Bring on the Bad Guys
You’d be forgiven if you thought that a desperate attempt to save the city from Bane’s onslaught, a turf war between Penguin, Barbara, and some minor villains (plus Riddler stuff), and the annual Valeska nonsense might be enough to fill 12 episodes. Well, 11, seeing as the final episode is ten years later and largely unconnected.
Well you’d be wrong.
From season two onwards, Gotham was on a mission to introduce as many bat-villains as they possibly could. Some worked, some didn’t, some really didn’t. To wit:
Good, other than Victor Zsasz, who as I mentioned was the best:
- Mr. Freeze was visually neat, had a decent origin, was well used… and I loved Harvey Bullock deflating the cheesiest part of the character, insisting that Victor Fries’ last name is not pronounced “Freeze.” “I’m good with last names,” he says. “It’s ‘Frize.'” And sure enough, his wife Nora confirms it. That’s clever.
- Firefly, likewise, has a good look and solid origin, and watching her and Freeze square off in season two had a couple of seriously cool shots.
- BD Wong’s take on mad scientist Hugo Strange was a frequent highlight.
- Solomon Grundy had a fun friendship with Riddler in season four.
Bad, other than the Valeskas, who as I mentioned were not the best:
- Jervis “Mad Hatter” Tetch had the worst take on “Show Gordon who he really is,” attempting to punish Jim and the city for the death of his sister Alice, who died trying to escape his abusive and possibly incestuous love. Comics-Jervis relies on tech hidden in hats to control people, TV-Jervis was just so good at hypnotism he was basically magic. Like Killgrave from Jessica Jones only terrible all the time.
- Professor Pyg shows up in season four, creepy as always. Daniel O’Brien tweeted a valid concern to Soren… they cast an actor known for playing Sweeney Todd, then had him serve meat pies made of human flesh, like in Sweeney Todd, while singing a number from… Chicago? Way to trip over that one right at the finish line…
- It bears repeating, what they did with Poison Ivy was so gross.
The final Joker look seems more like elderly Joker from The Dark Night Returns than a young Joker just starting out.
(That’s all I have. This show had it’s flaws but looking ugly or boring were never among them.)
And when the final season launched, the writers’ room was clearly asked: “Who’s on our bucket list?” So while Bane and Nyssa (WHY) were the centrepieces, they also fit in Mother (a recent introduction, a woman who custom-tailors orphans for the rich and possibly evil, and may have made Batman a Robin), Magpie (best and practically only known as the first villain post-Crisis Batman and Superman teamed up against in John Byrne’s Man of Steel), the Ventriloquist (whose dummy is the real crime boss), and even the Mutants gang from Dark Knight Returns, if only to watch Head Mutant get slapped around by newly extra spry Selina.
And then, in most cases, immediately killed them. Well, if they’d had more than one episode of story for any of these villains, they’d have shown up sooner.
Next Page: Parting Thoughts