Gotham Recap S2 E2: Maniax on the Loose

“Monsters are Coming”

Big Bad Theo Galavan (James Frain) opens this week’s episode convincing Gotham’s mayor (Richard Kind) to step down. And, by “convincing,” I mean he kidnapped the mayor, encased his head in a black box, and threatened to add a tarantula to the box. Is there any other way to convince a politician to do one’s bidding? (As a matter of fact, yes. Last week, we saw Penguin decapitate a security guard to convince Commissioner Loeb to retire. It makes you wonder whether one of these tactics might have been used to get Congressman Boehner to resign so abruptly.)

Gotham’s Mayor in the Box agrees to comply with Galavan’s demands, but not before asking him, “why are you doing this?” It’s not clear what answer the Mayor expected, but probably not this one:

“monsters are coming to cleanse the city in blood and fire.”

Suddenly that lemonade with cayenne pepper cleanse is sounding mighty good in comparison, but, it’s still not clear what’s motivating Galavan.

Introducing Barbara and the Maniax!

Galavan’s crew of Arkham escapees announce their arrival with a splash. Actually, it was more of a splat – 7 of them to be precise. They kidnapped workers from a local shipyard, put them in white shirts adorned with a single spray, and then dropped them one by one from a high rise building occupied by the Gotham Gazette. Through precise body dropping (and the magic of television), the splattered shipyard workers spelled out – MANIAX!, the most dangerous boy/girl band.

Newly-installed Police Commissioner Essen (Zabryna Guevara) puts Jim (Ben McKenzie) in charge of the investigation. Jim introduces each member of the Maniax to the GCPD and the audience:

  • Ginger Jerome (Cameron Monaghan), mother-killing former carnival worker with a diabolical laugh. He’s the Justin Timberlake or Beyonce of the group, not because he’s the best looking, nor even the most prolific murderer, but because he craves attention the most.
  • Arnold “Shy Guy” Dobkins (Will Brill), a schizophrenic rapist, who poisons his victims. There’s a Bill Cosby joke there somewhere, but I’ll pass on it.
  • Aaron “Big Handy” Helzinger (Stink Fisher), killed his entire family with his bare hands, is the huge hulking “muscle of the group.”
  • Robert “Hungry Man” Greenwood (Dustin Ybarra), killed and ate 12 women, in a group of psychopaths, the crazed look in his eye and blood on his lips qualifies him as “the crazy one.”
  • Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), Jim’s ex aka bad-a$$Barbie with issues.

In scenes that could have been inspired by Behind the Music or True Hollywood Story (except for the blood and gunplay), Galavan begins grooming his band of evil psychopaths in preparation for their upcoming television appearances.

The two most strong-willed, ego-driven Maniax — Ginger Jerome and Hungry Man — are having a hard time working together as a group. Each sees himself as a solo act. Galavan has them play Russian Roulette to determine which of them deserves to be the Maniax’s Beyonce. Ginger Jerome takes three turns with the gun to prove his Beyonce bona fides.  That’s good enough for Galavan; he announces Ginger Jerome is the lead Maniax. #NotCrazyinLoveJustCrazy.

The Maniax’s Second Gig

When kidnapping the now-splattered shipyard workers to introduce themselves to Gotham, the Maniax also swiped a service vehicle fully loaded with gasoline. After a wardrobe change from their Arkham stripes to a cream on white ensemble, the Maniax use the stolen truck to travel to their next potentially explosive gig; filling a busload of cheerleaders with gasoline and then igniting it.

Thanks to advice from Harvey, Jim and his GCPD colleagues arrive in time to save the bus load of almost BBQ’d cheerleaders. Jim also captures Shy Guy. Before he can get any information, leather-clad, Tabitha, shows us she’s more than just an excellent whip wielder, she’s also a sniper. With two shots, Tabitha takes out Shy Guy, leaving Maniax with only four members. (Maniax makes Destiny’s Child’s personnel changes seem quite tame).

Displayed courtesy of Mr. Graysonce

It’s a New, No Good, Very Bad Day for the GCPD

Jim and his team managed to save the cheerleaders, but fail to save themselves.

Jim makes the mistake of answering a call from Barbara (Erin Richards) calls Jim at work, while standing inside GCPD. Thinking he could convince her to turn herself in, Jim chases after her. Bad move, Jim. He ends up in an alley where he’s turned into a punching bag for Big Handy. (There’s no point in calling it a fight; Jim didn’t stand a chance). The only thing that kept Jim from sharing the same fate as Big Handy’s now-deceased family members is that Barbara finally asked him to stop.

With Jim distracted, Ginger Jerome leads the Maniax (accompanied by a posse of armed Maniax in-waiting) in a full-on assault on the GCPD. Lee (Morena Baccarin) narrowly escapes by hiding. Commissioner Essen is not so lucky, but she goes out like a boss.

Essen asks Ginger Jerome why he and the other Maniax are terrorizing Gotham. He replies “to rule the world, blah, blah, blah.”  She spits in his face and he says “that was strangely pleasant do it again.” She head butts him and he kills her. #EsssenWasNotReadyForJerome’sJelly.

Ginger Jerome also gets rid of his primary rival, Hungry Man, for stealing Ginger Jerome’s line – “there’s nothing more contagious than laughter, bwahahaha . . . so ends a very exciting second episode of Gotham: Rise of the Villains!

Final Notes

Bullock’s Back!

The death and mayhem brings Bullock (Donal Logue) back to the GCPD despite his girlfriend/fiance’s objections. (My prediction was right, by the end of second episode, Harvey is back with his buddy on the GCPD).

Breaking Up and Making Up: Bruce and Alfred Battle Over Big Boy Stuff

Speaking of touching bromances, this episode also continued its exploration of the ups and downs of Alfred and Bruce’s relationship.

After seeing vials of blood, a bullet proof vest and weapons in Bruce Wayne Sr.’s secret lair, Alfred (Sean Pertwee) became worried that any further investigation could jeopardize Bruce’s safety. So, Alfred abruptly destroys the computer in his father’s secret lair.

Bruce (David Mazouz) is furious and fires Alfred, who leaves with one tiny suitcase. How does he fit all those 3 piece suits in that suitcase?

The Alfred-Bruce break-up doesn’t last long. Bruce goes to Alfred in the bus station and, in a replay of a scene we saw last season, Bruce asks Alfred to train him to be ready to deal with the challenges and dangers he’ll face if he continues investigating Wayne Enterprises. Bruce also insists Alfred better figure out a way to fix that computer. #LikeABigBoyBoss.

Alfred doesn’t waste any time. Alfred meets up with Lucius Fox (new series regular, Chris Chalk), the Wayne Enterprises employee who told Lil Bruce Wayne last season that Bruce’s father was a stoic, and asks Lucius him to fix the computer.

Nygma vs. Nygma

No bromance here. Nygma continues his battle with his inner demon.


Mondays 8 pm / 7 pm on Fox


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TV Juriste
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Harvard-trained attorney and long-time TV super fan, Terri James (TV Juriste) has worked at E!, NBCUniversal, BBC and for a TV personality, for television shows including, E! News, The Daily Ten, Live From the Red Carpet, Life in the Fab Lane, The Soup, Americans in Bed, Chicago PD, and Royal Pains, among others.Terri's All-Time Favorite TV Shows: The Wire, Seinfeld, Colbert Report, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sex and the City, 30 Rock, SNL, Homeland (first season), Breaking Bad (final season), My So Called Life, Meet the Press (Tim Russert Years), and Lil Bush.

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