, but when a bigger, more important person calls him out on it, he falls to his knees for forgiveness. There has to be more progression to his character, but since the revelation of being Falcone’s mole, there hasn’t been a character advancement.
Then there is Selina and Ivy, both characters that aren’t shown very often, and yet there was nothing moving forward. The only thing that came from them breaking into Barbara’s home is Barbara having a tantrum once assuming Ivy is Gordon’s new lady. One thing that did come was sympathy, well up until that phone call. Ivy’s weak and sick predicament brought out a sense compassion for that pre-seductive villain. This compassion and sympathy is something that was bound to happen when revealing the past of future villains. Some villains aren’t born evil; they just become bad because of life’s unfortunateness. But, her actions quickly lose any grip on any sympathy the audience could have for her. The machinations in her mind are twisted and she is puberty away from letting out her inner desires.
• Gruber might be a recurring villain.
• Ivy hasn’t hit puberty and yet is aware of how to play with people’s emotions.
• This was Butch’s moment to shine.
• Bruce and Alfred were a no show.
• Selina continues to show her kindheartedness.