TV Review: Gotham - Season 2 Episode 15 "Mad Grey Dawn"

Episode 15: "Mad Grey Dawn"

Synopsis: Gordon and Bullock (Donal Logue) investigate a trail of clues left in a museum robbery, which, unbeknownst to them, were left by Nygma in a dangerous game of cat and mouse. Gordon’s past comes back to haunt him when an anonymous person threatens to expose his hand in Galavan’s murder. Meanwhile, Penguin’s visit to some old friends leads him to meet his father, Elijah Van Dahl (guest star Paul Reubens) and Bruce practices his street smarts

Recap: There are moments when watching Gotham where I want to throw my hands up in the air and question the sanity of the writers and showrunners of this series. Whether it be the killing off of Fish Mooney or the wasted villains throughout much of the first season, Gotham has been incredibly uneven. But, this season has thrived with the split story arc between the first and second halves. We have a lot of development brewing with Professor Strange and the events at Indian Hill as well as the rise of Mr. Freeze. But, this week's episode offers us new directions for Oswald Cobblepot, Edward Nygma, Bruce Wayne, and James Gordon, all of which come somewhat unexpectedly.

First off, we need to address Penguin. Robin Lord Taylor's portrayal of Oswald Cobblepot has been the highlight of this series, but he hasn't had much to do since entering Arkham Asylum a few weeks back. Released by Hugo Strange, this week finds Penguin making amends with those he wronged in his life, starting with Butch. Upon entering the lair of his former lackey, Penguin is assumed to be his old self, but Butch and Tabitha Galavan quickly realize he is a pathetic shell of his former self. They forgive him but not before covering him with tar and feathers. Cobblepot then makes his way to Edward Nygma who turns him away because he is busy, more on that later. The big moment comes when Penguin visits his mother's grave and runs into Elijah Van Dahl (Paul Reubens) who turns out to be Cobblepot's father. Reubens played Penguin's father in Tim Burton's BATMAN RETURNS, but this version of the character has much more going on. Van Dahl explains that his family forbade him from marrying Oswald's mother because she was a servant and he never knew he had a son. Van Dahl then takes his son home to meet his new family.

In the Bruce Wayne side of things, Bruce joins Selina on a job where she plans to steal money from a gang. Bruce is okay with stealing from criminals and learns that Ivy Pepper is working there cultivating magic mushrooms. She spiked the gang members food and they pass out. Bruce and Selina steal the money but are caught. Under risk of being hurt, Bruce defends Selina and is beaten by the thugs until he recalls Alfred's lesson about beating a larger opponent. He then takes more blows before getting the upper hand and escaping with Selina. While Bruce has spent the majority of this series as a bit of a whiner, it is nice to see him start to develop some traits of the future Dark Knight rather than remaining an awkward and borderline autistic teenager.

In the main plot of the episode, Gordon is sent on a chase concocted by Edward Nygma who is convinced Gordon knows about Kristen Kringle's death. Using the Riddler's question mark for the first time, Nygma sends Gordon around Gotham hunting clues that take him from an art museum to a bomb at the train station and eventually to a pay phone at a GCPD officer's home. All of these items connect together in framing Gordon for killing the cop who was supposedly going to turn Gordon in for the murder of Theo Galavan. Brilliantly executed, this was by far the most complicated crime on Gotham and yet Nygma/Riddler takes no credit. It involved nothing flashy but got the job done. Captain Barnes interrogates Gordon, but the evidence is rock solid and sends Gordon away.

Fast-forwarding to four months after his arrest, Gordon is found guilty and sent to Blackgate Prison. While Harvey Bullock swears he will exonerate his partner, Gordon is resigned to his fate. Gordon meets with Leslie Thompkins and sends her away to raise their child without him in the picture. Gordon sends her off and vows never to speak to her again. Thompkins is heartbroken but something tells me this is not the last we will see her on the series. We also get a glimpse of Selina and Bruce watching the verdict on television, Bruce almost healed from his fight. We also see the Van Dahl family toasting the inclusion of Oswald Cobblepot into their family, but something clearly appears off with his new stepmother and siblings. What that may be we will have to wait and find out.

What I liked most about this episode was the focus on Nygma becoming The Riddler. I would assume that Gordon will be set free before season's end which means that either Nygma is outed as the mastermind or some other throwaway solution is offered. I really hope it is the former as Nygma is proving to be the breakout this season much in the way Penguin was last year. Penguin's storyline better have a quick impact or he is at risk of turning into a useless character like Fish Mooney did in season one. Sending Thompkins off was a wise move as well because it sets the eventual stage for Gordon and Barbara to reunite, although after her crimes I am not sure how in any sort of logical plot that Gordon would take her back. Still, this was a very solid outing that balanced multiple storylines deftly. I cannot wait to see what happens next.

Episode Final Verdict:

Next Episode: "Prisoners" airs March 28th: After Gordon is removed from protective custody, he begins to face new threats and dangers inside prison walls. In order to survive, he must rely on a new friend, as well as Bullock and other outside help. Meanwhile, Penguin grows closer to his father, while his step-mother and step-siblings move forward with their own plans for the family.

Source: JoBlo.com



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