Episode 11: “Rogues’ Gallery”
Someone’s playing with the brains of Arkham Asylum’s inmates on Gordon’s watch.
Leslie Thompkins (portrayed here by Morena Baccarin) isn’t an extremely well-known DC character, nor a vital one in most aspects. She exists in various adaptations as a sort of surrogate mother for Bruce, as well as a dedicated public servant. A medical practitioner who looks out for those who need her and isn’t afraid to put her foot down to be heard. Her motives may be considered pure, but this doesn’t always put her and Bruce on the same side. Dr. Thompkins is a small enough character to be re-envisioned for whatever purposes the show may require of her, but with enough character establishment to set her on a reasonably clear path. It’s the perfect combination of new and old to create something fresh and exciting.
After months of waiting, it’s so good to have Gotham back. What better way to start off the second half of the season than by throwing us into the lion’s den? Or rather, the loony den. Publicly disgraced Gotham PD Officer Jim Gordon is on punishment assignment, supervising Gotham’s most disturbing at Arkham Asylum. Is it wrong to call Arkham a cesspool of psychosis and lunacy? How about a live-in nightmare? Is there anything that can be said about Arkham that would be considered “pushing it too far”? Honestly, no.
No matter how corrupt the Gotham citizens might be, it’s still apples and oranges compared to Arkham inmates. When you’re considered too dangerous to be on the streets of Gotham, it’s not because you have overdue parking tickets. Every psycho and sicko that gets taken in ends up within these walls for containment, treatment, and often experimentation. Almost every shot within the asylum is slanted and angled, a technique used to illustrate the off-center world within. The question of whether the technique is being overdone parallels the previous quandary regarding Arkham. There is no such thing as “too much” here. Gordon has his work cut out for him.
Popping up now and then after the long break are Bullock, Selina and Ivy, Barbara, Penguin, Fish and Butch; but oddly enough, no signs of Bruce, Alfred, or Nygma. Each story arc works well within the “less is more” handling, picking up where they left off or starting in new directions. Gotham can tend to get too caught up in its own importance when allowed to ramble on about a story arc. Each side story has just the perfect amount of development to say what needs to be said. In truth, scaling them back has provided some of the most sincere moments in the series thus far.
It would appear there is a two-part episode on the rise, possibly even a mini arc following Gotham original creation Jack Gruber, who combines the polite demeanor of Hannibal Lecter with a mad scientist’s fascination of tinkering. In this case; tinkering with people’s brains. A few bolts here, a few zaps there, and voila! A small army of electrically-controlled asylum inmates. Given what he was able to accomplish within the strict confines of Arkham, the thought of him freely roaming the streets is more than a little terrifying. Also, extremely exciting. After waiting for so long, the wait must begin again until January 19th. Hurry up, please!
Episode Score: 8.3