GOTHAM RECAP: The name of the episode is “Rise of the Villains: Strike Force.” Last week, Theo Galavan let Jerome and his fellow Arkham escapees assault Gotham. Then, in a hostage situation Galavan set up, he killed Jerome, to make himself look like a hero. And this week, he’s using that good will to run for Mayor. He keeps his badness on the down low, so the citizens of Gotham and the Police think he’s a pillar of the community.
A lot of things are set into motion in this episode that will be paid off as the season progresses.
Michael Chiklis joins the cast as Captain Nathaniel Barnes. He’s tough, and he comes in cleaning house. Barnes is ex-military, and he’s determined to eliminate corruption in the Gotham Police Department, and to bring Gotham out of chaos. He makes Jim Gordon his second in command, because he’s read his file, and he’s impressed by Gordon’s tough stance on crime. Then Barnes and Gordon go to the local police academy to get recruits for a special strike force. These are recent graduates who haven’t been corrupted by the system yet. And they are now ‘Unit Alpha.’
The Penguin and Galavan meet. And Galavan blackmails the Penguin into doing his dirty work for him. Galavan is holding the Penguin’s mother hostage and won’t release her until Penguin kills all the other Mayoral candidates. As we all know, the Penguin loves his wacky mother. So he’s forced to be Galavan’s hatchet man, for now. Penguin is angry. And we all know that when the Penguin gets angry, he gets dangerous.
Alfred runs into Salina Kyle, and promptly punches her in the face for killing his friend Reggie. Never mind that Reggie betrayed and stabbed Alfred, almost killing him. He still punches a young girl in the face, hard. And I found that very disturbing. He also warns her to stay away from Bruce. But she’s the least of his worries. Bruce is infatuated with a new girl at his school, Galavan’s niece. The plot thickens.
Elsewhere, in the Gotham Police Department, Edward Nygma finally gets up the nerve to ask his ladylove over for dinner. She looks surprised but agrees to come. He prepares dinner at his place and everything goes well, until he almost spills the beans about killing her abusive missing boyfriend. But he recovers from that faux pas, and the night ends with a kiss.
Jim Gordon, and the newly formed Unit Alpha, go on their first mission, and it’s almost fatal for one of the new officers. But, on the bright side, Jim gets clued in to Penguin’s involvement with the recent assassinations. He confronts the Penguin but gets slapped down. The Penguin reminds him of the favor he did for him that cost a man his life.
The episode ends with Captain Barnes declaring war on Gotham’s number one crime boss, the Penguin. And he puts Jim Gordon and Unit Alpha on the case. But how is Jim going to bring down the Penguin without implicating himself in the process? What a dilemma. We’ll have to stay tuned to see how it all turns out.