TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 21 – A Legion of Horribles
By Megan Wilde
“A Legion of Horribles” certainly lives up to its name. There are a lot of horribles in this episode: Nygma! Firefly! Strange! Clayface! And Fish is back, bitch! This is a fun episode, if you don’t take it too seriously — which I don’t — but I have questions. So many questions.
OK, so Fish is back, but after they took her out of her watery tube, they felt it was a priority to do her makeup before they reanimated her? I’m picturing Peabody or one of the minions sitting there with a makeup brush, getting the dead lady’s makeup juuust right. Because when she wakes up, her eyeshadow and mascara are perfect, as is her lip gloss. And her hair is perfect too, so someone apparently styled it. How did they know how she wears it? Is that red streak fresh? So they colored her hair as well? What if she hadn’t reanimated, or there was a problem? All that effort would have been wasted. And the OUTFIT! Strange has some sort of crazy futuristic Space Goddess costume for her, and it is all just so ridiculous and funny.
In fact, pretty much all of Fish’s scenes make me laugh. I was never among those who hated her — I thought her over-the-top performance was great, and was tongue-in-cheek, and I always rather liked her. So some of you probably hate all this, but I thought everything was hilarious, from the “My name is Fish Mooney, bitch, and you’d better tell me what the hell is going on!” to “Make me a grilled cheese sandwich!” Like, what? So random, but I love stuff like that. So yeah, I am quite happy to see her back with her memories and attitude intact — AND with a new ability to make people do her bidding if she touches them. That is intriguing. Right now, she seems quite puzzled by her new ability, and possibly a little frightened of it. So it will be interesting to see how that plays out.
Apparently Strange is splicing DNA from other creatures when he reanimates people, and he used cuttlefish DNA for her. (Cuttlefish are badass, for real. I love them. Seriously. I got distracted while writing this, watching videos online.) And for another of his reanimated baddies, Clayface, he used “octopod” DNA, which causes this poor unfortunate soul to be able to stretch his skin and, as we later find out, mimic anyone perfectly — with the help of a serum of some sort that Strange apparently developed in the few hours between when Clayface woke up and when Jim Gordon was captured by the guards at Arkham. Strange puts this big early-sci-fi-robot-looking mask thing over Jim’s head, pours in the serum/solution, and then puts the mask on Clayface, transforming him into a Jim lookalike! That wasn’t where I thought they were going with this; I thought the serum was going to be like Scarecrow’s fear gas from Batman Begins, making Jim see his worst nightmare. But this is good too. The GCPD are on their way, and now Strange has a Jim lookalike — complete with wig, which apparently Strange had the foresight and time to have made? — to do his bidding, but will Harvey be fooled? I doubt it, at least not for very long.
Another of Strange’s baddies, Firefly, is threatening Selina, but Selina is quick and wily and evades her fire long enough to climb up to the ceiling and get the drop on Firefly and knock her out. When she comes to, Firefly is going on about how she’s the goddess of fire, and Selina is like “You’re not the goddess of anything — you’re Bridgit!” It’s another over-the-top scene, but it’s funny. Selina tries her best to get her to remember who she is, and she does, but she isn’t the same person she was before, because she wants to see how Selina will burn. So, Selina offers herself up as the goddess’s servant, and Firefly accepts. So now Selina is alive at least, but is stuck playing servant to Firefly, and who knows how she will get out of that room. Firefly could be interesting, but I’d like to see her given something to actually do, out in the world. Right now, she’s just practicing. In a fireproof room? How does Strange have the perfect thing for all these villains? It’s awfully convenient.
These scenes are all lots of fun, but the scenes with the most weight are when Bruce and Strange meet and talk. Bruce is trying to rescue Selina, since she missed their rendezvous and he knows she must be in trouble. So he and Lucius come to the asylum under the guise of wanting a tour of the place, since Wayne Enterprises is one of the major benefactors of it. Jim hides in the trunk of Lucius’ sweet car, and will sneak out to find Selina while they have Strange occupied. So Strange has Peabody take Lucius on a tour, and these two are funny. Peabody is sarcastic and a little mean, and Lucius gets a couple of good lines in, like how he questions the choice of “prison inmate” uniforms for mental patients. (Lucius Fox: the voice of reason.)
While Lucius is being given the grand tour, Bruce goes to Strange’s office and talks to him. BD Wong is completely over the top in this episode, speaking like he went to the Evil School of Villainous Scenery Chewing, but he does tone it down a little here, with Bruce; he’s a little more natural. He seems to genuinely have liked Thomas, and he also likes Bruce. He hints that Thomas knew what he was doing when he was killed, knew that continuing on the path he was on would get him killed, but he did it anyway. And he calls Bruce his father’s son, then gives Bruce a chance to forget his mission and walk away. He almost pleads with Bruce to turn back. He doesn’t, of course, and then Strange calls guards, and Bruce, Lucius and Jim are nabbed and taken away.
Lucius is put in the room where Bruce is, and they hear a voice — it’s Nygma! And it doesn’t take Lucius long to figure out that that’s who it is. He says something about a funny name, and Ed laughingly says there’s nothing funny about his name. Um, OK. This scene was nutty, in a good way — it’s totally the inmates taking over the asylum. Nygma is let loose to toy with them and try to get information from them. So, really? He doesn’t even have a guard supervising him? He IS an inmate, after all. I feel like someone should be watching him to make sure he doesn’t do something crazy, like — oh, I don’t know, ESCAPE, like he did last week? Oh, show, sometimes you really make no sense. But honestly, I don’t care! This show is fun to watch regardless, and it wouldn’t be quite the show I love if it all made perfect sense.
There’s also the first appearances of the Court of Owls. They are the ones pulling Strange’s strings and telling him what to do (which includes “Shut down Indian Hill”), but we don’t know much more about them yet than that they seem to have good taste in fine owl masks, and they are interested in reanimation because they want immortality. Oh, and obviously, they are not the good guys.
So, this penultimate episode of the season sets up lots of villains, plus Bruce and crew in trouble, Selina sort of stuck with loony Firefly, Harvey in charge and about to charge into the asylum. It very much feels like a setup episode, or a Part 1. I can’t wait to see Part 2, where hopefully Penguin and Fish will meet again (won’t THAT be interesting?), and possibly Butch and Fish (ditto!). The finale should be good; I have high hopes.
FBI SCORE: 9 out of 10. “A Legion of Horribles” lives up to its name, with lots of villains. It’s a fast-paced, funny episode, with lots of over-the-top ridiculousness. That is not a negative for me, though — I love it. It’s a good setup to the finale next week, and also it gets big points for the return of FISH! Sure, things might not make much sense, logically, but who cares when an episode is this much fun?