Gotham Azrael review S2, Ep. 19

Azrael arrives not to save the day, but to slay

Azrael wasn’t just another strong episode of Gotham. It’s proving the once beleaguered show is starting to gain an invaluable currency — audience trust. And they actually deserve it.

Batman Gotham Knight DC Comics Sixth Scale Figure

Switching up the origin of one of Batman’s loyal allies to make him an adversary for Gordon and company could have been a disaster. Instead, the showrunners made it work big time making for another killer episode. The show has clearly found its identity and the writers have confidence in their vision of the Batman mythos.

Gotham Azrael review - Gordon

With Gordon and Bruce convinced Hugo Strange was the man who ordered the Wayne murders we’ve got a clear objective for the season’s final arc. Realizing Gordon is on to him, Strange unleashes his new weapon — the reincarnated Theo Galavan. Luckily for Strange, Galavan lost his memory. That makes it almost too easy for Strange to convince Galavan he’s the instrument of destruction for The Order of St. Dumas – Azrael. And his next target? James Gordon.

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To get Strange brought to justice in an official capacity, Gordon needs the help of Capt. Barnes and the Gotham City Police Department. Before Barnes can chew him a new one, a mysterious caped figure drops in. Not gonna lie. Seeing Azreal in full darned near comic accurate costume had me geeked out — a lot. No flaming sword sadly. I loved Miss Peabody’s line questioning Strange’s claim of the Dumas sword being handed down for generations.

Gotham Azrael review - Dr Hugo Strange

Galavan’s disorientation post-resurrection helped explain away his methodical movements as he went full on Jason Voorhies on the GCPD in pursuit of Gordon. It was a small thing, but I liked that Gordon was actually at a loss for once. No matter if he’s the show’s Batman surrogate, Gordon isn’t superhuman. He occasionally needs to get rattled and a costumed sword-wielding guy coming for him worked nicely.

Barnes’ rooftop battle with Azreal was well done. You knew Barnes was going to eat the sword, but I’m glad he wasn’t killed from it … at least not yet. Michael Chiklis is too good in this role to be written off already. With only a handful of episodes left, outing Azrael as Galavan to the wide Gotham City populace was a smart move. In solid comic book fashion there were a number of subplots that were impacted with Galavan’s return. Tabitha, Butch and Barbara were in danger of becoming a needless distraction, but Tabitha seeking to reunite with her brother sounds interesting.

Gotham Azreal review - Capt Barnes

Not nearly as intriguing though as Penguin, who can finally get the payback he sought himself for Galavan killing his mother. And this was a pretty creative way to have Gordon do what need be done in a situation, but not have the stigma of being a legit murderer. As his conversation with Bruce revealed, Gordon will be suffering from his decision for awhile to come.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the inmate sequence with Nygma. It was a bit too playful and entirely too reminiscent of other Arkham prisoner scenes. Everyone except for the main villain is certifiable. That’s a trick the writers have leaned on too often this season first with Barbara, Penguin and now Nygma.

That gripe aside, Azrael continued Gotham’s major roll. The final sequence with Gordon on the streets and Azrael stalking him was tremendous. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX

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