Gotham “Unleashed” Review (Season 2 Episode 20)

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On the latest episode of “Gotham,” things came to a head with Azrael (aka the villain formerly known as Theo Galavan) and Jim Gordon, while the insanity continued at Arkham as Hugo Strange put his latest “experiments” through their paces, in “Unleashed.”

We began with the GCPD descending upon Arkham, with Bullock at the helm and Gordon in tow, as they ransacked Strange’s office- only to find there was nothing to ransack, as the files there had all been shredded already. Clearly, someone had tipped Strange off, which supports my long-held theory that there’s a mole within the GCPD’s ranks.

Alas, the warrant only covered Strange’s office, so it was back to the drawing board to get another, more sweeping warrant to search the entire premises. Meanwhile, a wide-eyed Ed Nygma was willingly escorted back to his cell, after being caught by a guard wandering in a daze after whatever he saw in the basement area of Arkham known as Indian Hill in the last episode.

Azrael crops up in a church, where he viciously dispatches a priest who has the misfortune to talk to him about what he’s doing there, twisting his neck around so the front side of his head is on the back side of his body. Ouch!

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The hunt continues for Galavan/Azrael, as the GCPD actively search for him in the wake of Captain Barnes’ lead, at Bullock’s request, who assumes command under the circumstances and gives a rousing speech to that end. Ditto the Penguin, who finally leaves his father’s home to track down Galavan for a little vengeance on his own, for what Theo did to his mother.

Bruce is also fed up, demanding that Alfred drop him off in the city to do some investigating of his own, with a little help from Selina. He fills her in on Strange and tells her how Bridgit (a returning Michelle Veintimilla) is among those being held at Arkham and potentially being experimented on.

Selina agrees to help Bruce, more for Bridgit’s sake than his, but only on one condition: that he stay put and let her do it. Not only does she know a way into the facility, but she’s worried that if Bruce is caught, he’ll be killed, being far too high profile to let go.

Further, no one there knows who she is, so she can move around the place easier and even if she is caught, it wouldn’t cause the place to be immediately shut down and moved like it would if it were Bruce. If she can get the proper evidence they need, they can get the cops to shut things down before Strange and company have a chance to switch locales like they did previously with Pinewood.

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Back at the mansion once occupied by Penguin and currently home to Butch, Tabitha, after getting wind of her brother’s reappearance, decides to head for the hills, worried about the repercussions for her previous actions against Theo and whether he might come after her next. (We also learn that Butch kicked Barbara out for being crazy AF. Good call.)

Tabitha is caught at the door by Bullock and Gordon, who ask for her help in finding her brother. She tells them as far as she knows, it’s not her brother, it’s Azrael, but she doesn’t want to stick around to find out if he remembers who she really is and what she did. She explains that Azrael is an avenger sent out by the Order of St. Dumas to take care of problems, like a super-powered assassin.

Tabitha suggests that he might go after the real sword of the Order, but that he might not know where it is if he doesn’t remember who he really is. She does, however- it’s buried with their grandfather in the family tomb. She agrees to take them there and show them where it is, but after that, she’s done.

Once there, Tabitha uses a crowbar to break in, then Gordon uses the same to jimmy open the grave itself, with a little help from Bullock, who isn’t thrilled at this turn of events. Sure enough, the sword is still there, but it turns out that Azrael did indeed have the same idea, as he arrives shortly thereafter and a shoot-out ensues. Bullock is knocked out and Gordon ends up locked out of the crypt altogether.

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Tabitha holds the sword out to Azrael, presenting it to him officially. She talks to him and he finally remembers his real identity, and that she is his sister. Unfortunately, he also remembers she betrayed him, so he runs her through with the sword as well. Whoops! How’d that work out for you, Tabby?

Even worse, he remembers his “real” mission, which was to finish what the Order started and kill Bruce Wayne, and he leaves to go and do just that. Gordon finally gets back inside and looks after Bullock and Tabitha, calling in the authorities after they fill him in on what happened. Once they get there, he absconds with one cop’s vehicle and takes off to Bruce’s house, calling Alfred to alert him along the way.

As Selina sneaks into the laundry about to be transported to Arkham, Bruce returns home to find out the news about Azrael being after him. Alfred instructs him to go around the house and lock all the windows and doors and secure the place as best as he can, while Alfred does the same. Unfortunately, it’s too late, as Bruce discovers a broken window at one spot in the mansion.

After Selina arrives at Arkham, she sneaks out of the laundry and onto the roof of the place and opens up an air vent and shimmies inside to crawl down the shaft and into the facility. Amusingly, she meets an escaping Ed in the vents and calls him out for trying to frame Gordon, to which he points out that she tried to turn Gordon in for a reward!

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Point taken, they make each other a deal- he’ll tell her how to get to the secret passage and how to get to the basement part of the facility if she tells him how to get out of there. It works on both ends, but Ed is caught by a guard on the roof after another guard discovers Ed’s room is empty and sets off the alarm, resulting in everyone looking for him. Oh well- close but no cigar.

Meanwhile, Selina gets into the Indian Hill section after picking the lock on the secret panel Ed told her about, and successfully tracks down Bridgit, but her own plans hit a snag when it turns out that it’s too late and that Strange has already experimented on her. Thinking Selina to be a challenge she must face and eliminate, Bridgit, now officially calling herself “Firefly,” goes after Selina with her flame thrower and that is where we leave both Ed and Selina for this episode, so we’ll just have to wait until next week to see what their respective fates are.

Butch visits a laid-up Tabitha at the hospital, telling her he really cared for her and got used to her being around and being his enforcer and essentially his second-in-command and wants her to come back to his place when she heals up. Penguin shows up, wanting revenge, but Butch threatens to kill him if he lays a hand on her.

So, they end up making a deal as well: Butch will show Penguin where Theo is if he promises to leave him and Tabitha alone moving forward. Penguin agrees to it, but says that Butch is coming along with him and he needs another favor- something with a little more firepower, as Penguin suspects this whole “uber-villain” thing to be nonsense, and that all is required is a little more oomph to take care of the matter.

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Theo/Azrael confronts Alfred and the two tangle. As per usual, Alfred doesn’t fare too well, though he puts up a good fight, enough to buy Bruce time to run before he is unceremoniously tossed out a window. Bruce hides in the garage, where Azrael gives chase. Bruce manages to secure a car and plows down Azrael, but he isn’t going down so easily.

Peabody informs Strange that Azrael has gone rogue and has gone after Bruce, but Strange isn’t too concerned, saying that either the cops will kill him and take care of it for them or Azrael will kill Bruce and/or Gordon and solve that problem. Either way, they win. However, he does allow that the heat is on at Arkham and that they need to relocate ASAP. Peabody says she’s already on it.

Back at Wayne manor, Azrael sneaks up on Bruce and snags him with the business end of a whip and prepares to kill him, but Gordon arrives and fires an entire clip into him, which puts Azrael down hard- for the moment, at least. No sooner has he gotten up again than Penguin and Butch arrive and we see the kind of “favor” Penguin really wanted: a rocket launcher (!), which Butch fires point blank at Azrael/Galavan, this time finishing him off for good.

They leave, and everyone concerned breathes a sigh of relief, and we end with Strange and Peabody finding Selina in Brigit’s room, about to be flambéed, as they watch with anticipation to see what happens next. That’s all folks!

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As we head into the final two episodes of the season, things look to get even crazier from here, with the return of Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), who will no doubt want to get revenge against the Penguin and what looks to be a confrontation between Bruce and Strange, with Ed somehow also involved in the matter. Should be a lot of fun, from the looks of things.

This was an entertaining enough episode, with some amusing quips and a great series of cliffhangers and a solid showdown with Azrael, but I do wish they’d used the character a little better and given him more to do before taking him out so soon.

I get that this wasn’t the “real” Azrael and that Strange only made Theo think he was the legendary figure, but still, it was a pretty cool character and I hate it didn’t last very long.

That said, I thought James Frain was infinitely more bad-ass as Azrael than he ever was as Theo Galavan, so at least he went out strong. It’s hard to top being taken out by rocket launcher! He also got to twist a preacher’s head around like an assisted “Exorcist” half-turn, so that was pretty nifty, too, especially for network TV. All in all, a solid send-off for Frain, all things considered.

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I admittedly have mixed feeling about the return of Fish, but I’m hoping that we’ll also get the Joker by season’s end as well, even if it’s only the introduction of the character in earnest, which is what I predict will be the case.

From the looks of things, Ed will also get the experimental treatment, so maybe the Riddler will also put in his first proper appearance as well. I’m good with both of these things, for sure.

With Selina being caught slinking around Arkham, might we also get the first official appearance of Catwoman? Strange did say he was eyeing the Cheshire Cat as his next possible source of inspiration- that certainly counts as a cat, so you never know!

It’s hard to say how much of this will come into play over the next two episodes, but hopefully, at the very least, we’ll get some solid foundations to build on for the next season and a few villainous set-ups for the future in the process.

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What did you think of the latest episode of “Gotham”? Did you also wish they’d used Azrael a little more? Or did it really count, as it was technically someone brain-washed into thinking they were Azrael, rather than the character itself? Which villain do you think we’ll see crop up next, besides Fish? How will the season end? Make your predictions down below and see you next week!