TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 20 – Unleashed
By Megan Wilde
This week, Gotham gets back to form with an episode that has lots going on and lots of action — and also more than the usual amount of meta, which I for one appreciate. “Unleashed” finds Azrael, well, unleashed, Bruce on the run, Penguin finally getting his revenge, and Butch saving the day. It’s fast-paced and funny, which helps make up for some missteps.
Harvey finds himself the de facto captain of the GCPD while Barnes recovers, and after a fruitless search of Strange’s office (with a big bag of shredded documents just sitting in a chair, teasing Harvey and Jim), his first order is to get a warrant to search all of Arkham. At this point they know Strange is up to something, having brought both Theo Galavan and Victor Fries back to life, and they want to find out what he’s doing. And that’s a pretty big mistake on Strange’s (or, um, the writers’) part — turning corpses into villains and sending them out into the city to wreak havoc. It wouldn’t arouse such suspicion if he did it with inmates, but when people know someone died and then they are seen again, that gets people’s attention.
And while we’re on the topic of things that don’t make sense, why is Jim there with the cops? He doesn’t work for GCPD anymore, which has been drilled into us, and I get that Harvey is friends with Jim in addition to having been partners, but it doesn’t really make sense that he’s tagging along on police business — or grabbing police cars to go chase after Bruce, with the cop just letting him do it.
The police and Jim decide to talk to Tabitha, Galavan’s sister, to see if she can help them get him. I’m not sure why they trust what she says so immediately, but they seem to. She tells them about Azrael, the legend, and his sword, saying she had seen the sword once, and her uncle took it to his grave with him. So off they go to the cemetery to do a little grave-digging. This scene brings a bit of humor, when Harvey expresses doubt about what they’re doing and Jim says something like, “The things we’ve seen in this city, and THIS is where you draw the line?” There are a bunch of Gotham jokes in this episode, and I like it.
So they all go to the cemetery to look for the sword, and Azrael lets them open the grave and do the hard work, and then he appears to claim his sword. Tabitha talks to him as Theo, trying to get him to remember, which he does — but then he remembers that his first mission was to kill the Son of Gotham, aka Bruce. He stabs Tabitha in the gut for being a traitor, and off he goes to find Bruce.
Tabitha is hurt badly but not dead — and what is with Azrael trying to kill and failing? It undermines his character, if he isn’t really a threat. Anyway, Butch has a sad scene with Tabitha in the hospital, after she’s stabbed. He says she’s the only one who looks at him when she talks to him, and she helps him keep people in line, and he doesn’t know what he’ll do without her. It’s obvious that was also how he felt about Fish, which is interesting. But Tabitha seems to reciprocate his feelings more than Fish did; she seems to be living with him, not taking advantage of him or dominating him. I’ve always liked Butch, and this scene makes him so vulnerable and sad, and I realized how all the people he has cared about have been taken away. So hopefully Tabitha will make it through (it would seem an odd choice to NOT kill her here, if they weren’t going to bring her back into the action) and Butch will find happiness. Penguin comes in at the end of this scene, talking about Galavan (he refuses to call him “Azrael” because he doesn’t buy into this whole supervillain thing) and asking where he is, because Penguin wants to kill him for good. Butch agrees to help him if Penguin promises to leave him and Tabitha alone afterward.
Earlier, Bruce went to find Selina, who apparently got her hair straightened and cut. So after some posturing on her part, these two are mostly friends again, and Bruce tells her about Strange and how people come into Arkham and either don’t come out, or come out as supervillains — and her friend Bridgit is in there. So she decides to go look for her and get the information Bruce wants.
For most of the episode, Strange and Peabody skulk around and wonder where Azrael is and why they haven’t heard from him. He’s gone rogue, as Peabody says, though Strange doesn’t want to hear it and wants to give him more time. Strange seems pretty caught up in this latest project of giving backstories to people, one of whom is hinted at (Killer Croc!) and one of whom is revealed to Selina, after she makes her way to Indian Hills: Firefly. She doesn’t remember being Bridgit, and she thinks Selina has been sent there by Strange to test her. It looks like Firefly starts to douse Selina in flames, but I would be really surprised if she doesn’t end up escaping unharmed.
Azrael finds Bruce back at Wayne Manor and fights Alfred, trying to get to Bruce. Bruce escapes to the garage, tricks Azrael and run him over, but nothing seems to injure him, so we start to wonder if he IS immortal, like he says, after all. But then after Azrael gets up and it looks like the end, here come Penguin and Butch to save the day — with a rocket launcher! The music here kicks up, all guitar hard rock, and Butch blows Azrael into a million pieces. It is a pretty awesome moment, and it’s nice to see Butch have it. So, Azrael is gone, seemingly for good (unless Strange is able to put pieces back together into a person). And Firefly seems set up to come back. I’m not worried about Selina getting out of it, but it will be interesting to see if they do something new with her.
FBI SCORE: 8 out of 10. “Unleashed” is a fast-paced, fun episode, with a good sense of humor. But if you stop to think about it too much, it starts to fall apart under closer scrutiny. By the end, though, none of that matters, because ROCKET LAUNCHER. Go, Butch!