Gotham 2.8: “Tonight’s the Night”
Well, I haven’t been much of a fan of Theo Galavan as a villain this season, because he seemed a bit too comic-booky even for a show that embraces that on a regular basis. I just never bought that his “bad guy pretending to be good” because even on this type of show, who would actually fall for it. The guy just isn’t convincing as anything but evil.
“Tonight’s the Night” is the best episode that features Galavan, and it’s not even all the big a role, at least in terms of screen time. Now that Jim Gordon knows the guy is bad news, and Galavan is someone who is no longer (impossibly) fooling the cops and instead is someone that must be brought down,
He begins this episode as mayor, so in that sense, he’s still fooling the public, but I was glad to see that GCPD was all about finding a way to bring him down. The captain wants to something substantial to go on, and at first Gordon doesn’t have much to build a case around, at least not until Barbara shows up at police headquarters. Gordon hopes to get her to give him something on Galavan. At first this is all about one of those interrogation scenes where Jim and Barbara are trying to manipulate each other through a lot of posturing words, and eventually that interrogation scene becomes more intimate than it should be, for the comfort of everyone watching through that one way mirror/window (especially Leslie Tompkins). From there, Barbara leads Jim into an obvious trap; she wants to show him something. Jim knows it’s a trap, and so does everyone else in the police force, yet she’ll only talk if Gordon goes along with the trap.
What follows is are scenes that play very much like the conclusion of Se7en, this time with Gordon and Bullock playing the roles of Mills and Somerset and Barbara playing the role of John Doe as she leads them who-knows-where. This time, though, it really is an ambush. I’m just glad that Gordon knew all along that this was a trap; she led him into a similar trap earlier this season, so there’s no reason the character wouldn’t consider that this time.
We know right from the beginning of the episode that the main point behind all of this is that Galavan needs Barbara to do all of this and lead Gordon away so he can work the other end of his plan – taking over Wayne enterprises – without him interfering. That’s probably the biggest disappointment in this episode, because both the Barbara/Jim story-line and the Galavan/ Wayne Enterprise story-line are actually both really interesting on their own. What’s more I can understand Galavan using Barbara to lure Gordon away like this to proceed with that plan, but what felt a bit off-kilter for me is the coincidental timing of how these two threads came together at the end so the episode can have an ending that’s nice and neat. Truth be told: both of these story-lines were very well executed as separate story-lines.
Indeed, while Galavan is no longer fooling the cops, he is trying to fool Bruce Wayne. Being that Bruce is a child, I think I can buy the idea that Galavan thinks he can succeed in this (though the speed at which events move in this episode makes me think that Silver St. Cloud’s role in this story.. to kind of keep Bruce enamored with her and therefore Galavan himself, was not necessary). This is not just Galvan’s best episode, it might just be Bruce’s either, because Bruce is not as naive as he may appear. He might be tempted to sell his shares to Galavan in exchange for knowing who killed his parents, but what he ultimately decides to comes from a lot of soul-searching. David Mazouz is fantastic in this outing.
I won’t spoil how the two main plot threads of this episode come together or what happens. except to say that these are some major game-changing events, and this episode feels like the kind of show that would air before a mid-season hiatus or a season finale. It’s filmed that way too: this episode has a feature film quality to it that I really noticed. It looks fantastic and the action, though brief, was surprisingly punchy and effective. Though I do think Barbara (who has her best moments in this show of the entire series) should have met her fate. I liked this episode, but felt that the writers pulled a few punches right when they shouldn’t have.
Also we get a little more from Ed in this episode has he has all kinds of problems in his effort to bury Kristen’s body in the woods somewhere. I actually think this subplot could have a bit funnier than it was. Needless to say, Ed has become more interesting as a character since he fully embraced his insanity. The episode ends with him finding Penguin. Where that subplot goes should be interesting, definitely more so than Nygma’s story has been.
My Rating: 4/5