Review: Gotham's 'Strike Force' Finally Gave Fans a Reason to Keep Watching

Tuesday, 13 October 2015 - 8:36AM
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DC Comics
Gotham
Tuesday, 13 October 2015 - 8:36AM
Review: Gotham's 'Strike Force' Finally Gave Fans a Reason to Keep Watching
The first few episodes of Gotham season 2 have been less than compelling. So far, the show has relied on Jerome due to most people thinking that he would become the Joker. While sometimes fun to watch, Jerome seemed like an amalgam of Heath Ledger, Mark Hamill, and occasionally Jack Nicholson as well. Each of these takes on the villain was no doubt legendary, but it seemed like Jerome was doing cheap imitations of them - there wasn't much original or innovative about his version of the character. Likewise, the pacing has seemed very off kilter, and Theo Galavan and his crew have given little reason to really be very interested in their grand scheme to take over the city. Then in the fourth episode of the season, entitled 'Strike Force,' the show finally gives fans a real reason to keep watching.

In 'Strike Force,' the new Captain Barnes took over as head of the GCPD and made it very clear that there would be no more rule breaking among his officers. He fired a handful of policemen and made Gordon his second in command. Then, to try and reinvigorate the department, Barnes and Gordon picked out a handful of officers fresh out of the academy to serve as Jim's personal 'Strike Force.' They're young, tough, and none of them seem to be jaded by the corrupt system as of yet.

During the episode, fans finally got their first good dose of the Penguin this season. Theo Galavan sent for him and ordered him to assassinate everyone running for mayor, and to take a shot at him (but miss) as well. Having Penguin's mother held hostage, Cobblepot complies with the order. Bruce and Alfred were also briefly seen in the episode, and Alfred gave Selina Kyle a mean slap to the face for killing his old partner Reggie before informing her that Bruce would be better off without her in her life. Likewise, Silver St. Cloud, a love interest for Batman in the comics, was introduced and Nygma finally got his date with Ms. Kringle.

The most important development to take place throughout the episode, however, was the build up to the Strike Force's confrontation of the Penguin. Captain Barnes tolerates absolutely no one who crosses the line, and now he's told Gordon to take on Cobblepot. Of course, Cobblepot knows Jim's dirty little secrets, so the consequences for bringing him in could be great indeed. Jim has waited his entire career to get things straightened out at the GCPD, and now his own crimes could come back to haunt him.

It's hard not to admit that this episode had some pretty glaring problems. First, the pacing still seems to be way off kilter. For example, assembling this 'Strike Force' took an entire 5 minutes, where it may have been more interesting to draw out the process a little longer. Likewise, some of the dialogue is just extremely cheesy (Galavan's character is the worse, but the others have their fair share of unrealistic lines as well). Then there's Nygma, who for some reason has developed something akin to split personality disorder - isn't that supposed to be Two-Face's thing?

Then there's some things that just didn't make sense. First of all, what was with that drive by that took place at Galavan's press conference? Shots are fired, and everyone just stands by patiently afterwards while Galavan finishes his speech - there was very little believability in that situation. And Cobblepot simply bowing down to Galavan's wishes? He's the biggest mob boss in Gotham! If Galavan had done what he did to Falcone, his sister would have been dead on the floor and he would be cutting off the man's fingers one by one until Galavan told him where his mother was. Yet Penguin just submits without any real show of resistance.

Despite these detractors, there was still much to like about 'Strike Force.' The main thing being that it finally gave fans a real reason to keep watching. Who wouldn't want to find out what's going to happen when the team finally tries to take down the Penguin? Will he tell Captain Barnes what Gordon's done? Will Barnes believe him? Will they even capture Cobblepot in the first place? There's clearly a lot of questions that need answered, so for the first time this year, the audience has a real reason to tune back in.

Just as well, it was a lot of fun to see the more aggressive Nygma take charge in this episode. In recent comics, the Riddler is a cocky, arrogant, and intelligent villain. One has to wonder if everything that's going on with the character could be shaping him into the baddie all Bat fans know and love. And since Nygma appeared as a sympathetic character throughout season 1, it was a major win to see him finally score a date (and a kiss!) with Ms. Kringle (err… Kristen). Seeing Silver St. Cloud introduced was also interesting, and there's so much potential with what the show can do with her character. Of course, the strike force was also a cool idea, and if they keep it around long enough, it could become a really interesting dynamic as well as serve as a stepping stone on Jim Gordon's journey to become the Commissioner Gordon Bat fans love so much.

In essence, 'Strike Force' was a decent enough episode with enough interesting plot developments to give fans a real reason to tune back in next week. Things finally seem to going somewhere this season, and if Gotham keeps it up, it may actually develop into a show really worth watching. Episode 4 of season 2, 'Strike Force,' gets a clear 7.4 out of 10.

Catch Gotham again next week at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.
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