Episode Title: Tonight’s the Night
Original Airdate: 11-09-15
I won’t go so far as to say that this episode falls back down into the hill of annoyability, but in terms of tropes and predictability, this really took the cake. I mean between obvious trap is obvious, car sideswiped by a truck out of nowhere, and villain dangling from a high place holding onto the arm of our hero, it’s pretty thick with them. Luckily, we also get a nice sidetrack with the Riddler on his own path through the woods, and a little bit of Harvey Bullock to lighten the mood.
I will also give this episode a little bit of credit for actually making use of Erin Richards as Barbara Keane. She was given so little to do during the first season that she really wants to make up for it in this season even though it really doesn’t make any sort of sense whatsoever. But once you get past the fact that she’s this random Harley Quinn-esque criminally insane lover scorned… actually that’s really all there is to her character. But at least she finally gets to sell it well in this episode. From the interrogation scene to the police car ride, Richards really gives it her all for a character that I just plain don’t really care for in any way, shape, or form. I’m not entirely mad that they didn’t have the guts to actually kill her off, honestly that would have been just another notch on the predictability belt for the episode. I also liked the way that Lee handled the entire deathtrap from start to finish, with Gordon’s false kiss in the interrogation room to turning the tables on Barbara’s supposed “reveal” that Gordon killed a man for Penguin. The other saving grace for the episode was the ending which I half suspected being a trap-within-a-trap where the real mayor would have been killed, but instead we have already turned the tables on Galavan a mere eight episodes into the season. But you don’t really think that this is the end of this story arc, do you?
But Barbara wasn’t the focus of the entire episode, we also got to have a fun little dinner date in the woods with Nygma who I will go ahead and just start calling the Riddler. He hasn’t officially claimed the name for himself just yet, but the way the show is going, it’s not like they’re going to wait much longer. I really did enjoy everything about his little burial ritual, from his weird 20’s style driving outfit that reminded me very much of Mr. Burns from the Simpsons, to his interrupted riddle, and of course the final reveal of the Penguin. This was an actually pleasant surprise as I had really forgotten about his little arc from last week’s episode and assumed that he would just get picked up again next week none the worse for wear. Instead we have the makings of a villain team-up, and while it’s yet another example of Gotham flying in the face of Batman canon, I’m willing to roll with it as it is a step for both of their characters that makes sense based on what’s come before. Riddler is at the point where he will be willing to get his feet wet with the actual criminal underbelly of Gotham. Whether he will be any good at this or not will remain to be seen. And Penguin is already at his lowest point (and again, only eight episodes in?) and needs someone outside of organized crime to help him regain his footing, and what better person than someone working within Gotham PD?
To wrap things up, there’s the little matter of baby Bruce and Wayne Enterprises. Galavan tries to nail home the final leg of his plan to have Bruce hand over his 51% share of Wayne stock so that Galavan will control not just the city, but also the largest company around. We also get a little bit of the St. Cloud magic as she continues to charm Bruce in her brief moment this week. But after a heartfelt conversation with Alfred, Bruce predictably changes his mind at the last moment, appearing to lose his chance at finding out who the killer of his parents are. Of course, he has yet to make that extra leap of logic to figure out that if Galavan actually knows who killed his parents, the reason that he knows who it was is because he was one of the people behind the killing in the first place. Time will tell if Bruce or at least Alfred actually makes that leap while Galavan is awaiting trial for his crimes and for now, I’m still interested to see where this takes off. Yes, the episode was predictable in many different ways, but it worked out well enough that I enjoyed it even while I generally knew what was coming.