In this week’s season 2 episode 19 of “Gotham,” we get to see the Theo Galavan’s (James Frain) transformation into knight assassin “Azrael” as he tries to assassinate an important person.
Last episode, Professor Hugo Strange (BD Wong) and Ethel Peabody (Tonya Pinkins) was successful at reanimating a corpse in the person of the former mayor. Perhaps due to the revival experimentations, Theo has developed increased strength and agility. The resurrection, however, caused him to go insane and forget who he was. Theo’s writings on the walls were recognized by Strange as originating from “The Will and Order of St. Dumas,” a book written by medieval knight crusaders whom Theo descended from. As for restoring Theo’s sanity and identity, Strange and Peabody are unsure on how to proceed.
They are interrupted by James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) who interrogates Strange about project chimera. As we’ve seen from the last episode, Karen Jennings (Julia Taylor Ross) reveals the mastermind to be the current psychiatric head of the Arkham Asylum. Of course, Strange denies this saying that he was a lowly researcher whose projects merely got out of hand and blames Thomas Wayne (Grayson MgCouch) instead. When Gordon was finally getting into something by speculating that the professor restarted program, the latter diverted the conversation to Gordon’s history of having killed someone.
By now, Doctor Hugo can see Gordon lying about his enthusiasm of the Pinewood Farms case and that he is merely looking for a way to atone for the murder. The former police officer changed the subject and asked about Victor Fries (Nathan Darrow). He issued a court order, authorized by District Attorney Dent (Nicholas D’Agosto), to exhume Fries’ body. Hugo says that Fries’ body was cremated but Gordon saw through the lie, for the court order was a bluff. The former cop has now the answer as to who is the mastermind behind Pinewood Farms.
Strange now sees Gordon as a nuisance to his future experiments but Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) overhears the doctor’s conversation with Peabody and offered his help to take care of Gordon. Ed will accomplish this by manipulating him just as how he manipulated his inmates and saying “Everyone has a story and they just wanted to be listened to.”
What Nygma said about everyone having a story gave Strange the idea on how to deal with his mindless Frankenstein monster. By giving the reborn Galavan a fabricated story of who he is, Strange will be able to command his project zombie to his bidding. By referencing and twisting words from the Dumas book, Strange convinces Theo that the latter is none other than Azrael. Now that Galavan has found his purpose, Strange charges him to dispose of James Gordon.
Azrael was a knight from the Dark Ages who was resurrected by Saint Adam Dumas, a lord who formed his own faction of knights and was capable of performing miracles. This is certainly a character that the reborn Theo could relate to, more than his actual previous life even. TV show version Azrael is so different compared to the comic books where there were two known Azraels – Jean-Paul Valley and Michael Washington Lane. Valley assumed the mantle of the Bat when Bruce was crippled by Bane, became a threat when Valley refused to return the mantle, became Azrael and was later presumed dead. On the other hand, Lane is the most recent Azrael and is a former cop. In Hebrew and Islam lore, the name alludes to the Archangel of Death.
Gordon, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) meet up and take necessary steps to have Strange arrested. As expected from someone who lost his parents, Bruce insists that they should act on the precious information they have instead of going through proper police protocol. The Wayne kid asserts they deal with Strange the same manner James did with Galavan, fearing that Strange might use powerful influence to bend the laws to his favor again.
James clarified that what he did to Galavan did not spur out of whim but of choice, that he paid for it dearly, and that they must not become the very evil they are trying to defeat. This convinces Bruce to go about their original plan of having Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis) sign a warrant to arrest The Philosopher. Perhaps this very talk is what influenced Bruce future persona’s (the Batman) “no kill” policy.
After divulging what really transpired in Pinewood farms and who’s behind it, Barnes still finds it unable to believe and trust Gordon. The best part of their exchange was when the captain challenged the former cop of running GCPD which Gordon retorts that maybe he might do so someday (and we do know he eventually will.) As their argument heats up, they are interrupted by Azrael who has come to slay Gordon. It may be sound advice to never bring a knife to a gunfight but the police’s firearms proved too slow for Azrael’s agility, who later escapes after failing to smite his target. We get to see Bruce take an intent look at the shadowy warrior. Perhaps this dark figure would become a crucial inspiration to his own caped crime fighter that he is destined to be.
As the police are investigating the identity of the mysterious attacker, Azrael breaks into GPCD and decimates the guards except Barnes and Gordon. He follows Barnes to the parking lot as the police captain draws his attention away from his prey. During the fight, Azrael’s mask was sent flying when Barnes got a chance to overpower him. Unintentionally exposing his face worked to his favor as this gave him a chance to stab his broken weapon at his opponent, stunned at the reveal of his identity. It appears this episode will have one unexpected death.
Galavan’s face is laid bare to the public as a news coverage was being reported nearby regarding the GPCD incident. Many were able to identify the man behind the costume as their former mayor but none so affected as Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) and Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas) who catches sight of Theo Galavan in the news. These troublemakers seeing Theo revived could spell chaos for Gotham city.
In one of the scenes, we see Strange browsing through books which he intends to use as references for identities to install on his future patients. Seeing that he reads out a line from “Alice in Wonderland,” could this mean that we will be seeing the Mad Hatter in the near future? Also, Edward was able to find the secret elevator which Strange and Peabody brings the patients who mysteriously disappear. There, he finds a number of rooms that shelters Doctor Strange’s most “special” inmates.