Gotham S02E20 “Unleashed” REVIEW

Gotham S02E20 “Unleashed” REVIEW

0 comments 📅31 May 2016, 11:17

Gotham S02E20 “Unleashed” REVIEW

• Gotham_2.10_unleashed_main

stars 4.5

Airing in the UK on Channel 5, Mondays, 10pm
Writer: Danny Cannon
Director: Paul Edwards

Essential Plot Points:

• Strange and Peabody

  • Harv and Jim roll up on Arkham Asylum with a warrant. They’re met by Strange and Peabody. Not unreasonably, Harv asks why Galavan and Victor, both of whom are “dead” seem to be alive and well. Strange plays it straight and claims the massive pile of shredded documents in his office is “spring cleaning”. He also points out that they only have a warrant to search his office.
  • As the GCPD (And Jim) leave, Ed comes back up from Indian Hill. Deeply disturbed by what he’s seen, he’s escorted back to his cell and notices something odd about the AC…

• Ed

  • A very grumpy Priest interrupts Azrael who has broken into his church. Azrael asks him for a weapon, the Priest says he doesn’t have any and Azrael breaks his neck.

• Harv speech

  • A manhunt is underway with the other officers all looking to Harv for guidance. He’s endearingly nervous about being looked up to but delivers a pretty solid speech that gets them in motion.
  • Jim, again doing pretty solid thinking, realises the most likely person to know how to find Galavan is Tabby. They roll out to find her.

• Bruce

  • Alfred, who looks TIGHT this week in a very good new coat, chases Bruce down when he jumps out of the car. Bruce says he’s tired of waiting for Gordon, runs off to find Selina and Alfred reluctantly lets him go.

• Butch Tabby and Harv

  • Tabby’s fixing to head out of town and Butch is pleading with her to stay. Jim and Harv show up and question her about her brother. The guys appeal to her love for her brother especially as if the GCPD find Galavan first, he’s dead. Tabby explains that the real Sword Of Sin, once owned by her grandfather, is what he’ll be looking for. He’s buried in Gotham Cemetery. With his treasures…

• Selina

  • Bruce finds Selina at Bridget’s pigeon loft. He asks for her help and she’s not even a little interested until he tells her Bridget was sent to Arkham too. Selina’s bent double with guilt, until Bruce makes an excellent point. Strange was expecting the GCPD but he won’t expect them breaking in. Selina, brilliantly, agrees but refuses to take Bruce. If she goes in, she’ll just be thrown out. If Bruce goes in, the whole thing will be shut down and he’ll be killed. Bruce, reluctantly, agrees.

• The Tomb

  • Harv, Jim and Tabby rock up to the Dumas Crypt which is locked but not for Mr Crowbar!
    They find Tabby’s grandfather’s tomb. Harv is VERY not okay with grave robbing but they find the tomb and get the sword. Azrael shows up, knocks out Harv and beats the righteous Hell out of Jim.
  • He’s only saved by Tabby who tries to get through to Galavan, giving him the sword. He says her name, and she seems to be getting through until he flashes on their attempt to kill Bruce. He crosswires that with the order to kill Jim, stabs Tabby and leaves her to die.
  • Nearby Rey and Finn scream with rage and Chewie shoots Azrael in the chest with…
    Sorry, wrong meeting.
  • Selina ninjas her way into a delivery van.

• Jim grabs a car

  • Tabby’s holding on and warns Jim that she reminded Galavan of Bruce and his need to kill him. Jim can’t get through to Alfred so sprints off, commandeering a police car. Brilliantly he gives not one single damn he’s no longer a police officer.

• Selina and Ed

  • Selina, who has a BADASS new hat this week, sneaks in to Arkham through the vents. On the way she finds green goo and rats and reacts with the exact sort of feline disgust you’d expect.
  • Brilliantly, she runs into Ed breaking out as she breaks in. Ed is freaked OUT. He and Selina trade; the way out for Ed for the way in for Selina.

• Alfred

  • Alfred answers the phone to Jim who tells him what’s going on. When Jim realises Bruce is in the city, he goes looking. Alfred hears someone come in, jumps them and… it’s Bruce.
    He does not call Jim back. But Alfred does say, “You’re ’avin’ a larf aintcha?” so we’ll let him have that.

• Butch and Tabby

  • Butch, yet another cast member who has a BRILLIANT day in wardrobe this week is talking to Tabby about how much he misses her. He tries to tell her he loves her and bursts into tears. It’s lovely. You want to hug the poor dude. Except he’s sweating A LOT, so maybe not.

• Penguin

  • Penguin certainly doesn’t. He shows up, getting right in Butch’s face. They have a standoff over Tabby’s bed and Penguin demands that Galavan must die. Butch makes him swear to leave them alone once Galavan’s killed. Go Team Reluctant Team Up!
  • Alfred does call Jim! And gets tooled up! They locked the house down and split up doing so. On the way, Bruce finds a broken window and, again massively sensibly, calls Alfred!
    But it’s too late. Azrael is in the manor.
  • The guards discover Ed’s made a run for it as Selina breaks in. With Arkham on lockdown she gets to the elevator just in time…
  • Bruce shows up as Azrael attacks Alfred. The butler does GREAT. Way better than Barnes did in fact but Galavan takes him down, puts him through a window and goes after Bruce.
  • Selina makes it to Indian Hill. She overhears Strange and Peabody talking about whether or not Azrael really has gone rogue. He points out it doesn’t matter as the GCPD will shoot Galavan, solving their problem for them if he is. Strange is more concerned with getting the facility shut down and the “patients” relocated. Selina watches as one, looking distinctly Killer Croc-esque, is dragged to his new cell…

• Bruce runs over Theo

  • Azrael corners Bruce in the garage. Which is actually a very bad plan for Azrael as Bruce hotwires a car, runs him over and shoves him through the garage door. Nonetheless, he lives, and using Tabby’s whip, drags Bruce to the gates to be killed.
  • Which is when Jim turns up and shoots him.

• Shooty Jim

  • LOTS.
  • Alfred and Jim check on Bruce as Azrael, who’s seen every Scream movie more than once, gets back up. And then…
  • Something beautiful happens
  • Penguin shows up.
  • With Butch.

• the rocket launcher moment

  • They explode Azrael. They leave. No mic is dropped on screen but we choose to believe they both did that AND high-fived just off shot.
  • Ed’s free! Oh wait no he isn’t.
  • Downstairs, Selina finds Bridget’s test room. Filled with spare costumes.

• Bridget

  • And burnt corpses.
  • And Bridget in a very cool new costume.
  • Convinced Selina’s a test subject, Bridget apparently torches her as the episode finishes.
  • TWIST!


It’s an odd thing to say about an episode with a rocket launcher-based fatality in it, but what really stays with you are the little moments. This is an episode full of weird, sweet connections between characters that are an absolute joy to watch.

Also? Rocket launcher.

The gravitational pull of Strange is such that the entire show is now very sensibly focused entirely around him and that means we get some strange, and welcome, partnerships here. First and foremost is the unusually joyous moment between Selina and Ed in the ducting. Ed’s time in Arkham has been very good for the character and seeing him honestly terrified of what’s in the basement has done more for him than a half dozen early episodes this year did. He’s still brilliant, still thinking and Cory Michael Smith still gives him this lovely streak of just-beneath-the-surface rage, but he’s also seen a game too big for him to solve. At least for now.

So, Ed wants out and Selina wants in and when they meet it’s as equals. The moment when they call each other out is glorious because it was one of the first hints we’ve seen of the weird camaraderie between Batman’s Rogues. It’s not that they wouldn’t screw each over in a heartbeat, they would. But when you’re in the venting of an asylum/monster factory looking for the way out why be mean to the person next to you?

Tabby and Jim

Time and again, Danny Cannon’s script pairs people with odd dance partners or puts them in odd situations and it always pays off. Harv being viewed as the natural leader of the GCPD, and his sweet reluctance to rise to the occasion is especially lovely. The standout, though, is Butch, pouring his heart out to Tabby. It’s such a sweet moment and so heartfelt that even though they’ve been together on screen for maybe five minutes this season, you buy into the romance. Drew Powell’s delivery of, “You actually like the way I look,” was incredibly powerful and I really hope she pulls through and the show plays with this relationship some more.

And then, the ordnance cherry atop the sundae of destruction and violence.

The rocket launcher moment.

This is peak Gotham, and we don’t mean that in a bad way. Various ongoing plotlines, from Butch and Tabby’s romance to Bruce’s training to Jim’s murder of Galavan, come together in one place. Bruce and Alfred are back on the same page; Penguin gets his vengeance; Jim gets his redemption; and Galavan gets definitively written off. The only thing missing is a mic drop but Butch’s, “Night, fellas!” and Alfred’s mildly dazed wave in return come close enough.

This show has gone from plodding, staccato and at times deeply unpleasant pulp to sprinting, immensely varied, energetic and FUN pulp. With two episodes we’re looking forward to seeing how the series wraps. And that’s not something we were expecting to say even ten episodes ago.

Rocket launcher bros

The Good:

  • The entire wardrobe department this week! Take a bow, folks! Especially for Butch’s amazing new coat!
  • Some prime cockney shenanigans this week. We especially liked, “You’re ’avin’ a larf aintcha?”
  • Gotham’s shitty traffic is a plot point this week which we love. Obstacles Jim can’t arrest, shoot or blow up heighten the tension quite nicely.
  • “Someone got inside my brother’s head. It’s not a safe place to be.” God we hope Jessica Lucas sticks around next season. She’s FINALLY being given good material.
  • “I’m sure we’re breaking more than a few laws right now.”
    “Really? This is where you draw the line?” Stuff like this is just a joy. Harv has lines. They’re just WAY further back than most people’s.
  • “Forensic guy?!”
    “Street trash girl?!”
  • “Jim, a little tip for next time. Always bring the right tools for the job.” Awesome. You have to love the way that this time Penguin doesn’t mess around. Shows up, kills the guy a lot. Leaves.
  • “You actually like the way I look.” Sniffle. Oh you guys.

The Bad:

  • “Must have been weird seeing your dead brother show up dressed like a ninja from medieval times.” Most of the time, Dona Logue gets some peachy dialogue. Sometimes he gets stuff like this.

The Random:

  • Shot of the week is of course, this. If nothing else for the glorious trio of “…that did just happen, right?” facial expressions.

• shot of the week

Review by Alasdair Stuart

No Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first one to write a comment

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.