Gotham (2013) season 2, episode 15
"Mad Grey Dawn"
WRITER: ROBERT HULL
DIRECTOR: NICK COPUS
AIR DATE: March 21 2016
"Mad Grey Dawn" is a pivotal episode for season two of Gotham - one that leaves a major character at a bad point, and leaves the audience wondering what on earth can be done to resolve the situation. It also takes another character, who has been doing a slow burn into madness and villainy, and unleashes him as a formidable, if hidden threat. And another character, seemingly at a low point, finds a new beginning.
Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) is fresh out of Arkham, his aggressive streak seemingly broken by the experiments he’s been subjected to. He has no criminal empire to go back to - that’s been taken over by Butch (Drew Powell), who’s given sanctuary to Tabitha Galavan [i](Jessica Lucas)[/i]. Both of them have reason to hate the Penguin, and yet let him go. And a visit to his mother’s grave leads Oswald to a chance encounter - with the father who never knew he existed. Paul Reubens plays Elijah van Dahl, and it’s interesting casting, since the actor played the Penguin’s father already, in a prelude sequence in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns.
Bruce (David Mazouz) has taken to the streets as of the previous episode, pairing up with Selina (Camren Bicondova) in learning about his city from the street level, and that includes encounters with Ivy (Clare Foley, who we haven’t seen in awhile) and the criminal element. Where Bruce and Selina go through the episode reflects Bruce’s gradual self-education in what he’ll one day be up against - crime on a personal level.
Much of the episode, however, revolves around Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), who has targeted Gordon (Ben McKenzie) for a downfall, setting into motion a series of crimes and events that will lead to profound consequences for the detective. Along the way, the growing tension between Gordon and Barnes (Michael Chiklis) continues to build, while Nygma, it seems, has effectively become the Riddler (years before his adversary Bruce Wayne becomes the Batman).
Things end badly for Gordon; Nygma’s scheme brings him down in more than one way, leaving him in a status where it seems impossible to get him out. Lee (Morena Baccarin) is told for her own sake to move on with her life and never to contact him again, while Bullock (Donal Logue) remains determined to clear him. This is still problematic for the audience, though; earlier in the season, Gordon did effectively kill Theo Galavan in cold blood - even if he may return depending on what Hugo Strange is up to. The character did something that violates his own integrity, regardless of the fact that Galavan more than had it coming. How on earth can an audience respect a character who hasn’t owned up to that? It’s a dilemma the series needs to figure out fast.
Gordon asks Nigma a few questions