Azrael is on the loose, but now all of Gotham City has seen his face. It’s a decent follow-up to “Azrael,” but just that, a decent episode. Nothing to write home about, but it does deliver an explosive moment towards the end. That was intentional.
The episode begins with Bullock and Gordon entering Arkham with a warrant to search Dr. Strange’s office. Records indicate that Galavan’s body was brought to Arkham and cremated, so why were both he and Victor Fries spotted on Gotham’s streets? Officers enter Strange’s office and find shredded papers. Strange claims that it’s spring cleaning, but Jim is still onto Strange.
Since Jim isn’t an officer, Strange isn’t required to talk to him. Instead, he offers to help Jim with his anger problem. The warrant is only for Strange’s office, and he’s willing to accommodate, but the GCPD will need another warrant. They can get one, but by that time, Strange will get in touch with a judge. GCPD and Gordon fall back for now. As for Azrael, he has not returned yet.
As GCPD leave, Nygma emerges from the Indian Hill undetected and is brought back to his cell. After getting his composure, he stares up at the air vent and laughs. Wait, did no one notice he wasn’t in his cell?
At a church, Azrael speaks with a priest about obtaining a weapon to complete his holy quest. The priest has no weapon, so Azrael snaps his neck. Should have given him a weapon.
As Barnes remains in critical condition at Gotham General. Penguin dresses for his confrontation with Theo Galavan.
Since GCPD is without a captain, Bullock takes charge and tells the fearful officers that the terrible people in Gotham keep getting weirder, but Theo Galavan is just a man. If he bleeds, he can be beaten. So do what Barnes would say: find and get Galavan by any means. Jim thinks that Bullock did fine, but it’s time to think outside the box. Luckily, Tabitha is still in the city and could be a useful resource.
On the streets, Bruce tells Alfred that he plans to get Selina’s help since he’s tired of doing nothing but trust Jim Gordon, which has gotten him nowhere so far. Alfred reminds Bruce that it’s his job to protect him, but Bruce is adamant about getting help. So Alfred advises Bruce to be careful.
Just before Tabitha can skip town, Bullock and Gordon arrive. Tabitha knows that whatever stabbed Barnes wasn’t Galavan, but Azrael- a mythical figure and 30-year-old legend that Theo and Tabitha have known about since they were kids. Jim wants to help since a search team would kill Galavan if found.
Tabitha, knowing that Azrael’s current sword is fake, figures that Azrael will want the real one that belongs to her grandfather. The sword is said to hold supernatural powers. Problem is that Grandpa is in Gotham Cemetery, dead for over 20 years, but he was buried with his treasures.
For some reason, Selina is still feeding Bridgit’s birds. Bruce tells her about Strange’s work on bringing back the dead and what he might be heading, but Selina doesn’t care. She does when Bruce tells her that Bridgit was sent to Arkham and may still be there. Oh, so that’s why we’re meeting at this location. Selina blames herself for what happened to Bridgit.
Bruce wants to break into the highly guarded looney bin that is Arkham Asylum, but Selina would prefer she go. Alone. After all, if she gets caught, she’ll just be tossed out. But a high commodity like Brue Wayne? The whole damn operation gets shut down. That or he’ll be killed. And Selina apparently knows a way in. Why hasn’t she broken into Arkham already, then? She’s got nothing else to do.
At Gotham Cemetery, Tabitha, Bullock, and Gordon arrive at and enter the Galavan crypt. Bullock is creeped out by the act of grave robbing, but like he said: whatever it takes. So this is where Harvey draws the line. The two remove the slab and find the sacred sword.
And then Azrael arrives. He beats the hell out of Jim, but Tabitha soon stands in his way and locks the crypt doors. She tries to remind him of who she is, and hands him the sword. When it seems like Theo might remember who he is, Tabitha removes his mask and talks of their once happy upbringing. Theo starts having more flashes of his life and his mission to kill Bruce Wayne. Death to the son of Gotham.
But then he stabs Tabitha and thanks her for reminding him of his goal. After Azrael leaves, a wounded Tabitha tells Jim and Bullock that Galavan remembers his mission to kill Bruce Wayne. With no response from Alfred, Jim takes the first approaching cruiser and drives off towards Wayne Manor.
Gordon finally gets to Alfred and warns him that Galavan may be coming after him to accomplish his mission. Gordon advises Alfred to remain at Wayne Manor. Alfred gives Jim the last location where he saw Bruce. But Bruce is right there at Wayne Manor.
Selina, having made her way to a laundry cart, is successfully brought into Arkham’s gates. She scales the rooftops like a spider can and sneaks into the vents.
She then Nygma run into each other in the vents because why the hell not. They agree to help each other, but Nygma tells Selina to avoid the basement because of what’s going on down there. She’s still going down to see if Bridgit is indeed down there. Nygma will tell her how to reach the basement, but only if she tells him how to get out. Also, she needs to pick a lock first.
At the hospital, Butch opens his heart to Tabitha when he gets a surprise visit from Penguin. He arrives with flowers to pay his respects. Oswald has every reason to want to kill Tabitha for her stabbing his mother, but his focus is on Theo. He’s not buying into this Azrael nonsense. They’ve all suffered by his hands, so it’s time for Galavan to die. Once that happens, Penguin promises to leave Butch and Tabitha alone.
Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred and Bruce split up to lock every door, close every window, and kill the lights. As Bruce covers his area, he notices a window broken.
Solid Selina continues her Arkham infiltration when a few guards find that Nygma is not in his cell. As the alarms blare, Selina finds the hidden entrance to Indian Hill- picking the lock in no time at all- just before the guards stroll by the hallway.
Before Bruce can warn Alfred, he finds that Azrael has already engaged him in combat. The two clash, blade to blade, with Azrael eventually tossing Alfred out of a window.
As Jim continues the most boring drive ever, Selina arrives at Indian Hill. Peabody feels that Azrael has gone rogue. She and Strange have a conversation about Theo Galavan becoming Azrael. If the GCPD kills him, Strange can cover his tracks. All subjects, meanwhile, will be moved to a new location and the facility must be shut down.
I wager they’re only having this conversation at this time so Selina can overhear all of this.
In Wayne Garage, Bruce hides from Azrael, who calls for the Son of Gotham to face him. Azrael calls the Waynes an arrogant family with no beliefs, honor, or respect. When Bruce dies, the Wayne name will be eradicated forever.
Bruce manages to fool Azrael with a fake-out, giving him just enough time to slam into him with one of the cars. Outside, though, Bruce searches for the body, but doesn’t find one. Azrael uses that opportunity to subdue Bruce. He pulls out his blade, but before he can deliver the blow, Jim finally arrives and empties his clip into Azrael.
Oh, but Azrael isn’t down yet and Jim is out of ammo. Luckily, Penguin has arrived with another umbrella to stick some place besides Galavan’s mouth. He tells Jim to bring the right tools for the job. Like Butch’s rocket launcher, which he uses to blow Azrael straight to Hell. Okay, what the actual hell was that?
Nygma crawls out of the vents and ends up on Arkham’s rooftops, only to end up right back in custody. Well, a lot of good that did.
Selina, meanwhile, sneaks into one of the rooms, where she’s confronted by a newly revived Firefly who remembers nothing of her former life. Strange told her that she had amnesia, but he also said that he’d send people to test her. Oh, and don’t call her Bridgit, either. Her name is Firefly. Yeah, we already know that, Bridgit.
So, people, what happened today? This was an episode, but “Unleashed” did not have the fun factor of Azrael storming the GCPD or the camp factor of Azrael using a legendary sword that was only made a day ago, but it had its moments.
Really, there are some interesting ideas at work in this episode. The GCPD is once again without a captain to lead them and Barnes’ fate is up in the air. Bullock has been around long enough to know how things work in Gotham City, as weird as they’ve become, but he admits that he’s not great with speeches.
If Barnes is out of commission for some time, I’d like to see how the department functions without a leader and how, if at all, a reluctant Bullock could take charge of the GCPD. After all, he’s assertive and boisterous enough to get the job done, when necessary.
Selina caring for Bridgit’s birds because she feels responsible for what happened is a way to not only follow up on the Firefly arc, but maybe even add some depth to Selina. She pushed Bridgit into her decision, walked it back when it looked like Bridgit would do something stupid, and now must live with her decision.
The problem is that, to my knowledge, this is the first time we’ve seen Selina feeding Bridgit’s birds. Before this, she’d been helping Bruce rough it on Gotham’s mean streets. So has she been harboring this guilt for Bridgit all along or only now decided to care for her pets? We’re never told. And had Bruce not mentioned Bridgit, I doubt that Selina would have gotten involved.
So yeah, I find it a somewhat contrived to transition from Azrael to Firefly and just a way to get Selina into Arkham. Forced as the situation was, I am sort of looking forward to this new version of Firefly. Though it’s going to be repetitive if she, like Oswald and Galavan, has flashes of her previous self, showing the faults in Strange’s reprogramming.
And that’s how I clumsily transition over to Oswald himself. With Penguin back to his old self, he’s even more motivated by revenge to kill Galavan, and he’s got every reason. While much of the episode was dull, Penguin’s few scenes were fun, if only for him saying the people of Gotham wouldn’t care about Galavan wearing leather. That and his desire to stick his new umbrella in a spot that wasn’t Galavan’s mouth.
By the way, Butch spoke so fondly of Tabitha that it makes me wonder if we missed a few scenes of them interacting. His attraction to her seems genuine, but we’ve barely spent enough time with the two of them, I feel, for the tender moment in the hospital to feel earned. Also, Barbara’s apparently been kicked out, so keep an eye on that.
The damn rocket launcher, like Jim shooting Cale, causing him to explode, was that over the top wackiness I’ve come to expect from Gotham. Somehow, it worked and got a laugh out of me. It was a deus ex machina, as Penguin and Butch literally showed up at Wayne Manor out of nowhere- how’d they even know Galavan would be there at that time?- to save Jim, Bruce, and Alfred.
Speaking of, Alfred managed to hold off Azrael for some time, which is good for Alfred, but what does it say when Azrael can withstand multiple bullets, previous fights, and getting hit by a car, but not one ass-kicking from Alfred? Also, sort of a quick shift for Azrael to go from wanting to kill Gordon to regressing back to his plan to kill Bruce. We already went down that path.
And pretty stupid of Bruce and Alfred to split up in the first place when they knew that Azrael was coming. That level of ridiculous should be saved for the likes of Scooby-Doo.
Jim served more of a supporting role this time. He’s not a cop, so he doesn’t have the authority to question Hugo Strange, and as much as he’d like to, he can’t take over the GCPD just yet. So all he does is help Tabitha locate the sword, but following that, he’s stuck riding in a cruiser and doesn’t arrive at Wayne Manor until right before Azrael can kill Bruce.
Once again, Strange’s actions must be called into questions. Bullock and Gordon confronted him on his experiments, Azrael is still at large, but his plan is to let the police take care of problems so he can cover his tracks? That’s not very smart for a man like Hugo Strange.
“Unleashed” has some good in it, but it’s marred by some missed opportunities for character development, one convenience after another, and a retread of Galavan trying to kill Bruce Wayne. It’s saved through death by rocket launcher, but with Strange bringing back more and more past villains, this is more of an awkward transition from Azrael and back to Firefly.