We feel like we should begin this particular “Gotham” review with a big statement: Hugo Strange may be the strongest fully-formed villain created on the show so far. With the Penguin, we still feel like we have more development to go before he breaks bad in the way that the Batman villain would; with Hugo, he’s already there. He’s confident in what he does, he has the resources to do them, and has no moral compass for what happens.
Also, what makes Hugo so strong is how well-protected he is. Why go out and cause carnage when other people can do it for you? He’s not necessarily out to kill people, but has no problem if they die; for him, it’s all about science, and furthering along what he believes to be his own brand of “education” that comes from throwing complete psychopaths out into the wild.
This was a no-show week for the Penguin, but we had another test subject center stage in Barbara Kean. This was a pretty fantastic performance from start to finish by Erin Richards, given that we fully believed that the character believed she was starting over at one point in the episode, only to believe minutes later that she was merely tricking him in order to get him in the clutches of a certain assassin with a motive. She ended up helping him get some information regarding the Philosopher, a man Bruce Wayne was hunting for extensively due to his connections to Thomas Wayne. Through another one of his former subjects, he learned more about the experiments. Of course this man was none other than Strange (as revealed by Lucius Fox at the end of the episode), and as a means to keep the secret hidden he sent Mr. Freeze out to wreck a little bit of havoc.
How cool was the take on Freeze now that he is more of the traditional Batman villain? We certainly got the sense that in this suit, the man is almost unstoppable and it’s rather lucky that he had a specific agenda in mind this time around.
The cliffhanger this week was excellent in that Strange was starting to realize that the walls were closing in, but if he can control him, he’s got a huge weapon at his disposal in Azrael. Apparently, Theo Galavan got a makeover while he was dead! That was a little odd, but getting the character back should be interesting.
From the fun Harvey Bullock moments to the Hugo Strange house of cards crumbling, this was a very good episode of “Gotham” as a whole. Most importantly, Bruce Wayne now has a fuller scope of who his father was, and how one of his old friends may have played a significant role in his downfall. Grade: B+.
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