There comes a time when a show needs to step up its game and make everything look as exciting as possible for the final episodes. Gotham tries to do just that in ‘Unleashed’ and, while the episode achieved its purpose for the most part, the way in which some of the scenes were executed was so over the top that it was hard to take them seriously.
For a series that is supposed to be focused on James Gordon, good old Jim didn’t have much of a role this week. He was literally stuck in traffic for most of the second half of the while everyone else was going at it. Gordon being suspended and Barnes being in the hospital also leads to Harvey taking the role of captain of the GCPD and probably having the most important scene he’s had all season. With Jim pretty much gone from the picture, it’s Bruce Wayne’s turn to do something about the situation. He even says it himself that he’s tired of trusting Jim, which ties to Bruce taking a lot more responsibility in the latest episodes. Even though David Mazouz is still far from being old enough to play Batman, the show keeps giving us all these hints of what he will one day become, from playing Batman-esque music when he’s on screen to smaller, hard-to-catch details like showing pigeons(bats) flying around him or even driving that car(Batmobile). After Season 2, there’s no doubt in my mind that he will get to see Bruce become Batman in this show.
Bruce’ re-encounter with Selina leads her to break into Arkham after she finds out her friend Brigit is there. I will admit that I wasn’t expecting anyone from the outside to break into Indian Hill, but that’s precisely because it was quite hard to believe in the first place. Sure, Selina is an excellent thief, but she’s still too young to be as good as the future Cat Woman she’ll become and it also had me questioning Arkham’s security. Nevertheless, it gave us some quality Selina screentime as well as what was probably the most interesting exchange in this episode: Selina and Nygma’s conversation in the vents. It was also hard to believe that Nygma would be so traumatized by what he had seen down there or that he’d even care about warning Selina at all, especially considering he doesn’t consider her a “fellow killer” or a “friend” like he does with Oswald. Overall, the whole exchange was pointless for Nygma because he got caught before he could escape. Selina did accomplish her mission, but with mixed results: Brigit’s return as Firefly confirms once again that these villains remember nothing from their past lives and now Selina is in great danger.
I wonder if Bruce will feel responsible for Selina’s situation at all. It’s a tricky situation really – Alfred warned Bruce not to involve other people in his mess, but the truth is Selina didn’t break into Arkham because Bruce told her to, but because she wanted to rescue her friend by herself. Bruce had soon other things to worry about when he discovered Galavan!Azrael is after him (again). Despite enjoying Alfred and Azrael’s battle, I kept wondering why they didn’t hide in the Batcave and how did Azrael break into the mansion in the first place. The outcome of the battle against Azrael was quite cheesy, from Jim finally appearing in the last moment to save Bruce by shooting Azrael (how did the bullets go through the armor?) to the both ridiculous and hilarious moment when Penguin (who’s back in full crazy mode, umbrella, character theme and all) appeared next to Butch who killed Azrael with a bazooka. Yes, that happened. Even if all these plot points were cleverly intertwined to feel like one big story progressing naturally, you could also tell that the writers had to push some of these scenes to create that extra shock factor.
‘Unleashed’ left us many questions: will Butch go back to working for Penguin? How will Tabitha fit into this duo after she’s recovered? Where’s Barbara? What does Strange plan to do with Firefly and how will Selina escape? And, probably the most important one: what is Strange’s end game? Doesn’t releasing all these newly raised villains expose him and his work at Arkham? Will we get all these answers in the two final episodes?