After the revelations of the last few weeks of Gotham (FOX, Mondays, 8/7C), it’s time the series moved to the next level. Theo Galavan and his beloved sister Tabitha have discovered Penguin’s ruse; Edward Nygma has (accidentally) ruined what might be his one shot at love; Alfred has made it clear that he wants Selina to stay away from Bruce.
Rise of the Villains: Mommy’s Little Monster takes all the coagulating emotions from the recent past and forms them into an hour that is, to say the least, explosive.
To begin at the beginning, Butch (Drew Powell) does, in fact, lead Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) to his mother; Silver St. Cloud (Natalie Alyn Lind) meets Selina (Camren Bicondova) – making Bruce (David Mazouz) and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) very uncomfortable; Theo Galavan (James Frain) wins the election in a landslide; Harvey Dent (Nicholas D’Agosto) makes an appearance that leads to Galavan making Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis) very happy (hey! It’s legal!).
Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) makes an appearance; we learn there’s more to Silver than meets the eye (and that it’s not a good idea to get on Selina’s bad side); Nygma (Corey Michael Smith) gives himself a riddle that he must solve to save his life, and Galavan makes an entry to his victory party to cascades of balloons and the strains of Happy Days Are Here Again. (Oy veh!)
Mommy’s Little Monster gives us a clue as to what the future holds in store for Oswald Cobblepot – and Taylor turns in one of his best performances in the series to date. Also worthy of note is the performance(s) of Smith – yes, Nygma’s more predatory self is back and he’s a bit of a hijacker.
As season two of Gotham progresses, the body count doesn’t creep higher – it practically gallops. True most of the fatalities are cannon fodder, but at least one character we’ve gotten to know a bit dies in a rather imaginative way (I’m surprised more TV and movie deaths don’t come via this method – it’s so perfect).
Lind gets to be more than just eye candy for Bruce Wayne this week, and she handles it well; Bicondova also gets to shine, briefly, as Selina shows herself to care more about Bruce than she’d like to admit. Opposite these two young women, Bruce is mostly shy, naïve and confused and Mazouz doesn’t overplay any of it.
The script, by Robert Hull, definitely ramps things up to new levels and director Kenneth Finke keeps Mommy’s Little Monster from sliding into a melodramatic disaster, while not underplaying the episode’s gothic noir atmosphere.
Mommy’s Little Monster is a bit busy, but not enough to undermine most of the episode’s impact.
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