TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 15 – Mad Grey Dawn | FanboysInc

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 15 – Mad Grey Dawn

By Megan Wilde

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 15 - Mad Grey Dawn

A lot happens in “Mad Grey Dawn”; this is a good episode. The Riddler gets pretty extreme pretty quickly, Penguin gains a father and a new family, Bruce gets beaten up and loses his fear, and Jim gets framed. There are lots of stories we’re dealing with this week, and the pace is quick.

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 15 - Mad Grey Dawn

Daddy?

In Penguin’s story, he pays a visit to Butch (and Tabitha, who apparently did seduce Butch earlier and is now his partner, or some lesser form of partner, since Butch seems to be the boss) to apologize for his bad behavior before, and they both think he’s trying to fool them. But after Tabitha is satisfied that his new innocent demeanor is for real, Butch declares them even, saying Penguin lost something too. Butch really is good people, for a crime boss. Tabitha won’t let him go without punishment, though, and when he shows up at Edward’s, he is tarred and feathered. At first I was excited to see these two together again, but my hopes for a buddy comedy are at least temporarily dashed, as Nygma rejects Penguin’s earnest statements that he doesn’t need to be bad, and he awesomely says that New Penguin kind of freaks him out. So Penguin moves along, going to visit his mother’s grave. While he’s there, he is approached by another mourner (Pee Wee Herman, who has played this role before, actually), who turns out to be his father! His name is Elijah van Dahl, and he did not know he had a son, but now that he does, he wants to introduce him to his family.

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 15 - Mad Grey Dawn

Family

And that family has got some things going on under the surface, you can tell. Something is going to come out here, later. My hope is that Penguin and his dad will become the greatest criminal father-son duo Gotham has ever seen, but according to the previews, the rest of the family may be the ones to go criminal. I’m excited to see more of Elijah and how he has influenced Penguin, at least genetically/biologically, and see where this story goes. And I do hope something will happen here to bring back the Penguin we know and love, hopefully soon.

In other news, Selina and Bruce pay a visit to Ivy. She is working for Butch’s nephew’s gang, growing and cultivating different types of magic mushrooms, and Selina wants to steal some of the gang’s money. Well, the gang comes back before expected, and Bruce and Selina are caught. They start to rough up Selina, and Bruce steps in, taking quite a beating. Apparently he likes it, though, at least in some way, because he says he felt unstoppable while it was happening. He’s losing some of his fear and gaining some of his tendency toward self-punishment, perhaps, and taking a further step toward Batman. It’s interesting to see all these little steps on the path, and how far he has come already since Season 1.

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 15 - Mad Grey Dawn

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But the big story this week is that Edward Nygma has fully become The Riddler. He sets in motion his vendetta against Jim Gordon, in a big way. His plan is actually pretty brilliant: to frame Jim for the murder of Galavan — which he actually did commit. It’s a pretty elaborate plot Nygma concocts, with many stages. First he pulls off a theft in an art museum, wherein he hilariously sets up a large, stylized yet cartoonish-looking bomb to look like an art installment (… how did he get that into the museum, anyway?), with a sign saying, “This is a real bomb,” and he lights the fuse. But when it goes off, it’s more like a fireworks display, providing cover for him via lots of smoke. He steals a painting and defaces another couple of paintings with his question mark — the purpose of that being that the artists’ names are clues to his next act of terror, which is a bomb at the train station. Of course Jim finds the locker where the bomb is, pries it open and removes the bomb. This sets up Jim to look like the perpetrator of the Riddler’s next murder, of a cop in his apartment; he uses the same crowbar Jim used to pry open the locker the bomb was in, so Jim’s fingerprints are on it, then he calls in a tip from the pay phone outside the apartment (wow, that is a conveniently placed pay phone!), bringing Jim to investigate. And here’s where the Galavan murder comes in: While all of this is going on, the investigation into Galavan’s murder has been reopened because an eyewitness (Nygma, with information he got from Penguin during their Odd Couple days) gave a statement saying he saw Jim shoot and kill Galavan. So when Captain Barnes catches Jim in the apartment of the slain officer and takes him in for questioning, the Riddler has neatly framed Jim for the murder of the cop, and also Galavan.

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 15 - Mad Grey Dawn

 

So basically, Jim decides not to fight the charges, and goes to jail. He’s got what is supposed to be wrenching scenes with Barnes and with Lee as he is faced with all of this. But in these scenes, the actors opposite Ben McKenzie give great, emotional performances, but he has the same expression through them all. First, Barnes tries to get him to confess, and Jim seems to dig himself deeper by saying things that, while true in this case, are typical of things criminals say to proclaim their innocence. And Barnes looks so disappointed and tells Jim he broke his heart, and even tears up, but Jim looks unfazed, or possibly only mildly fazed. Michael Chiklis gives a great performance, but McKenzie’s falls flat. And later, after he’s in jail and Lee comes to see him, saying they’ll fight, Jim tells her she should move on without him. She starts crying, her heart breaking, and pleads with him, saying he needs to fight this for THEIR UNBORN CHILD, and he seems unmoved! Usually Ben McKenzie’s one-note delivery doesn’t bother me too much, but really, in a situation like that, the person would be heartbroken. But he’s showing no emotion at all — and the thing that makes this even more surprising is that he and Morena Baccarin have a newborn together, so you’d think he’d be able to draw on some of those emotions and think about having to give up his baby.

But aside from that, this is a solid episode that moves things along for many different characters. We get to see some characters that we’ve known since the beginning coming into their own, or starting to. And some new, very intriguing characters are introduced. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

FBI SCORE: 8 out of 10. This was an interesting and fun episode, with a lot of focus on Riddler and how ruthless he’s become. And the introduction of Paul Reubens as Penguin’s father was something I’ve been looking forward to for a while — and his family seems full of secrets, so hopefully good things are coming there (don’t disappoint us, show!). There were some really good moments in this episode. However, Ben McKenzie’s acting detracted from what otherwise would have been wrenching, weighty scenes.

Megan Wilde

I'm an editor, wife and mom of two. I love to read and watch good TV and good (OK, and bad) movies. I like pop culture, sci-fi, zombies, comics, Neil Gaiman, Miyazaki movies, Star Wars, '80s nostalgia and all things geeky.

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