A Look at Gotham- Season 2, Episode 11: “Rise of the Villains: Worse Than a Crime”

What’s Worse Than a Crime? The writing quality of this episode?  Probably, but we’re at the halfway point of Gotham’s second season as we get some resolution to this Order of St. Dumas.  After seeing what they’re capable of, surely they should make a big impact with young Bruce Wayne, right?  Let’s jump right in.

Worse Than a Crime- Alfred flees from Tabitha

The episode begins at the dump.  Alfred stumbles through the trash yard- I’m guessing no one is bothered by a live man emerging from a garbage truck- and flees with Tabitha and some goons on his heels.

Worse Than a Crime- Lucius exits the cave

Lucius Fox emerges from the secret cave to report that he’s fixed the hard drive, but finds no sign of Bruce or Alfred.  Just a room in disarray.  Has Lucius been down there this entire time?

Worse Than a Crime- Theo talks with Bruce about his destiny

Bruce is brought into Theo’s penthouse.  He won’t sign over the papers, so Theo will have to acquire Wayne Enterprises by other means.  He introduces his true self as Dumas and speaks of his degraded family history at the hands of the Wayne family.  For centuries, they lived in squalid obscurity, but also hope because a patron saint spoke of a glorious day to come once nine men and the last son of Gotham were slain by righteous hands.  Such a son is Bruce.

Father Creel enters and anoints Bruce in the name of the Dark Knight, the Cowl, and the Holy Rusted Metal, Batman.  Tonight, at midnight, the sins of the Wayne family shall wash away in Bruce’s blood.

Back at the dump, Alfred takes refuge in what looks like an old freezer or refrigerator while Tabitha and her men walk by.  It’s at this point that a vehicle drops garbage all over Alfred’s hiding spot.  I guess that’s what you call comic relief.

Worse Than a Crime- Jim awakens to Ed and Oswald singing

After a nightmare about Barbara, Jim awakens to find Jim and Nygma singing a ballad.  Jim prepares to head out, but Penguin suggests that he sit.  They share a bond over their hatred of Theo Galavan.  If there was a time for a team-up, now is that time.

Worse Than a Crime- Theo and Tabitha talk with Silver about her role with Bruce

Over at Galavan’s, Tabitha returns with no sign of Alfred.  She’s not concerned.  After all, what can one butler do?  That’s not the point, Theo says.  They’re building an empire and Theo is not a fan of Tabitha’s childishness, but Tabitha isn’t fooled by this bravado.  Without all the wealth and power, what is Theo?  And then Silver enters with news that she’s fighting off a cold and needs to go to bed early, meaning she’ll miss the ceremony.

Theo wonders whether Silver is really cut out for the task ahead.  Silver maintains that Bruce is nothing to her, but she can’t see him die.  Theo says that she has compassion, and Silver shoots that down, but now there’s a chance to prove it through a test: make Bruce Wayne fall in love with her all over again.  Problem is he knows what she is now, but that’s what makes it a test.  If she’s cruel enough to smile at his killing, Theo will know that Silver is worthy of carrying the family name.

But Silver asks if there’s some other way, but there isn’t.  And there are other girls with the Dumas blood that can carry out this task.  Tabitha warns Silver that she can be thrown out if she fails, if Theo is kind enough to not kill her, so Theo advises her to be ruthless.

Worse Than a Crime- Silver meets Bruce in his holding cell

So Silver enters Bruce’s holding cell to tell him that she’s sorry for what’s happened and for deceiving him.  Even still, she believes Bruce is a good person and she would help if she could, but she can’t.  She just hoped that Bruce would want some company.  Bruce doesn’t, as he has no feelings whatsoever for Silver.  She feels different.  Right now, she’s just sorry.  And that’s when Bruce says that Silver can stay after all.  Has this girl learned nothing from the previous episode?

Worse Than a Crime- Alfred throws a guy from his car

Alfred’s hand emerges from beneath the trash.  He escapes the dump and tries to flag down a ride.  He ends up tossing a man from his car, but luckily, Gotham’s finest suddenly materialize, so he’s tased in no time.  Again, is Alfred just good for comic relief in this episode?

Worse Than a Crime- Leslie clashes with Barnes over Gordon

At GCPD, Leslie can’t believe that Barnes has put out an APB for Gordon for assaulting the mayor and escaped GCP custody with Penguin.  Though Galavan could have a mean streak, Barnes believes that he is innocent until proven guilty.  He asks Leslie how long Penguin has been working with Jim, but she says that he isn’t.  If she knows anything about his location, she can be fingered.  As an accomplice, mind you.  He asks whether Leslie knows Jim as well as she thinks she does.

Worse Than a Crime- Nygma tells Leslie to go to Grundy 805

Nygma tells Leslie to go to Grundy 805.

Worse Than a Crime- Leslie learns of Jim's plan

Leslie shows up at the intended location and finds Jim, who needs her to get out of town for some time.  He, Penguin, and many others will take out Theo Galavan.  Leslie wonders whether she got Jim all wrong and warns him to not do this.  She doesn’t care about what he’s done, but Jim can’t let Galavan away.  But then Leslie throws out the pregnancy card.  Why does she pick now to reveal this?  Other than the fact that Morena Baccarin actually is pregnant at this time?

Worse Than a Crime- Silver tries to get Bruce to talk

Back in the holding cell, Silver tries to get Bruce to talk about damn near anything, like top 10 lists or favorite animals.  Bruce’s favorite is an owl.  Oh, okay.  The two talk about dolphins and how they can apparently read your minds.  Their form of sonar can detect tumors, Bruce says, but not read minds.  Well, the one Silver met can read her mind.  That’s great, Silver.

Silver shares her favorite memory: her ninth birthday.  Bruce asks whether Silver’s parents are actually dead, but Silver maintains that she wasn’t lying about that.  That’s how show business works.

Bruce talks of the time went camping with his family in the woods, where they ate oranges.  Martha Wayne sang to herself as she worked on the fire- that was a good day.  Silver eventually says that she can’t let Bruce die.  She knows a back stairwell that isn’t watched.  As a Dumas, she has some pull around here.  She orders a guard to open the gate and hand over his gun, which she then uses to shoot the man in the leg.

Worse Than a Crime- Bruce and Silver run right into Theo

The two make their way down, but run straight into Theo.  The two are then put in a cell together.

Worse Than a Crime- Lucius tells Barnes about Alfred and Bruce Wayne's disappearance

At GCPD, Lucius Fox wonders whether Alfred and Bruce have been abducted, but missing persons can’t be reported until 24 hours have passed.  Even still, Barnes puts in a call out of respect for Wayne Enterprises.  The obvious suspect is Theo Galavan, but Fox has no proof that he abducted anyone.  It’s just obvious, but to get a warrant, GCPD need proof.  Barnes then gets a phone call.

Worse Than a Crime- Alfred's rude awakening

The three talk to Alfred, who was trespassing on Galavan’s property.  Barnes acknowledges that GCPD already jumped the gun once and doesn’t need to get wrung out again.  Maybe they can get a backdoor warrant tomorrow morning, and that’s the best they can do for now.

Worse Than a Crime- Nygma knows where Gordon is

Nygma overhears Alfred tell Lucius and Bullock that he needs some guns and a car.  Two men aren’t enough for this, but they need Jim Gordon.  Luckily, Nygma may have an answer, but first, a riddle: a diamond plate, a glowing grate, a place you never leave. Where am I?  Home.

Worse Than a Crime- Penguin bids Leslie farewell

That evening, Penguin and Jim bid farewell to Leslie when a car pulls up.  Alfred, Lucius, and Bullock exit.  Gordon learns that Galavan has Bruce.  Leslie wants Jim to promise something, but she doubles back and tells him to do what he thinks is best.  And with that, Morena Baccarin drives off, presumably to a better series, but that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

Worse Than a Crime- Bruce pities Silver

Back to Bruce and Silver, who admires how calm Bruce is.  He’s not afraid, weird as that sounds, but Silver still loves him.  She asks if Bruce loves her, and he flat out tells her no.  He knows that she’s playing with him, and he’s saying this because if he dies, she may feel bad about what happened.  Instead, Bruce pities her.  He asks what the point is of her doing this.

Uncle Theo made her.  He threatened to kick her out of the family if she fails.  She calls herself an evil, pathetic loser, but Bruce says that she’s just under the control of bad people.  He tells her that she can change.  There’s hope, but Silver disagrees.  She’s lost everything, including her family.

Worse Than a Crime- Gordon goes over the plan

Jim and company lock and load.  Penguin wants to kill Galavan, but Jim wants him to stand trial for what he’s done.  Remember Jim said that.  As there’s no way to get into the building, Selina Kyle offers to help.  For whatever reason and despite their last conversation, Jim trusts Selina.  No seriously, why?

Worse Than a Crime- Theo comes for Bruce

Silver tells Bruce to stop acting like he’s scared.  He just feels alive right now, happy even, as he’s going to see his parents.  Theo enters: it’s show time.  Before leaving, Bruce tells Silver that he both loves and forgives her- and then kisses her.

Worse Than a Crime- Selina takes out a lone guard

Selina figures a way in and takes out the one henchman that was dumb enough to not pay attention.  There’s always that one henchman.  She leads the others up, as there appear to be no henchmen posted at the stairs.

Worse Than a Crime- Father Creel prepares to kill Bruce

Bruce is set to be sacrificed as Theo hands the blade over to Father Creel.  He silences the followers and approaches young Wayne, telling him to prepare himself.  Bruce, in response, calls him a deluded old fool.  Before he can strike, Silver yells for this to stop.  And this distraction is enough to give Jim and his men an opportunity to enter and start a firefight.

Worse Than a Crime- Lucius tells Barnes about Jim Gordon's location

Lucius, meanwhile, gives Barnes the current location of Jim Gordon.

Worse Than a Crime- Theo, Tabitha, and Silver about to escape

The Order of St. Dumas don’t put up much, if any, of a fight, as they’re dispatched of with no trouble.  Bullock puts down Father Creel after finally ascending all of the stairs.  However, Theo, Tabitha, and Silver mange to escape to the penthouse.  There are only two parachutes, though.  He takes a moment to express his disappointment in Silver- all while keeping his back turned to Tabitha- who uses this opportunity to knock him out.  Okay, who else saw that coming?  And what happened to all of Theo’s fighting prowess we saw the previous week?

Worse Than a Crime- Theo tempts fate

Theo awakens to find Tabitha and Silver preparing to make their escape.  She pushes Silver out the window and then jumps out after her.  Then Jim enters and gives Theo the cuffs to cuff himself.  He does, but then thanks Jim for his principle.  However, Jim turns his gun on Theo when he bets that he’ll escape again.

Then Barnes enters with a warrant to search the premises.  He orders Jim to put his hands on his head, as he’s still a fugitive.  This can still be handle the right way.  Jim gets down, but tells Barnes that he’s making a mistake.

Worse Than a Crime- Penguin tries to convince Jim to kill Galavan

Penguin then enters and knocks out Barnes, as he’s still ready to kill Galavan.  Forget that he nearly killed the Leslie, think of the greater good.  Galavan has Gotham in his pocket.  Is Jim sure that he won’t do escape again?  Right now, Jim needs to think fast.

Downstairs, Bruce tells Selina and Alfred that he had a perfectly feasible escape.  Because of course.

Worse Than a Crime- Jim allows Penguin to beat Galavan

Jim and Penguin bring the still cuffed Theo to the docks and bring him to his knees.  Ready to get revenge for his mother, Penguin bashes Galavan over and over again until Jim intervenes.  And then Jim raises his gun and finishes him off.  So, essentially, Jim hasn’t learned anything?

Worse Than a Crime- Jim asks Leslie if she'll marry him

Sometime later, Jim meets up with Leslie to tell her that it’s all over.  Well, good.  Jim then asks Leslie if she’ll marry him.

Worse Than a Crime- Galavan with Penguin's umbrella in his mouth

Over at Indian Hill, Galavan’s body is brought into the morgue.  Looks like Penguin managed to make good use of his umbrella and Galavan’s mouth.  If it’s any consolation, Professor Strange has high hopes for Galavan.

Worse Than a Crime- Victor Fries

Oh, but how about a stinger?  A man runs through a dark alley and is soon cornered by Captain Cold.  I mean, Victor Fries.

You know, let’s start with this episode’s title: “Worse Than a Crime.”  You can take that in so many directions.  It could be a comment on this episode, this season, this very show’s existence, the writing- all of which could be correct, but I digress.  We’re at the halfway point of this “Rise of the Villains” season and with all of that buildup, from freeing the Maniax to the Order of St. Dumas, we’re left with an anticlimactic mid-season finale that feels underwhelming prepared to what came before this episode.

Worse Than a Crime- Theo speaks with Silver

Theo’s plan has been to turn Gotham to ashes before giving us permission to die, or something to that effect.  He let some of Arkham’s criminals loose, ran a successful campaign for mayor, and almost killed Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne.  I say almost because not only did he fail, but he didn’t seize the opportunities when he had the chance.  Once we first met Father Creel and learned of the Order of St. Dumas, we learned about Theo’s grander vision for the city, so this goes well beyond turning Gotham upside down.  He had a personal feud to settle with the Waynes.

His motivation is to clear his family’s name through the blood of Gotham’s son and with most of the city on his side, Galavan proved a challenge for Jim Gordon.  I’m making this sound more compelling than it is because while Gotham can have good ideas for what it wants to do with its characters, the problem with the show is in execution.

Worse Than a Crime- Jim shoots Theo Galavan

It wants to give us a complex Jim Gordon that struggles with his morality and whether to cross certain lines, so we get an even straighter arrow in the form of Captain Barnes, who knows all about crossing the line and that desire to cross it.  As Bruce Wayne would say later on in his life as a crime fighter, if he allowed himself that liberty, he would never be able to come back.

Gotham is neither that smart, nor clever, so instead of doing something interesting or complex with Jim’s philosophy on crime, it takes us down the same path we’ve been down before.  Jim Gordon has always struggled with doing the right thing versus what he feels is necessary.  The series began with him faking that he killed Penguin so he wouldn’t cross that line.  And this very season started off with him killing Ogden Barker.  That wasn’t on purpose, but it showed that, if put into that situation, Jim is more than capable of crossing that line and he’s not immune to the aftereffects of committing murder.

With Parks’ death, he again contemplated whether he made the right call by letting someone live, so by the time we end the episode here, his answer to his own question is no, as he shoots and kills Galavan in cold blood.  And he once again finds himself working alongside Penguin to prevent more chaos.  This will stick with him, but again, Gotham has been down this path already.  The stakes don’t suddenly become bigger because it’s Theo Galavan.

Worse Than a Crime- Jim orders Father Creel to drop his knife

In fact, Galavan’s plan seemed to fall apart all around him.  The Order of St. Dumas were about as useful as Stormtroopers, Tabitha turned on him, and all those fighting moves we saw showcased in the previous episode seemed to vanish with no explanation here.  Plus, his plan for Silver to try and fool Bruce was pointless when he just outfoxed her in the previous episode.  He’s a child, but he’s not that stupid.

The Order of St. Dumas feels like a waste because, for all of the buildup we got, they were no more dangerous than any other goons you’d find in Gotham City.  And this is where I’ll gripe about the plan of attack.  If Theo knows that Gordon will be after him, wouldn’t it be smart to have the Order better protected or armed?  They went down like nothing and even Selina was able to go toe-to-toe with them, no problem at all.  The shootout literally ended in seconds, so I’m left wondering why the Order of St. Dumas was built up as this big threat to the city.

Worse Than a Crime- Jim and Barnes have a standoff with Galavan in between

I can understand Penguin’s motivation to wanting Galavan dead to avenge his mother, but Gordon?  Wouldn’t he still want to try and prove that the law works, given what Barnes told him about the line?  Or does he hope that this one murder will make things right?  There’s no escaping this- he shot and killed the man, not left him alive to see justice.  Right now, Jim is listening to Penguin’s advice about justice for a greater good.  Given how Jim has seem some of Gotham’s worst, what makes this time any different?  Otherwise, what kept him from killing Parks?

Worse Than a Crime- Selina offers to help Jim

Also, why the hell would Jim listen to and trust Selina, and why would Selina even offer to help in the first place?  Didn’t she say that she’d never trust or talk to a cop again because of what happened to Bridgit?  You can say that this is out of concern for Bruce, but if that’s the case, why even enlist Tommy Flanagan to get information out of Silver St. Cloud when she could have just gone to Gordon or Bullock?  It just felt like a flimsy way to get Selina involved.

Worse Than a Crime- Lucius Fox just because

Same goes with Lucius Fox, who doesn’t do much outside of emerge from the cave right after Theo escapes with Bruce.  Was he there the entire time?

Worse Than a Crime- Alfred gets drenched

For a man who was put into the hospital because of one stab wound, Alfred looks to have made a quick recovery after being stabbed twice by Tabitha, tased, and being thrown into a holding cell with no medical attention.  Despite that, he made it through the battle just fine.  Maybe it’s his rush to save Master Bruce.

Worse Than a Crime- Silver and Tabitha prepare to escape

And again, Theo’s plan to have Silver trick Bruce was ridiculous, given how he’s already seen through her.  With Silver on the run with Tabitha, I’m curious how the two will factor into the second half of the season

Worse Than a Crime- Not Captain Cold

That also extends to Indian Hill, with Galavan’s body brought to the same facility where Bridgit rests.  And I’ll be damned if that wasn’t Fish Mooney’s body I saw in one of those tubes.  We got a mention of Dr. Hugo Strange and a quick look at Victor Fries.  Whether he’s been through his tragic backstory- if Gotham is smart, they’d adopt or pull elements from Heart of Ice from the Animated Series- is another thing.

Captain Cold

However, because of The Flash, I can’t help but think of Captain Cold when I see this show’s version of Mr. Freeze.

In the end, “Worse Than a Crime” is a so-so mid-season finale for Gotham’s second outing.  While the buildup to Theo’s plan had strong elements to it, the resolution was disappointing and the show once again goes through familiar themes and messages while dealing with Gordon’s morality.  I appreciate the serialized approach to this season, so I’m hoping that Gotham continues this into the next season, just with stronger writing, messages, and characterization.  Pretty much stronger everything.

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