This season of Gotham has been given the tagline, Rise of the Villains and for good reason. The Maniax are here and they are making their crime debut on this episode. The reign of terror starts now.
Theo Galavan meets with the Mayor of Gotham. While Galavan is able to walk freely during the exchange, Mayor James is not so lucky. It’s hard to feel sorry for the mayor, even with his head trapped inside an iron box. After all, Mayor James has proven to be a scumbag in past episodes. Here, Theo Galavan gives the mayor an ultimatum. Choice A: Theo can put a tarantula inside of the iron box. Choice B: The mayor can leave a goodbye note explaining that he has left town with some imaginary mistress to never be seen again. It’s a no brainer for Mayor Audrey James. He’s out. Theo warns him that monsters are coming to cleanse the city with blood and fire.
The editor of the Gotham Gazette doesn’t seem to care about the missing mayor or who he is allegedly “banging”. As he stands in the middle of the newsroom, he urges his employees to go out and find some compelling headlines. The journalists do not have to look far. They really don’t have to look at all. Bodies are falling out of the sky and zooming past the Gotham Gazette window directly behind the editor. It turns out that Jerome Valeska and some of his fellow Arkham fugitives are tossing people off the top of the skyscraper. Each falling person is bound by a straitjacket with a different letter spray painted on their chest. Once the last body hits the ground it is clear that Jerome has been strategically spelling out a word for the world to see. From above, the word “Maniax!” is visible.
Police Commissioner Essen is giving the rest of the department the rundown of the recent events. 6 inmates have escaped from Arkham Asylum, 4 of whom were seen tossing shipyard workers off the roof of the Gotham Gazette and onto the busy streets of below. The wanted fugitives are Jerome Valseka, Arnold Dobkins, Aaron Helzinger, Robert Greenwood and Barbara Kean. I assume the police aren’t too worried about the 6th fugitive because they do not mention the late, Richard Sionis who was killed in episode 1 of this season.
Galavan is very pleased with the outcome of the day’s chaos. The Maniax have already made a name for themselves amongst the citizens of Gotham. Galavan tells the clan of villains that now is the time for their Grand Entrance. What could be a bigger entrance than throwing people off of buildings? He says that now that they have everyone’s attention they will confront the Gothamites with their most primal fears. He wants to take from the citizens everything that they hold dear and sacred. Finally, he wants to offer them salvation and take ownership of the city. Galavan obviously has a flair for the dramatic. He holds a quick audition to find out which of the Maniax has the most style and vigor. The choice is obvious. Jerome is like a ringmaster in a circus. He commands attention and impresses Galavan with his stagecraft. Tabitha and Barbara enter the room, entertaining each other by taking turns whipping Mayor James, whose head is still trapped inside the box. I guess Galavan didn’t allow him to disappear after all. He must be keeping him around for something. Barbara wants to know why she hasn’t had the chance to participate in any of the sinister fun & games but Theo assures her that the time will come. Until then, he needs information about Jim Gordon and who better than Barbara Kean to provide that information.
At Wayne Manor, Bruce and Alfred having a debate about what exactly they should do about the contents of Thomas Wayne’s secret room. The room has everything from blood to guns and even a bulletproof vest. Bruce is excited but Alfred doesn’t feel good about the room. Bruce knows that the computer in the middle of the room is the key to uncovering the information about the corruption in Wayne Enterprises. Alfred feels like he can’t stand by and let Bruce unearth the secrets that may have gotten Thomas Wayne killed. The Butler grabs a nearby hammer and smashes the computer again and again until it finally shuts off. Bruce is devastated. Alfred tells Bruce that he’s only trying to protect him from what could be some very dangerous information. Bruce decides that it’s time for Alfred to go… and never come back. For the first time in a long time, Alfred J. Pennyworth is unemployed (and homeless).
Jerome and Robert are back at the Maniax “lair” having a dispute about who will be in charge. Robert believes that it is he who should be the captain of the Maniax. Jerome begs to differ. The two maniacs face off in a literal game of Russian Roulette. The game results in Galavan stepping in and confirming what we already know; Jerome is the nuttiest nutjub of the bunch.
Once again we see Jim Gordon at a local bar paying Harvey Bullock a visit. This time he isn’t there to drown his sorrows. He wants to ask his former partner to come back to the police force. Before Harvey can even answer is girlfriend… excuse me, fiancé, Scottie butts in and declines the offer. Harvey confirms that he has a new life and being a cop is not a part of it. Jim leaves but not before Harvey lends him a little wisdom about how to track down The Maniax. Harvey may not be a cop anymore but it seems like he still has what it takes.
Jim rushes over to tell Commissioner Essen that even though Harvey Bullock will not return to the force, he was able to lend a helping hand. The lead Bullock gave Jim pointed him in the direction of the Gotham shipyard. As it turns out, the Maniax stole a fueling truck from the shipyard the day before. With an APB out on the missing fuel truck, the hunt for the psycho-fugitives is on. Commissioner Essen still can’t believe Harvey Bullock won’t come back to the police force. She knows that no matter what he says, Bullock was born to be a cop. The Commissioner tells Jim that this is a new day. The two seem like they’re ready to take down the Maniax.
At Wayne Manor Alfred is packed and ready to leave… sort of. He is doing the thing people do when they have to leave but they desperately want to stay so they move very slowly, hoping someone will stop them from leaving. Bruce isn’t changing his mind. He tells Alfred that he’ll be glad to provide any reference his former butler might need to find a new job and a new home. Harsh. If Alfred is Bruce’s legal guardian, Bruce obviously doesn’t care. Alfred hesitates for a few more moments then leaves Wayne Manor jobless.
At the Gotham Police Department, Edward Nygma flirts with the idea of asking Kristen Kringle out on a date. He tries his best to initiate casual conversation, but finds himself mumbling about random facts about house flies. Kristen eventually exits the awkward moment leaving Edward with his thoughts. Unfortunately for Edward, his thoughts manifest themselves in the image of a confident and sinister alter ego (basically Edward Nygma without glasses). Edward is still trying his best to keep his evil thoughts at bay.
The Maniax have been stalking a busload of high school cheerleaders. After hijacking the school bus, the gang of villains, douses the entire bus in gasoline in an attempt to light its inhabitants on fire. Schizophrenic maniac, Arnold Dobkins struggles with the lighter, giving Jim Gordon time to come to the rescue. Aaron Helzinger, Greenwood and Jerome flee the scene while Dobkins is left behind, captured by Gordon. Jim heroically manages to drive the school bus to safety, averting the flames and saving the cheerleaders from certain death. Jim demands answers. Dobkins is just about ready to tell Jim who was responsible from the Arkham breakout when the fugitive is hit by two bullets that seemingly came out of nowhere. Galavan’s sister, Tabitha, has sniped the villain from a nearby rooftop. Jim now has one less fugitive to worry about as Arnold lay dead on the pavement in front of him.
Alfred patiently waits at the train station, ticket in hand. He is no doubt regretting his decision to try to stop Bruce Wayne from trying to fight crime. (How was he supposed to know the kid would one day become Batman?) Bruce shows up to stop Alfred from leaving. He’s going to need Alfred’s military experience to help him survive the dangerous path he will be traveling. Bruce even promises to go back to school. Alfred agrees to help Bruce under the condition that Bruce does exactly as Alfred commands. Ultimately Bruce agrees and assigns Alfred the task of fixing the computer he bludgeoned with a hammer earlier in the episode.
Alfred seeks out Lucius Fox for assistance with fixing the broken computer. He find’s the friend of Thomas Wayne sitting at the bar. Alfred joins the Lucius and quickly explains that he is need of a favor Lucius is suspicious of Alfred’s motives and rightfully so. Alfred tells him that he needs someone can trust and Lucius is the man for the job. After all, it was Lucius who encouraged Bruce to look for more information about Wayne Enterprises. After a few threats and a couple of gin & tonics, Lucius is ready to hear the butler out.
Jim receives a phone call from his deranged ex-girlfriend. He tells Barbara that she is a good, kind woman and she hasn’t been herself lately. Jim is clearly in denial. Barbara can’t even contain her laughter. Jim sees Barbara standing at him from across the room. She is right there, in the police station. Jim quickly goes after Barbara as she leads him outside. With Jim in hot pursuit of Barbara, Jerome and several other criminals enter the station disguised as police officers and open fire. Gotham City PD is now under siege. Jim is blindsided by Aaron Helzinger in the ally outside of the station. Barbara happily looks on as her ex-boyfriend is pummeled by the huge pyscho-killer. She was only the diversion to get Jim to leave the police department unprotected. Back inside, Jerome and his goons have killed almost every police officer in sight. Commissioner Essen, tied to a chair, never once backs down to Jerome and all of his threats. But Jerome is not to be outdone. He proves that he is not a person you should stand up to. He even randomly shoots his ally Robert Greenwood directly in the chest. By the time Jim finally makes it back into the station the dust has cleared and only a few people are left alive. Kristen Kringle is unharmed having been saved by Edward Nygma who seems to have been hit in the flurry of bullets. Jim is relieved to see that Leslie Thompkins has also survived the fray by hiding in her office. Commissioner Essen however has been shot and is rapidly fading nearby. The courageous Commissioner cryptically reminds Jim that “it is a new day” and seconds later she dies right in front of him.
Lucius Fox and Bruce work on repairing the computer back at Wayne Manor. Alfred rushes in to tell Bruce about the news at the Police Department. Alfred and Bruce hurry down to the station to see the aftermath. Another person comes to the station as well. Harvey Bullock is there donning his black fedora and tie. It seems like Detective Bullock is back in action. The reunion between Harvey and Jim is cut short by a news broadcast on a nearby television. The reporter plays graphic footage of the GCPD Massacre that happened moments before.
The episode comes to a close with Jerome, his face stained with his own blood, spreading his own version of maniacal wisdom to the world via the video footage. He says that all the Gothamites are prisoners. Jerome urges them to wake up and be free from the prison of their minds. He nonchalantly kills another police officer before assuring everyone that he will back very soon. Finally he signs off with, “Hang onto your hats boys. You ain’t seen nothin yet!” The feed ends and so does the second episode.