Should Gotham Season 2 Be Called “Rise Of The Serial Killers” Instead?


Gotham has been promising viewers that this season will be dedicated to the “Rise of the Villains.”  After “Mommy’s Little Monster“, I’m beginning to feel that Gotham should re-title this season as “Rise of the Serial Killers.”  Since the start of the series, every antagonist’s motivation has been for the sole joy of killing and no other reason.  Is there more to Batman’s rogues gallery than just killing?  Of course there is, but Gotham fails to explore this aspect and, instead, takes the easy way out of making each villain a one-dimensional murderer.

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If you really analyze the show, there really is no difference between Penguin, Edward Nygma, Victor Zsasz, or Jerome Valeska.  Sure, they may be different actors and have different mannerisms, but they all have only one immediate goal — murder for the sake of murder.

The writers have set Penguin up to have the agenda of taking over Gotham City as its newest crime lord, but I have yet to see any semblance of a real plan.  Most of the time, Penguin is out for revenge.  And when he does carry it out, it’s via a boring method.  What happened to the Penguin we all know from the comics — where’s his umbrella?  Yes, it sounds like a gag.  However, that’s the job of the writers: take something that seems silly and make it compelling.  Here, we have a character with a rich history who’s now relegated to just a common murderer.

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Edward Nygma is no different.  This is a character who is a genius at puzzles, yet Gotham chose to give him a split personality with only the goal of making him realize that killing makes him happy.  From the murder of Dougherty, to the murder of his love, Kristen, Nygma’s crimes have made this incarnation of the Riddler completely unrecognizable.  The purpose of Nygma’s riddles is moreso a satiation of his ego — allowing him to assure his intelligence.  He needs to be the smartest guy in the room.  Gotham has taken that reason out and made his riddles but a quirk to his already awkward personality.

Then there’s Jerome Valeska, who viewers have intensely debated if he is in actuality the Joker.  At this point, it really doesn’t matter.  Even if Jerome is the future Joker, there’s nothing differentiating him from Penguin or Nygma.  To be fair, we can say that he makes a joke every time he kills.  Yet, we’ve seen this gag with Penguin’s dialogue also.

The only person who should be characterized as a serial killer should be Victor Zsasz, but the writing fails on this front.  Zsasz does kill, but only as a hitman and enforcer.  Where are his tally marks?  And where was his backstory before the start of his affinity for murder?  Gotham has been busy setting up other characters as serial killers and ignoring one that truly is a serial killer with a fascinating history.

The failure of Gotham to differentiate its antagonists and explore the thing that makes each one compelling is just another nail in this show’s coffin.  If a season is titled “Rise of the Villains”, it should show us what makes them rise above the rest of the murderers and criminals in the city.  All this season has shown me is how each one is competing with the other in terms of body count.  And they’re also not doing it very creatively either.  Please start showing us some real villains that can one day stand up to the cunning of the Dark Knight.