Gotham "Azrael" Review: Will the Real Bat-Shady Please Stand Up?

Gotham S02E19: "Azrael"

Am I amused or am I horrified? On the one hand, I didn’t love Theo Galavan and didn’t miss him when he "died." On the other hand, Azrael is a character with a history of being BATSHIT CRAZY and Gotham’s evil-mayor-turned-brainwashed-vigilante-for-Jesus could be fun. Could be. "Azrael," for all of the hype surrounding Gotham’s introduction of one of Batman’s most beloved frenemies, was enjoyable for literally every scene that didn’t feature Azrael/Theo Galavan. Maybe it was the corny theatrics (even though in the comics Azrael had his share of corny theatrical moments), maybe it was disappointment at Gotham's refusal to just let Theo Galavan DIE, or maybe after several weeks worth of strong episodes, Gotham just needed to slack off and suck for a week. Who can say? 

Here are the things that were great:

1.) Azrael looks awesome. The costume is spooky and very "Batman." Itt faithfully channels the comic/video game look while avoiding the hilariously awful robo-angel image from the days of Jean-Paul Valley, who just so happened to have his own stint as a homicidal Bruce Wayne/Batman replacement during the '90s. 

2.) Someone finally told the future World’s Greatest Detective to butt the heck out of police business. THANK YOU. Bruce isn’t Batman yet. The police constantly humoring his baby vigilante ways can only be justified by the Wayne fortune basically bankrolling Gotham for so long. Right now he’s just a meddlesome kid. 

3.) Edward Nygma, the King of Arkham. We know Ed is crazy-manipulative in a supervillain kind of way, and the ease with which Nygma bent the will of his Arkham roomies was comically simple after watching almost two whole seasons of playing the long game with the GCPD. Still, this is an Ed with nothing to lose and no shred of his timid old self. Is he digging way over his head for Arkham’s secrets? Probably, but I can’t wait to see what happens. 

"Azrael" also gave us glimpses of Penguin and Barbara losing their supposedly reformed marbles just a little bit more, and given their reactions to Azrael’s true identity, Gotham’s favorite professional loony tunes are both unhinged and ready to reclaim their places among the Gotham criminal elite. Someone needs to do something, after all. Apparently, all Tabby and Butch do is watch TV like it’s their job or something, and can you imagine the stench of corpses in Penguin’s house by now? Just thinking about it makes me gag a little, and if you’re going to be that crazy, you might as well put it to good use running a criminal empire and generally just making Jim Gordon’s life complicated and awful. 

One of Gotham’s resident criminal cartoons killed yet another G.C.P.D. commissioner (R.I.P. MICHAEL CHIKLIS. DOES THIS MEAN MORE AMERICAN HORROR STORY SCREENTIME THIS SEASON? PLEASE SAY YES!) and the untimely death was actually perfectly punctual considering how Jim and his boss argued about how Jim continued to be the worst and will never, ever, ever get back together with the police and any sort of leadership position within, especially commissioner. You can laugh now. It was supposed to be funny. 

Just like Bruce isn't ready to be Batman yet, however, so too is Jim Gordon lacking in the experience, insight, and wisdom that will one day guide him as Gotham City's legendary Commissioner Gordon. That's not to mention he’s just an insufferable self-righteous prick with entitlement issues that would make a born and bred millennial blush in shame if we had any, which we don’t, but that's not the point. Gordon is like that hipster in your North American Literature class who won’t eat at Taco Bell even though your awesome Latina professor said it was okay and that his insistence on telling her what she should be offended about is, in fact, offensive. No one likes that guy. Even the women who throw themselves at that guy eventually wise up—or go on maternity leave for the rest of the season—whatever. 

At times, Gotham has relied too heavily on its audience already knowing what the future holds for Bruce, Gordon, Selina, and the other key players in the perpetual conspiracy that is Gotham City's entire existence. It should give the characters their own meaning and their own arcs. We know Gotham can do it; Bruce’s storyline has improved so much since Gotham's debut that I can hardly imagine the series without him. Even Galavan-as-Azazel presents its own exciting opportunities to put a new twist on some old mythology. It’s Jim Gordon who we constantly circle back around to: a generally unlikeable character whose only merit is that we know he eventually grows up to be awesome. 

So let him grow up, Gotham—just a little bit. 



NOTES FROM THE BAT-NURSERY


– GIMLETS!

– So basically Hugo Strange is going to end up programming Batman's rogues to feature all of their psychotic hang-ups? 

– How has no one noticed that every crazy/corpse/criminal that passes through Arkham’s doors eventually mysteriously shows up again? 

– At least even Mrs. Peabody is SO. OVER. HUGO’S. SHIT. 

– LOL @ literally everyone seeing Galavan on TV and peeing a little.


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May 14, 2016
Loved Azrael in the Arkham games and they did him justice this episode. It was great to see.

Ed was great in Arkham. They're really doing riddler justice so far too.

Loved the nod of Bruce seeing Azrael in the shadows and taking inspiration from it
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May 06, 2016
That was nice of Nygma being the peacekeeper!
Damn! did one of the inmates lick Nygma's face?
"That is a demon. He lives in fire."
I need to get me a sword like that!
That was cool of Strange to give Galavant...Azrael a purpose.
"Hey Cap look who I found. "Shut it Bullock."
"Excuse me Captain, I find your flipping attitude to be inappropriate." "I find you to be a kind of pain in the ass." I agree!
"The most I can offer you is a painless death." that's nice of Azrael
Glad Barnes is dead but wanted Azrael to finish off Gordon.

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May 05, 2016
This show is a good helping of insane mixed in with batshit crazy, and spiced with film noir at its best. I'm loving it.

Azrael may have been the least creepy villain of this episode, and I laughed when he used the entire case to take out that other inmate. Nurse Peabody is right, just pump him full of thorazine.

I'm so loving Babs, she's just so full-blown psycho. And Nygma giving Strange the secret to controlling his inmates' new incarnations was frickin' hilarious.

Penguin, clean house! And I mean that literally...eeewwww!

See Bruce, that's what a vigilante does, climb amongst the rafters.
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May 04, 2016
Should be interesting to see Azrael, he seems like he fits the tone of this show very well. He's definitely more interesting now than in the first half of the season. Unsurprisingly, the Nigma stuff was good as well.

It feels like Gordon really is the weakest part of the show right now. Last season he just felt very stale and boring, but now he just feels insufferable. I don't think it would be that bad if more people were calling him out on it and making it into an actual character arc. He is supposed to be young and inexperienced compared to his future self, so it naturally makes sense he'd make a lot of experiences in his younger years. And that would be fine if they showed him stumbling and learning and becoming a better person. Even if he was just stumbling this season, if people were pointing it out I'd be a lot more confident that the writing was intentional to set up a learning/character growth moment later down the line.
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May 04, 2016
Fantastic job by Sean Pertwee showing Alfred's face when he realized that Gotham needs something more than its current systems to save it. One day that will be the same look as he acquiesces to Bruce suiting up, despite the danger to his surrogate son. The knowledge that Gotham needs the Batman.
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May 04, 2016
Vic Mackie : "So in a nutshell??? Hugo Strange is making monsters out of dead people in his spare time? And he had Karen Jennings killed by Victor Fries.....Who's been DEAD for 3 months!?"
Gordon " I know it sounds far fetched!?"
Vic Mackie " Far fetched, no it SOUNDS INSANE!?"
Gordon "But it's TRUE!?
That sums up this show in a nutshell, and I love it!
Awesome episode that introduces a character who gives this version of Bruce the inspiration to become the Dark Knight!
Great episode leading us into the home stretch.
Keep it up GOT HAM?XD
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May 04, 2016
I liked this episode. Even when I am not a fan of Azrael the comic character or Galavan the show character, I think it was quite well done. It looks awesome, menacing and the scene where he inspires Bruce is great. Also, I hope Barnes is alive because I like that he is a normal cop who is trying to do his best.
As always, I think Gordon is weak. But Bruce is doing well, Peabody interactions with Strange were great and Nygma was perfect. Also the Penguin and I am glad Babs is still crazy.
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May 04, 2016
i thought this episode whilst being 1 of gotham's best has kept up the consistency of the show. its a better show than it gets credit for.

whilst i think things like gotham may need to give bruce more to do i think hindsight is a beautiful thing and if gotham continues on this path hindsight will show meaning for the characters do what they do. and gotham would be smart not to rush things.

i assume it was always the writers idea to make theo galavan "azrael". the 1st half of season 2 introduced mr galavan as a manipulative dickhole. in 2nd half of the season even if for 1 episode he was the 1 being manipulated tho. i like seeing that method in story telling.
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May 04, 2016
It's been awhile that I can actually say, I really liked this episode of Gotham.
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May 03, 2016
This was an interesting episode and it has some much bigger ramifications.

Hugo Strange it would seem may become the father of a few of what will be part of Batman's rogues gallery.

The "Mad Hatter" should be next, based on what Strange was reading after he informed Miss Peabody he wanted more personas based on 'stories'.

Could Jerome be back? Will this be the re-birth of the Joker? If I recall Strange has his body, so the question is, will he be able to resurrect him? What perfect story for him than his very own.. :)

But how long before Strange is kicked out of Arkham? I mean, with Galavan/Azrael on the loose and identified, in a way, great for Gordon, since it means he's never killed him, bad for Strange, unless again, somehow, the very fact he's alive, means Strange has a plan for this and can use this to his advantage.

Anyways, seems like this might be the end for Barnes.. unless he's that tough. We never know with this show.

Gordon is way too green to become the commissioner.

So, if Barnes dies, who is next?
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May 04, 2016
i think barnes may pull through. though the theme of killing of the commissioner fairly regularly should be a running theme. then gordon gets the job....
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May 04, 2016
I hope he pulls through too! And I really hope Jerome gets a story! :)
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May 03, 2016
I wasn't overly keen on the Galavan/Azrael stoty but that's mainly because I was never that taken with Galavas arc the first time around. I did however find Nygma's Arkham experience very entertaining.
I personally wouldn't have minded if the whole episode revolved around Nygma scurrying around & making 'friends' with the inmates whilst Ms Peabody threw some serious shade at Strange.
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May 03, 2016
I liked it. I think Gotham is actually at it's best when it fully embraces the madness. I'm now hoping for a Mad Hatter appearance though, don't fail me show.
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May 03, 2016
Has Gotham gone a bit batshit lately excuse the pun what earth was this all about, I like to see the Frankenstein Mountain face off with this Azeral now that's a match up. Still at least it brought Penguin back to the fold , I hope that Barnes is dead now after hanging around with Jim Gordon is seriously damaging for his health. At least this week was cat free must of checked herself in the vets for her jabs. Now enygma will either release the rest of Strange's experiments or get caught. How many more episode of this Seriously funny season left certainly more entertaining then the dark very grey Batman Vs Superman.
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May 03, 2016
I feel like this was one of better episodes Gotham had in these past weeks. Hopefully rest of season is on this level.

Next season needs some time jump,because kid,who plays Bruce...a) ain't kid anymore...b) will outgrow Jim Gordon (literally)
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May 03, 2016
MaryAnn, I said Barnes is Clayface. :)

I'm actually only partially kidding. Who'd have predicted Galavan as Azrael before the name Dumas ever came up? Just think--Barnes is stocky and bald (look at the publicity still up there), and very rigid. This version of Hugo Strange would surely find it entertaining to take someone as pinpoint precise and self-assured as Barnes and turn him into something more shapeless and forever-changing. And a cop being Clayface was done before--in the short-lived animated show The Batman. Top it off with us closing in on the end of S2 without Clayface or Hatter (who were on last year's short list with Freeze to appear this season), and yard never know.

(But yes, the othèr part of me is actually kidding.)
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May 03, 2016
Oh and 4. Enough with babying crap of Bruce goodness the kid's persona is looking softer than cotton by each episode when is he finally gonna grow learn all 21+ types of martial arts and everything he learns how to do cause it definitely ain't from Alfred he needs to start his vigilante mode. Lol
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May 03, 2016
This episode is straight garbage 1.dont like the way that there making seem it's cause of Azrael that Bruce creates batman or gets the idea for it 2. Ever since this season started y are they making it seem like Hugo Strange is the mastermind behind all the villains he just created all of them LAME! 3. Ppl who read DC comics allready know Azrael becomes batman & takes up the mantle after Bruce's gets his back snapped in half n gets paralyzed by Bane.
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May 03, 2016
Gaaaah what a terrible episode. The hammy dialogue and exposition reminded me so much of the Joel Schumaher days. P.S. Wayne heir or not, who the hell pays attention to a underage kid?
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May 03, 2016
People who like their ability to pay for food and heat. (Or however Gothamites spend their checks.)
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May 03, 2016
Galavan's mask kind of looks like Deadpool's a little bit.
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May 03, 2016
Azrael lost the mask when on the roof and at the end he's wearing it. Totally flubbed that one.
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May 03, 2016
They show him picking it up before he was shot off the roof.
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May 03, 2016
Why wasn't he wearing it after he fell and got up and looked at all the people? People know who he actually is and wearing the mask is going to make people forget?
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May 03, 2016
I didn't see it.
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May 03, 2016
36 minutes and 47 seconds. Right as Gordon starts to shoot him with the shotgun he bends down and picks up the mask before running. He didn't have time to put it back on and like someone else said, he's crazy and doesn't care if people see his face.
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May 03, 2016
Could be that Galavan doesn't really care.
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May 03, 2016
One part I liked was when Azrael was running from the police and dodging their gunfire Bruce had this look on his face, almost one of inspiration. It was as if he can see what he needs to become in order to protect Gotham even if he hasn't made his vow to do so yet.

While Strange might not become responsible for all of Batman's rogues at the very least it looks like The Mad Hatter is possible. Hopefully it is just a reference because I think we've brought in enough of Batman's villains for the time being.

Heck I'm surprised they haven't had one of the Arkham inmates with multiple personalities turn out to be Arnold Wesker/The Ventriloquist with one of his personas being Scarface.
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May 03, 2016
I liked that too. Bruce saw the cape flying and the dark figure leaping from wall to wall and was clearly impacted by it. A seed for the future.
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May 03, 2016
When does Lee return? Fish Mooney is due to return too, when is that happening?
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May 03, 2016
Fish Mooney ain't returning she opted out
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May 07, 2016
Oh, I hope so!
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May 03, 2016
She ill return for a (let's hope very) short appearance
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May 03, 2016
No, she's supposed to be returning.
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May 03, 2016
My guess is that Lee might return for the season finale. This stretch was likely filmed during Morena Baccarin's maternity leave so she might not show back up until next season.

As for Fish she is apparently in Indian Hill. We saw what appeared to be her body in a suspension tube in one of the recent episodes. if Hugo is now able to bring people back from the dead she might be next.
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May 03, 2016
And the text recap is up, as soon as it clears the cache.
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May 03, 2016
"One of Gotham’s resident criminal cartoons killed yet another G.C.P.D. commissioner (R.I.P. MICHAEL CHIKLIS. DOES THIS MEAN MORE AMERICAN HORROR STORY SCREENTIME THIS SEASON? PLEASE SAY YES!) and the untimely death was actually perfectly punctual

I don't think Barnes is dead. They took him away on a gurney, not in a body bag.

Probably Jim will get appointed temporarily captain or something while Barnes is recovering.
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May 04, 2016
I hope Barnes is alive, he did a very good job.
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May 03, 2016
Yeah, and they even said something like his BP was dropping and he needed an infusion right away, or some such thing.
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May 03, 2016
Oh, I really hope Barnes is dead now. He was really getting on my nerves lately.
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May 03, 2016
I thought this was one of his better recent episodes. Yeah, being cast as the authority figure that dislikes the protagonist(s) is always a thankless and unlovable role. But tonight Barnes at least put his money where his mouth was. He came around to working with Jim, and took on Azrael single-handedly. So much of his time has been leading from the rear, even though he's supposed to be this big hands-on kinda captain.
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May 03, 2016
Also Barnes isn't the police commissioner, is he? Just a captain. "Commissioner" is more of an administrative position.
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May 04, 2016
I think I remember he was appointed as "Comissioner".
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May 03, 2016
There's no hurry to make Gordon the commissioner. He's commissioner when Batman is around but Bruce is about a decade away from being Batman.
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May 03, 2016
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