Fox‘s Gotham Knock Knock TV Show Review. Gotham: Season 2, Episode 2: Knock Knock takes big steps in the right direction. In the past, the show gained a reputation for Villains-of-the-Week, subplot saturation and unresolved arcs.
While the last issue is still around and this week’s episode is still a bit cluttered, all of the pieces fit the mythos.
The titular “Rise of the Villains” is in full effect as Theo Galavan (James Frain) deploys his ragtag-but-lethal gang of Arkham escapees into the streets to cause chaos. Even as he flirts with Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) and his sister Tabitha provides fire support for their rampage, though, it’s undoubtedly the future Joker, Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) who stands out from the rest of the gang like Beyonce from Destiny’s Child.
While some longtime fans may not like seeing such an iconic character presented as rising to prominence and developing his persona in the tutelage of an ensemble, Monaghan himself nails the clown prince of crime on a level that even the late-great Heath Ledger arguably missed. The Nolanverse’s Joker was undoubtedly a captivating tour of the criminal psyche, but Monaghan reestablishes the character as someone who enjoys that psyche. His presence elicits shameful grins even as he commits nauseatingly evil deeds. At the same time, his writing seems more nuanced than that of Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), who, on his way to becoming The Penguin, sometimes teetered dangerously close to “Villain-Sue” territory; his abilities to manipulate and conspire discreetly feeling at odds with his trigger-happy moments (like the now-infamous “sandwich” scene) that should logically have marked him as untrustworthy. Of course, it’s still early in Jerome’s career, but here, he’s exactly the right mix of deadly and fallible.
Things elsewhere aren’t as interesting, but again; nothing feels redundant. Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) take more steps towards establishing what will eventually be called the Bat Family, although a potentially interesting deviation with Alfred being fired is presented and summarily dropped in the process. Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) moves further into insanity, but the scene is short and has virtually no content. Still, that means the show can get back to the main event, and with that event, the episode ends in a brutal climax, which forces Gordon to take a major step towards his future self…
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