SPOILER WARNING FOR THE FOLLOWING REVIEW:This review will contain spoilers for the episode discussed, please make sure to watch the episode and then check out this recap, unless spoilers are your thing.
<h2>Gotham “Mad Grey Dawn” Season 2, Episode 15</h2>
Gotham has definitely hit its stride in its second season, and Mad Grey Dawn proved the show knows how to have fun with a precursory version of the iconic villains future Batman will face. This episode showed us Edward Nygma flexing his Riddler muscles, a newly found sane Penguin makes the rounds in Gotham after being set loose from Arkham Asylum, and Selina shows the runaway Bruce what life entails when you live on the rough streets of Gotham.
We have in the past gotten a taste of Nygma’s insanity but this week we really saw him take on the role of the future Riddler as he devises an intricate plan to take care of Jim Gordon. Following a fake bomb threat at the Gotham Museum of Art, Gordon and Bullock investigate the theft and vandalism of priceless paintings defaced with the soon to be iconic green question mark. Thankfully, Gordon is pretty good at solving riddles as he figures out that the true bomb threat is taking place at the nearby train station. As Gordon successfully saves the day, he unknowingly falls victim right into Nygma’s set-up to frame and tarnish Gordon’s good (in a murky sense) name.
Bruce Wayne, tired of his name and his lifestyle of wealth and comfort, ventures out onto the streets with Selina to see what he is truly made of. I’m really enjoying seeing a young Bruce shedding the comforts and his mansion with a desire to learn who he is without the mantle of being a Wayne, and David Mazouz continues to do fantastic work bringing the young billionaire to life and delivering believable performances foreshadowing the vigilante he will soon become. I may be biased because Poison Ivy has always been my favorite villain but I was thrilled to see young Ivy make a return, as Selina and Bruce come to her for help in robbing a local gang. You’re going to need money to survive on the streets, and with help from Ivy’s cultivated “special” mushrooms they knock out the gang of drug dealers and make off with their cash. Before they can make their clean getaway though, they are stopped by junior gang banger Sonny, whose uncle may have a bone to pick with Selina. Bruce, who wasn’t going to stand by and let a thug beat up a girl (even if that girl happens to be tough as nails Selina), goes toe to toe with the much heavy, stronger, and meaner Sonny. Armed with what Alfred has taught him about fighting, he tires Sonny out and manages to put him on the ground long enough for Selina and himself to make their getaway.
Penguin, packing a certificate that qualifies his newfound sanity, makes the rounds in Gotham visiting his old criminal pals. After being rejected by Butch and Tabitha (and tarred and feathered which was particularly humorous), send away by a bored and in the middle of something Nygma, Penguin has no where else he can turn. Alone he visits the grave of his recently murdered mother, the only one who perhaps ever truly cared for him in the entire city. He isn’t alone visiting Gertrude’s grave as a chance encounter brings him to meet his long lost father, Elijah Van Dahl, played by Paul Reubens, reprising his role as the father of Penguin from Burton’s Batman Returns. Thirty years ago Elijah’s parents, coming from an extremely wealthy family, did not approve of a relationship their son was having with Gertrude, a lowly cook, and forbid them to be together. It looks like Penguin, all alone without a friend to his name right now in the city, has just struck gold as Elijah welcomes him into his mansion and into his creepy, there has to be something up with these guys, family.
Troubles are mounting for Gordon as Bullock informs him that Internal Affairs is reopening the Galavan murder case, with Jim being prime suspect number one after a new eye witness comes forward. And Nygma couldn’t be happier as his plan to frame Gordon comes together all too perfectly as Gordon is arrested by Commissioner Barnes for the murder of fellow officer Pinkney. Gordon is going to need a miracle to get out of this one as he is being carted off to Blackgate Prison, which hasn’t ended well for just about anyone as the records show.
Mad Grey Dawn had a lot of moving parts going on but everything came together well to serve as exposition for what I am assuming the storylines we follow as the season comes to a close will be. Dr. Lee will have more on her mind than just worrying about the newly incarcerated Gordon, as Barbara Kean wakes up from her coma, and I’m betting she didn’t gain any more sanity in her comatose state.
Photo credited to: Fox.com/watch