Gotham – “Tonight’s the Night” – aired 11/9/2015 – ***** stars
Written by Jim Barnes
Directed by Jeffrey Hunt
*Spoilers contained within*
By Joe Grodensky
When Barbara Keane (Erin Richards) was introduced to the Gotham universe, she was the sweet, loving girlfriend of Detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie). They lived happily together in an apartment with plans to spend the rest of their lives together. By the end of season one, she is captured by The Ogre (Milo Ventimiglia) and put into therapy after suffering a traumatic experience. In the beginning of this season, she is in Arkham where she is eventually released by Theo Galavan (James Frain). In “Tonight’s the Night”, Barbara’s psychosis is further explored and Erin Richards is allowed to play more with Barbara’s insanity.
“Tonight’s the Night” opens with Barbara walking down the aisle at a wedding rehearsal where she is marrying Jim. It turns out to be a nightmare sequence when the priest turns into Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) and the guests are Arkham inmates. When she wakes up, there is a dress waiting for her courtesy of Galavan. As fans know, Galavan has a reason for everything he does. Since the ending of the last episode, “Mommy’s Little Monster”, Gordon has now become a target of Galavan. Just as Jim is explaining his suspicion of Galavan to Barnes (Michael Chiklis), Barbara walks in and demands to talk to Jim. Just when Jim starts to question her motives, she breaks down crying and he reacts by kissing her, to the dismay and anger of Leslie (Morena Baccarin), who is watching the interrogation.
This is exactly where Barbara wants Jim. She offers telling him everything he wants to know if he goes with her to a secret location. Jim agrees to her offer despite objections from Barnes, Leslie and Bullock (Donal Logue), but allows Barnes to let Strike Team Alpha trail him. Along the way, Jim tries to talk Barbara out of whatever she’s in on with Galavan, but she uses his words to convince him he still loves her. Barnes’s gut feeling about the plan turns out to be right as the convoy is ambushed on a drawbridge and the Strike Team is rendered useless. Bullock is knocked unconscious and the last thing Jim sees before he is drugged is Barbara outside the car daring him to shoot her. Back at the station, Bullock is bandaged up and ready to go back out to look for Jim, but Barnes tells him to go home and rest while assembling Strike Team Alpha.
Jim does wake up, but is tied to a chair sitting across from a priest who is also tied up in Gotham Cathedral. In the following scene, Barbara is wearing a wedding dress holding a shotgun to Jim’s head. She tells him all about how she is recreating the wedding she dreamed. She even held people hostages to be “witnesses” to the depraved nuptials. At the end of her presentation, she signals to Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) who presents Leslie, tied up to a wheelchair. Barbara pulls a knife (#StabbyBabs) while telling Leslie about Jim’s deal with Oswald in hopes of getting her to hate him so she can have him back. Leslie doesn’t budge and tells Barbara she knew and didn’t care. Jim breaks free, shoots two henchmen and wounds Tabitha as the GCPD arrives. Barbara runs up to the organ chamber when she and Jim stumble through a stained glass window. Jim tries to pull Barbara back in, but she lets go, falling into a row of trees and hedges. She survives, but barely.
Let’s Make a Deal
Jim Gordon isn’t the only person who Galavan has on his list of potential pawns in Gotham City. Galavan, through Silver St. Cloud (Natalie Alyn Lind), requests that Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) meet him in his office. Bruce obliges and Silver greets him with a kiss. Galavan starts off by asking Bruce about his dream in life. Naturally, Bruce replies his dream is to find the person who murdered his parents. Bruce then asks Galavan about his dream and is told that his dream is to make Gotham great again. He makes Bruce a deal – If Bruce sells him his share of Wayne Enterprises, not only will he fix the corruption and illegal dealings within the company, he will also find the killer of Bruce’s parents. Bruce rejects the offer as Wayne Enterprises is all he has left of his parents so Galavan tells him to think it over. Back at the mansion, Bruce is going through the files to see if the corruption and illegal dealings Galavan mentioned are true when Alfred (Sean Pertwee) asks if he’s okay. Bruce tells Alfred of the deal and immediately Alfred says no, but understands why Bruce would want to make such a deal. Bruce revisits Galavan and as he sits down to sign the paperwork, he decides not to sell Wayne Enterprises. Galavan, later on, throws the list of suspects into the fire while Gordon and the GCPD storm his home to arrest him for the kidnapping of Mayor Aubrey James (Richard Kind).
Rise of the Villains
While “Tonight’s The Night” focused on Galavan, Barbara and Bruce we cannot forget about our newest villain, Ed Nygma (Cory Michael Smith). Last week, he finally snapped after murdering and dismembering the woman he loved, Kristen Kringle (Chelsea Spack). We see him driving into the woods with a suitcase and shovel with plans to bury Kristen and hide evidence. He buries her and then sets up a picnic, gives her a eulogy and makes a toast to her. The ceremony doesn’t last long because a hunter stumbles across the morbid scene. Ed takes a shovel to the unsuspecting witness, killing him with a blow to the back of the head. The day goes by and Ed discovers his picnic area has been disturbed. As he walks into the woods he stumbles upon a shack. He stops to examine it when out comes a bloody, beaten Oswald, still on the run from the massacre at Galavan’s party.
I am happy to see this season living up to its name, Rise of the Villains. Don’t get me wrong, the villain of the week method used to start season one wasn’t bad, but as a Batman fan, I wanted to see the big wigs and that’s what we are getting this season. Through Galavan, we are seeing Oswald evolve into The Penguin and Ed evolve into The Riddler. I am happy that Barbara got her time to shine as a villain. Erin Richards has owned the role so well and, like Cory Michael Smith, is so great at switching between normal and crazy on a dime. It’s also amazing to see Bruce grow up right before our eyes. In season one he was a scared yet curious child who wanted to make everything right in the world. Now here he is, getting to the bottom of what’s really going on around him, good or bad. He’s learning how to read people and situations just as Batman would.
There is no limit to the success of this show and I see it being a hit for a very long time.
Gotham airs 8 PM ET, Monday nights on Fox. Check your local listings.