This week on Gotham’s “Azrael,” the villains are taking the spotlight with some show-stealing performances and plot development. Things in Gotham are winding up as we head toward the season finale, and only time will tell which of the many wrathful villains will make it on to season three. Here were my top 5 moments from “Azrael.”
5. Mad Hatter Tease
A lot of the fun this season for comic fans is finding the teases that hint at who the next wrathful villain will be. Professor Strange reading from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was enough to make anyone familiar with this scientist hopeful that we’ll see some mind control devices in the future from Jervis Tetch.
4. Batty Babs
Barbara Keene started off as one of my least favorite characters and has been on a rollercoaster of approval ever since. While there are some times where I feel the writers need to establish her characterization more solidly, watching the amazingly talented Erin Richards play every facet of Barbara’s personality is a joy to watch. This week we saw her playing a Barbara who is teetering on the questionable side of sanity, and while her scenes were more comedic relief than plot development, she delivered a fantastic job costarring with a meat cleaver and a remote.
Last episode, we were left with the knowledge that not only was Theo Galavan raised from the dead, but that he had adopted the persona of Azrael from the history of The Order of St. Dumas. This week, we found out why this infamous villain believes himself to be an avenging angel. Not only did it allow for the Hugo Strange character to grow more into his mad-scientist persona, but it actually gave a plausible explanation as to why Gotham’s former Mayor now has one goal in mind: destroy Jim Gordon. The added comedy in the reveal of Galavan’s existence to the whole of Gotham on live television was an added bonus. Who wouldn’t find seeing a man you believed to be dead falling onto a Coroner’s van slightly ironic?
2. Mad Scientist Hugo Strange
For most of this second half of season two, the Gotham audience has been watching BD Wong masterfully act a character whose traits are being revealed layer by layer. Written in such a way that we slowly get to know this character, who is less well known than some other villains show cased on the show, Hugo Strange is slowly being established as an ethic-less mad scientist. With the creation of Azrael, it looks like it’s finally time for Strange’s infamous Indian Hill experiments to take the stage as we head toward the season finale. Hopefully his own short sidedness in releasing so many unstable prisoners won’t be his downfall at the end of the season.
1. Ed Nygma, Prison Mediator and Master Manipulator
On the flip side, Ed Nygma is a character who is well established to Batman fans, comic and cinematic alike. We all know that Mr. E. Nygma will eventually become The Riddler, but what we don’t know is the path he will take to get there. The first season and a half did an excellent job of chronicling Nygma’s decent into madness, giving viewers a sympathetic and even likable backstory; but this week the writers finally showcased Ed as a master manipulator with the chops to be a formidable villain. His ability to read people and get inside their heads is a hallmark of the Riddler, so hopefully next season we’ll start seeing Ed as a villain and less as a victim of circumstance.