The oh-so-bad-but-so-entertaining Gotham has just released a 3.5-minute trailer for next week’s episode, titled “Azrael.” If your first thought is, “Hey, isn’t that a full minute longer than trailers for actual movies?” please let me assure that it only gets crazier once you actually start watching it.
Spoilers for this past Monday’s episode of Gotham, just so you know.
So if you’ve been watching the show, you know that James Gordon—having been recently exonerated for the murder of a fellow cop, and never being charged for the murder of Theo Galavan, which he actually committed—has finally remembered that he promised young Bruce Wayne to solve his parents’ murder, and has started investigating it again. Turns out that Hugo Strange hired Matches Malone to murder the Waynes, as Gordon discovered after actually working on the case for more than a couple of minutes.
Pinning the Wayne murders on Hugo Strange might seem like a strange deviation from Batman lore, but it’s one of Gotham’s more reasonable alterations to Bat-canon. And it’s nice to see Gordon doing some actual detective work again, even though of course he’s not currently employed as a police detective. And above all, let me assure everyone that B.D. Wong has just been killing it as Dr. Hugo Strange, easily Gotham’s best—and coincidentally(?) most comics accurate—villain.
Of course in Gotham, the “most comics accurate” villain still leaves room for Strange to be singlehandedly creating most of Batman’s future rogue’s gallery, which includes resurrecting Theo Galavan from the dead, making up a miraculous, divine destiny to give him enough focus to kill people (under Strange’s order), and then also giving him what is technically the first supervillain costume in Gotham’s universe just... just for style points, I guess?
Frain has had a lengthy career of playing evil and/or crazy characters before, but his Azrael is his most cartoonishly deranged role by far. Hell, Azrael makes every other Gotham villain look sensible in comparison. I mean, he’s not even trying to bring a modicum of realism or depth to the character—his lunacy is pure, unbridled silliness. I especially love that Azrael is just too insane to even conceive of opening the briefcase instead of bludgeoning a man to death with it. It’s so Gotham!
It’s absolute madness, and that’s even before you get to Gordon basically gifting Strange by telling him everything he thinks he knows, long before he can possibly bring actual charges to him; or Strange likening Azrael to an ox and a snake, which is totally a way real people talk; or, my personal favorite, that even 15-year-old Bruce Wayne is giving Jim Gordon shit for murdering Galavan in cold blood. Yes, little Bruce Wayne realizes murder is bad, and Gordon tries to spin it as some kind of goddamned teachable moment. “Hey, Bruce, I murdered someone, and it turns out it’s a bad idea for a lot of reasons. So you probably shouldn’t murder people either.”
Hey, Gordon? He figured that out on his own. Without needing to murder someone first, because that’s how basic morality works.
This show, you guys. This show.