In this episode of Gotham, “Wrath of the Villains: Azrael,” Professor Strange continues to experiment on Theo Galavan, Nygma grows curious about the strange goings-on at Arkham and begins his own investigation, and Azrael goes after Jim Gordon.
Professor Strange has successfully resurrected Theo Galavan, aka “Azrael,” but he’s still got a few kinks to work out regarding his creation. Theo may be strong and fast, but according to Beatrice, he’s also as mad as a hatter. Professor Strange believes Theo’s psyche just hasn’t reconciled being brought back from the dead — he doesn’t know who he is.
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Gordon Confronts Professor Strange
Theo has been writing text on the walls of his cell, verses from “The Will and Order of St. Dumas,” the sacred text of the Galavan family. Theo’s brain is “struggling to rebuild a coherent self.” Professor Strange hasn’t quite figured out how to cure Theo. He’s also got another problem: Gordon knows that Strange is The Philospher, and he’s come a calling.
Gordon questions Strange about Karen Jennings and Pinewood Farms. Strange tells Gordon that Thomas Wayne started the program in an attempt to cure humanity’s greatest ailments on a genetic level. Gordon tells Strange that Jennings accused Strange of conducting freaky experiments and trying to play God. Strange claims that he was just a lowly researcher. He even goes as far as to accuse Thomas Wayne of lying to him, trying to make himself appear to be the victim.
Gordon accuses Strange of being the real brains behind Pinewood Farms and of starting the program back up. Strange questions why Gordon is getting involved. After all, Gordon has saved Gotham from itself time and time again, and what has he got to show for his trouble? He also points out that Gordon is no longer a police officer, and Strange is under no obligation to cooperate or answer any questions. Strange believes Gordon is attempting to make up for the sins of his past, looking for redemption.
Gordon presents Hugo Strange with a court order to exhume Victor Fries’ body, since the guy is supposed to be dead, but Gordon saw him alive and well. Strange claims the body was cremated, and Gordon claims he knows that Strange is a liar.
On his way out, Gordon comes across Ed Nygma, the latest Gotham villain to take up residence at Arkham. He’s adapting, even keeping the peace between warring lunatics. Nygma promises Gordon that he will be out of Arkham soon enough. The place is just one big puzzle, and puzzles are Nygma’s forte.
After Gordon leaves, Nygma overhears Beatrice and Strange discussing the ex-police officer. Gordon promises to interfere just when Strange is about to reach his finest moment. Nygma promises Strange that Gordon will do more than that. He also offer to help Strange take Gordon down if Strange lets him out. Strange explains that the dynamic of the doctor-patient relationship is that he will be helping Nygma, not the other way around.
Nygma swears to Strange that he’s a master of manipulation. Nygma displays his talents on a few of his fellow patients, stating that everyone has a story, and all they really want is for someone to listen. This resonates with Strange, who then exits to execute his next diabolical plan.
Strange believes Theo needs a great, heroic story, while Beatrice still thinks Galavan would benefit most from a huge amount of Thorazine.
Strange enters the reanimation lab and tells Theo that he’s his father. According to Strange, demons took Theo to the land of death and “bewitched his soul.” But Strange brought Theo back, and now he is redeemed. Theo wants to know what his name is, and Strange says Galavan already knows. Theo remembers another life, a sister even, but Strange says they are false memories, and he is Theo’s Lord and shall serve him and his order. So Strange is Lord Dumas, and Theo Galavan is his humble servant, Azrael, a 12th century knight.
Bruce Grows Impatient
Bruce is frustrated that Professor Strange hasn’t been arrested. Bruce tries to explain that the evidence they have is tenuous at best. He would prefer that Gordon exert some vigilante justice, especially since Gordon is no longer on the force, but Gordon insists that things be done by the book. Bruce brings up the fact that Gordon killed Galavan, knowing it was the only way to get justice. Gordon regrets his choice and warns Bruce that if he does the same, he’ll pay for it for the rest of his life. It will make Bruce more like the evil he is trying to fight.
Gordon promises to work on Captain Barnes, get him to sign off on a warrant and put Strange away for good.
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Azrael Targets Gordon
Professor Strange continues to feed Galavan a bogus backstory, and the man is eating it up. He’s also got a plan to send Galavan out into the world to perform a simple task.
Beatrice comes to retrieve another inmate named Helzinger. Security is lax at Arkham, to say the least, and Nygma finds his way out and follows her, his curiosity about what’s really going on at the asylum piqued. She rounds a corner, but when Nygma follows her route, he reaches a dead end.
Helzinger is delivered to Galavan/Azrael. Strange wants to test Azrael and tells him that Helzinger is a demon. Strange brings in a chest and instructs Azrael that the case will give him everything he needs to destroy the beast. Azrael chooses to use the chest itself, bashing Helzinger in the head with it, prompting Strange to suggest Azrael actually open the case. Inside is the “Sword of Sin.” It promises to be Azrael’s signature weapon.
Strange tells Azrael that a murderer walks free in the city, and he must be destroyed by Azrael’s blade. The man is Jim Gordon.
Bullock, Bruce and Gordon track down Barnes at a crime scene. Four men have been murdered and hung upside down at a construction site. Barnes takes a break from placating the press to lay into Gordon. Barnes knows it was Gordon who helped Karen Jennings escape. Barnes is disillusioned. Every time Gordon comes back, Barnes thinks he’s changed.
Bruce pleads with Barnes to hear out Gordon. Barnes thinks the whole Professor Strange making monsters story is nonsense. Gordon asks Barnes to trust him, but the police captain reminds Gordon of how many times he’s lied to him in the past. Gordon states that he’s had to lie because Barnes is stubborn and angry, and the GCPD has paid the price for it. Barnes says that if Gordon thinks he has all the answers, maybe he should be in charge, and Gordon replies that perhaps one day he will.
Their argument is interrupted by Azrael’s arrival. Professor Strange has outfitted the new villain in a costume that keeps his face, and true identity, hidden. Azrael announces that he’s come to kill Gordon and pulls his sword.
Barnes and Gordon pull their guns and start shooting, but Azrael is too fast. Barnes gets conveniently knocked unconscious, again, and Azrael gets the upper hand on Gordon. But Bullock arrives with back-up, forcing Azrael to flee the scene.
Barnes comes to and wants answers, but Gordon doesn’t know anything more about Azrael than his former Captain does. Gordon does believe Hugo Strange is responsible, but he lacks any proof to satisfy Barnes. Bruce demands to knows, as a concerned citizen, what Barnes plans to do regarding this credible new threat. Barnes is ready to call in his Strike Force and track down Gotham’s latest wacko.
Gordon tells Bruce that it’s time for him to go home. As long as Bruce is present, inserting himself into the action, Gordon can’t make the moves he needs to make.
Nygma Plots, Penguin Squats
Nygma has recruited some of his Arkham acolytes to help him find out what Strange is up to. He sends them to retrieve certain objects in the hopes of uncovering the secret passage he now knows exists.
Penguin is still shuffling around his father’s mansion, exchanging one-sided pleasantries with his dead step-mother’s corpse. Drinking heavily, and clearly off his rocker, he turns on the news and learns about the new villain wreaking havoc.
Azrael’s Identity is Revealed
Azrael spots an old campaign poster for Galavan’s mayoral campaign and starts having flashbacks of his previous life.
Gordon is ready to join the GCPD search party, but Barnes has him locked up instead. The two argue the relevance of moral ambiguity as a crime fighter in Gotham and, per usual, they come down on opposite sides. Gordon thinks there’s a time to bend the rules, while Barnes is as rigid as a steel pole. Once again, the two don’t get to finish their deliberations without being rudely interrupted. Azrael comes busting in, ready to complete the job he started.
Azrael promises to spare everyone as long as Barnes hands Gordon over. There’s your usual gunfire and bloodshed. Azrael continues to be quick and crafty, and since he cut the station’s power, he’s even more difficult to pin down. Barnes finally releases Gordon from his cell and shoots Azrael multiple times. But Strange planned well because Azrael’s suit is bulletproof, causing Barnes to comment, “We’re gonna need a bigger gun.”
Barnes heads to the roof, and Azrael follows while Gordon is nowhere in sight. Barnes and Azrael fight, Azrael using his sword and Barnes with a lead pipe. Strange skimped when it came to the Sword of Sin, and the weapon breaks quickly. Barnes takes the opportunity to knock off Azrael’s mask and finds himself face to face with Theo Galavan. Unfortunately, Barnes learns the truth about monsters a little too late, and Azrael buries what’s left of his sword into Barnes’ gut.
Gordon arrives and has to process his blast from the past. Sporting a huge shotgun, Gordon takes shot after shot at Azrael until he falls off the roof. Azrael, still unmasked, is unscathed by the drop. Reporters on hand outside the station immediately recognize the former mayor, so the whole city now knows that Galavan is alive, if not especially well.
Nygma and his gang of misfits find what he believes to be an exit, but Nygma quickly learns that all he’s discovered is the belly of the beast, Professor Strange’s secret lair, full of assorted freaks — one of whom is about to become the Mad Hatter.
Gotham airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)