Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Gotham: Tonight's The Night Review


Bonkers Babs is BACK!  I know that "Stabby Babs" is the nickname our crazy be-atch Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) has earned, but I prefer Bonkers Babs myself.  Tonight's the Night gives us the simply cuckoo-bananas Barbara at her most nutty, doing her own version of Get Me to the Church on Time.  The episode also gave the Galavan-Bruce Wayne subplot major screen-time, and finally got a rational way of getting Cory Michael Smith's Edward Nygma and Robin Lord Taylor's Oswald Cobblepot together (a teaming that might/should/hopefully work).

Theo Galavan (James Frain) is finally going to give Barbara what she wants: a chance to kill her ex-fiancée James Gordon (Ben McKenzie).  She's going to do it by luring him somewhere, but that somewhere is to her own deranged idea of a wedding, fulfilling her own really-whacked out vision of bliss.  Gordon, his partner Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) and Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis) are aware that this is a trap, but the chance to capture her and prove that Galavan is dirty is too much to resist.  Though Dr. Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) objects to all this, Gordon and Bullock go with Barbara.  Of course, the whole thing was a trap and Gordon is captured. 

We then see one of the weirdest things on Gotham (which is saying A LOT): Barbara, in her wedding dress, enacting her own version of a shotgun wedding with Jim bound in a chair.  She even brings Lee along to witness their joy (I figure before she kills them both).

As a side note, this is the SECOND time Lee has been tied up by Barbara, just so you know.

Back at the GCPD, Bullock has actually done some investigating, and put together where they are; arriving in time (with Gordon appealing to Barbara's vanity over her dress), Gordon attempts to recapture Barbara, who has fled into the labyrinth of Gotham Cathedral.  Before she falls from the tower (injuring but not killing her), she reveals where Mayor Aubrey James (Richard Kind) is being held.  The GCPD rescue the enraged James, who is astounded they'd even bother to ask who had kidnapped him.

Meanwhile, Galavan continues his plan to take over Wayne Enterprises by tempting Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) with a Satanic offer.  In exchange for controlling shares in Wayne Enterprises, Galavan will give Wayne an envelope which purports to have the identity of Bruce's parents' killers.  Bruce is torn: he doesn't want to give up the last part of his family's legacy, but he's always been filled with rage about their deaths and is desperate to seek out revenge.  His impatience to get at them pushes him to surrender Wayne Enterprises, and even Alfred (Sean Pertwee), who tells Master Bruce that this is essentially extortion, cannot persuade him.  At the last moment though, Bruce backs out, saying he cannot betray his family's legacy, not even for that prize.  For once Galavan is left speechless and shocked, not having counted on this turn. 

Fortunately for him, the GCPD storm in and arrest the Mayor of Gotham for the abduction of the previous Mayor.  Galavan in the confusion quickly throws the envelope into the fire before Bruce realizes what happened, leaving him more devastated. 

Finally, somewhere in the woods where our Mr. Nygma (CMS) is burying his beloved, he finds himself continuously interrupted, complaining that for being a secluded woods, it was very crowded.  He has to kill a poor hunter who stumbled into the woods, but at the end Nygma is shocked to find someone else hiding out: Oswald Cobblepot.  "Mr. Penguin?", the frightened Nygma asks the visibly wounded Cobblepot.  Cobblepot, with no one left to turn to, begs for his help before collapsing.

Tonight's the Night worked on just about every level.  I found that the three plots didn't collide with each other (though sometimes whenever we went back to Nygma we lost a bit of momentum since so much of the episode focused on Barbara being  her usual ka-razy PSYCHO).  That's not to say the Nygma subplot wasn't well-done or interesting.  It's always good to see CMS doing so well as the now-no longer divided Nygma.  He still has a bit of Old Ed's almost innocent way to him (despite having killed the girl who took his virginity, talk about fatal love).  I'd say Nygma appears more confident, more self-assured about what kind of man he now is, and no longer fears his dark side.

I think that Frain has also done his best work in Tonight's the Night.  Galavan has always been evil, and unapologetically so.  However, this episode really went out of its way to show that Galavan is the Devil Incarnate.  His scene with Mazouz as he tempts the young Bruce, is really some of the best acting and writing I've seen/heard on Gotham.  Galavan uses the truth about Wayne Enterprises against the young man, and like Satan cloaks his evil within truth to make it seem good.  As he recounts what kind of company Wayne Enterprises is none of us can argue that what Galavan is saying isn't true.  It's just that he is using the truth for evil purposes.

Mazouz, who perhaps last season was a bit downgraded on a Gordon-focused show, is just so good as Bruce Wayne.  He continues to get that heartbroken young man who is also filled with rage and desperation yet also holds onto something of his idealism.  His scene when berating Alfred on perhaps letting go of his company to find who killed his parents really showcases how good Mazouz is as both an actor and as the character.  I'm so glad he's had a chance to develop.

I'm even impressed by Logue's Bullock, who I figured would be sleazy and unreliable but who has actually turned out to be a good, albeit shady, cop.  Whenever even the jaded and cynical Bullock is shocked by something, you know things have gone beyond his brand of Gotham insanity.  "What is wrong with these people?" he says when they discover Mayor James with his head in the box, the sight too much for even him.

As a side note when Bullock is injured in the attack to get Gordon, he lost his fedora.  It reminds me of an odd fan theory on another show I loved, Due South, where the lead character, a Mountie, always appeared vulnerable whenever his hat was not on his head.  If he had it on, bullets seemed to miss him and he could survive just about anything.  When it wasn't on, he ended up injured in some way.

Does Bullock's fedora have the same mystical power Constable Fraser's hat held for him, a magical talisman that protects him from injury?  Questions to ponder.

My problem with Tonight's the Night involve poor Baccarin's Dr. Thompkins, who has been taken prisoner...AGAIN!  How many times will she be caught by crazy people before someone bothers to provide her some police protection?  Also, I think the way Gordon was captured was to be expected.  I think all of us knew he was going to be taken, but the question was in how.  The perfectly-timed crash seemed a bit too perfect in my opinion.  Finally, appealing to Barbara's ego to cause enough of a delay to save everyone...again, a bit expected.

Well, on the whole though Tonight's the Night at least found a logical way to bring Riddler and Penguin together for the first time.  Villains Unite, Bruce is devastated, and Galavan appears to be going down.  However, this is Gotham, where anything can and does happen.



Next Episode: A Bitter Pill to Swallow

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