Gotham Recap And Review – S02E02 – Rise Of The Villains: Knock, Knock


Gotham enters its second week of Season 2 with Rise of the Villains: Knock, Knock.  The episode is typical Gotham writing — cheesy interactions and ridiculous plot points.  The episode also puts the cherry-on-top in committing a huge sin — dismantling the myth of Batman by making Bruce Wayne not solely responsible for his own creation and legacy.

Spoilerific Recap: Mayor James has been kidnapped by Theo Galavan and is tied up with a metal box covering his head.  Galavan taunts him with two decisions: he will drop a tarantula into the metal box, or James can call his own secretary to make an unknown arrangement.  James fearfully complies to the second option.  Galavan goes on to tell the Mayor that he’s part of his plan to “cleanse” the city.

At the Gotham Gazette, the editor demands headline-making stories from his staff.  With his back turned to the window, he doesn’t see bodies falling from the top of the building.  As we go to the roof, we see Jerome and the rest of the inmates killing people by throwing them down.  The dead bodies line up to form the word “MANIAX!”

At GCPD, Essen leads a conference with the cops.  Gordon gives everyone a rundown of the escaped inmates and quickly puts them into action.

At Galavan’s, the inmates eat breakfast.  Galavan wants team Maniax to make a grand entrance.  His plan it to take what’s sacred to Gotham City and then offer the people salvation.  He needs their first introduction on TV to have charisma, which leads him to having Jerome demonstrate an entertaining speech.  Mayor James suddenly enters with Tabitha and Barbara whipping him.  Barbara tells Galavan that she also want to have some fun.

At Wayne Manor, Bruce and Alfred are in Thomas’s secret cave.  Alfred is hesitant in letting Bruce turn on his father’s computer.  Adamant, Bruce switches it own, but Alfred smashes it.  Alfred is trying to keep Bruce safe and never wanted to help him, seeing that Thomas also had spare blood and a bulletproof vest laying around.  Bruce tells Alfred to leave and that he’s now fired.

Back at Galavan’s, Jerome and Greenwood fight over a samurai sword with Jerome using a chainsaw against Greenwood.  Galavan enters and stops them.  As Jerome and Greenwood make it a competition to see who’s a better murderer, Galavan proposes a game of Russian Roulette to settle the argument.  Greenwood takes the first turn, leaving unscathed.  Jerome takes his turn, but doesn’t stop there.  He exhausts all chances, but stops short of the final chamber — where the bullet resides — making him the winner.

Gordon visits Bullock at the bar, but Scottie (last seen in The Fearsome Dr. Crane), Bullock’s fiancée, is not keen on Gordon’s presence.  Gordon wants Bullock to rejoin the GCPD.  However, Scottie doesn’t want Bullock to go back being a cop.  Before Gordon leaves, Bullock gives his old partner one last thought: why did the Maniax kill people at the shipyard?

Gordon reports to Essen that Bullock won’t be rejoining the force.  He tells her that he followed up on Bullock’s idea and discovered that a refueling truck was stolen at the shipyard.  In a side conversation, Essen asks if Gordon ever thought of quitting.  Essen says that she had thought about it, but doesn’t think about it anymore.

With his suitcase packed, Alfred says his final words to Bruce and departs.

The refueling truck is seen somewhere in the city.  Jerome and the rest of the Maniax target a school bus.

In the records annex of GCPD, Edward attempt to ask Ms. Kringle on a date, but has an awkward exchange instead.  After she leaves, his other personality taunts him for his inability to close the deal.

The Maniax stop the school bus and hold the teenagers on it hostage.  They douse the bus and everyone in it with gasoline.  Jerome’s first attempt at lighting the inferno fails, giving the GCPD just enough time to arrive.  The Maniax initiate a shootout, but the cops are unable to return fire in fear of igniting the gasoline.  Gordon runs towards the bus and tackles one of the Maniax, Dobkins, just as the lighter is lit.  With the fire now racing towards the bus, Gordon jumps in and drives it safety.

With Dobkins in custody, Gordon questions him.  About to reveal Galavan, Dobkins is shot in the head by an unknown assailant.  Up in the rooftops, Tabitha stows away her sniper rifle and leaves the scene.

As he waits for his train, Alfred is visited by Bruce.  Bruce tells Alfred that he understand that he was just trying to protect him and that he really doesn’t want him to leave.  He wants Alfred to support him finding out more about Thomas’s activities.  When Alfred tells Bruce that he isn’t ready for the truth, Bruce tells him to make him ready.  Alfred agrees, but makes Bruce promise him that he is to do everything he tells him with no exceptions.  The deal is solidified after Bruce has Alfred make a promise of his own — fix his father’s broken computer.

At an upscale lounge, Alfred runs into Lucius Fox.  He introduces himself and tells Fox that it seems like a coincidence running into him.  Alfred goes into a moralistic story about trust — illustrating the point that there are friends you can trust and friends you can’t.  He wants to confide in Fox and wants to know if he’s trustworthy.  Alfred blames Fox for creating a mess after telling Bruce that Thomas was a stoic (seen in The Anvil or the Hammer).  Alfred warns Fox that if it’s discovered that he’s not trustworthy,  he will kill him.  Fox tells Alfred that he only has the best intentions for Bruce.

At GCPD, Gordon receives a call from Barbara.  As Gordon tries to get her to turn herself in, he sees that she’s actually on a cell phone and has entered the station.  When he quickly leaves to go after her, Jerome and the Maniax, dressed as officers, enter the station.  They drop smoke grenades and shoot everyone on site.  Kringle, in the line of fire, is quickly saved by Edward, who is also shot in the arm.

Gordon follows Barbara right into an ambush with the dimwitted Helzinger.  Right before Gordon loses consciousness, Barbara taunts Gordon and tells him that he should get back to the station.

At GCPD, Jerome exchanges words with Essen.  She tells him he’s crazy and that after he’s dead, the world will still go on.  Jerome tells her that the Maniax will leave a mark on the city.  As Greenwood is about to start filming, Jerome kills him for speaking out of turn.  Essen, disgusted by Jerome, spits and head-butts him.

Regaining consciousness, Gordon grabs his gun and stumbles back to the station.

Gordon enters to a scene of carnage.  He quickly finds Essen being tended to by other officers.  With a mortal wound, Essen says her final words to Gordon before dying.

In Thomas’s secret cave, Fox attempts to fix the computer.  Bruce asks Fox if Thomas had ever told him anything.  Fox tells Bruce that Thomas was a very private man and that he regrets not helping Thomas more.  Alfred quickly runs in with an urgent message for Bruce.

Alfred and Bruce arrive at GCPD.  Finding Gordon, Bruce apologizes for being hard on him the last time they met (seen in Damned If You Do …).  Gordon, inspecting Essen’s office, finds Harvey at the doorway.  Parting his jacket, Harvey reveals his badge.  He tells Gordon that Scottie will understand.

On TV, the news airs Jerome’s video introduction where he gives a maniacal, brief manifesto and tells Gotham City that he’ll be back soon.

Best Moments: Essen spitting and then head-butting Jerome after he reveals his grand plans.

Final Thoughts: I think one of the biggest problems I’ve had with Gotham has to deal with plot conveniences.  Knock, Knock is no different.  Two examples right off the bat: it just so happens that the Maniax have difficulty lighting the lighter, giving just enough time for Gordon and the GCPD to arrive; and Thomkins easily hides behind a lab table where she’s clearly exposed, but Greenwood doesn’t find her.

Then again, these problems are probably blatant in many shows.  However, because Gotham‘s writing is not up to par, the viewer is never given a suspension of disbelief.  If the writing and story were more compelling, we may just give all of these sins a pass.

Setting up Thomas Wayne as a previous Batman is also a bad idea.  Yes, I know that in other media he did have that career, but only in alternate universes.  Unless Gotham is an Earth-2 or Earth-whatever interpretation, I’m not ready to accept this.  The creation of Batman should only come from Bruce and his driven determination to clean up Gotham City.  Having Thomas pass that mantle to him in any way really tarnishes the legacy of the Dark Knight.

And what’s up with Galavan’s clichéd plans?  How many times have we seen a billionaire use his money and power to create a problem just so he can be seen as a savior when he solves it.  Really?  Are the writers even trying at this point?  I think Galavan’s blatant revelation to the Maniax about this plan and his over-the-top speech are what did it in for me for this episode.

Season 2 is certainly turning out to be a mess.  Every episode seems to contain some sort of cheap shock or cheesy violence in a bid to gain audiences attentions.

Next: Catch up on Gotham with a review of Damned If You Do ...

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