After being pigeonholed to Arkham Asylum, Jim Gordon pursues an assailant that is electrocuting some of Arkham's inmates. Butch Gilzean helps Fish Mooney get closer to the goal of overthrowing Don Carmine Falcone. Oswald Cobblepot embraces the nom de guerre "the Penguin," but over plays his hand with Don Sal Maroni's tenants.
Sex & Nudity – A teenage kiss.
Violence & Gore – Minor melee combat; victims of electroshock therapy are shown; a woman is trampled to death in a stampede
Profanity – Moderate language for prime time TV; this particular episode is not too profane
Drinking and drug use – talked about between two characters only.
“Rogue’s Gallery” begins with a inmate production of the Shakespearean play The Tempest in Arkham Asylum. The awkward play is interrupted when a mentally ill inmate called the Frogman lashes out at the actors on the dais. Jim Gordon, no longer a detective but merely a guard at Arkham, has to stop the riot.
The director of Arkham Asylum, Dr Gerry Lang, rebukes Gordon for allowing the fight to take place on his watch, noting that even though Gordon was demoted to Arkham as punishment, Lang can make his life even worse if he does not do his job. Dr Leslie Thompkins, an associate of Bruce Wayne’s father Thomas Wayne in the comic books, comes to check on one of the injured inmates and introduces herself to Gordon.
Meanwhile, Selina Kyle comes across a sickly Ivy Pepper and insists taking her someplace warm to rest. The young Cat ends up taking Ivy to Jim Gordon’s apartment which appears to be abandoned. The two take refuge in the apartment until Ivy Pepper can feel better.
Oswald Cobblepot—now referring to himself as The Penguin—approaches a group of fishermen on the docks and suggests that they increase their taxes to him regardless of what arrangement they already have with Sal Maroni, the mafia Don over that part of Gotham. When the fishermen refuse, Penguin laughs off their mentioning of the cops, insisting that he owns the cops. Once the two officers arrive, one of them knocks out Penguin.
Returning to Arkham Asylum, while making his rounds, Jim Gordon discovers that the Frogman is catatonic. The brain dead inmate, who garnered the nickname Frogman because of his belief that a bullfrog lives in his stomach and controls his actions (and apparently hates Shakespeare), was apparently injured as a result of an attempt at electroshock therapy administered by someone that didn’t have surgical skills, according to Dr Gerry Lang and Leslie Thompkins.
Director Lang puts Gordon in charge of figuring out who is shocking patients and he starts to interview patients and guards trying to figure out who has a set of guard’s keys needed to navigate the asylum. Anyone paying attention to this montage will see lots of either future well known Batman villains—a major tease compliments of Gotham’s writers.
Fish Mooney meets with two fellow Capos, Jimmy Saviano and Janacek (we never get his first name) regarding the possibility of Falcone being overthrown and who might replace him. Jimmy Saviano insists that while Falcone needs to go, Saviano is next in line for the ascension to the Don of the family. Janacek agrees, but after the two leave Fish is sure she can convince him otherwise if Jimmy is dealt with. Butch Gilzean, Fish Mooney’s right hand man, offers to meet with Jimmy Saviano for her because of his history with the Capo.
In Arkham Asylum, we see another inmate being tortured by electroshock therapy. Sometime later an exasperated Gordon awakes to find the inmate victim. Dr Leslie Thompkins returns to check up on this patient. This one is awake and able to move, but does nothing but quote Shakespeare. Gordon warns Thompkins that the assailant might not be another inmate but a staff member. Dr Gerry Lang shows frustration at Gordon’s suspicion at the staff and even more so when he tells the director of Arkham he called Gotham PD.
Barbara Kean returns, in the bed of detective Renee Montoya. The female detective breaks up with Jim Gordon’s runaway fiancé, stating that the two are toxic for each other, referring to drinking and drug use, and Barbara does not take it too well. In an attempt to reach out to Jim, Barbara later calls his apartment but Ivy Pepper answers and in a bout of mischief, pretends to be a woman Jim is seeing, pushing Barbara further off the ledge.
Detective Harvey Bullock shows up to Arkham Asylum and is so excited to see his partner Jim Gordon that he helps him distract the Director of Arkham, Dr Gerry Lang, by asking Lang to go to the police station. At the police station, Bullock finally draws out of Lang that one of the nurses at Arkham is actually an inmate and that she might be the perpetrator.
Butch Gilzean meets his old friend Jimmy Saviano at the docks and the two discuss Fish Mooney’s eagerness to take over Carmine Falcone’s position as Don of the family. Saviano interrupts Butch offering him everything Fish Mooney has if he turns on her and works with Jimmy Saviano. Butch brushes off the offer, saying he’ll think it over. He never tells Fish about the offer though.
Bullock runs into Oswald Cobblepot, or the Penguin, at GCPD, Cobblepot has been arrested by the police officer that knocked him out. Shortly after Salvatore Maroni shows up at the police station and explains to Penguin that Cobblepot put him in the predicament for thinking he could overtax Maroni’s men.
Bullock calls Gordon to warn him about the female nurse right as he runs into her and Dr Leslie Thompkins. Dorothy Duncan, the inmate turned faux nurse attacks Dr Thompkins and runs off. Gordon asks Bullock to head to Arkham. While fleeing nurse Duncan releases all of the inmates and in a stampede of angry insane men she is trampled to death. It is assumed that Dorothy Duncan was the culprit, and that the attacks are over.
Gordon returns to GCPD for the very short time of telling his old boss, Captain Sarah Essen, everything that happened. The Medical Examiner notices that Nurse Dorothy Duncan also suffered from the electroshock torture and therefore she couldn’t be the perpetrator.
Before Jim Gordon and the others can make it back to Arkham Asylum, one of the inmates uses the lost set of keys to penetrate the offices and kill a guard, all under the orders of Jack Gruber. Gruber, the inmate who led the Shakespeare plays ends up being the one shocking inmates in order to control them. When Dr. Gerry Lang discovers him and his pet inmate, Gruber unleashes the pet on him. Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock show up just in time to find the dying Lang and a farewell letter from the demented Jack Gruber.
Jim Gordon returns home, hoping to find Barbara. In seeing the apartment had been occupied in his absence he assumes it is his fiancé and not the two teenage delinquents Selina Kyle and Ivy Pepper.
Butch Gilzean and Jimmy Saviano meet at the docks for a final time. After excessively apologizing for a past wrong, with Saviano brushing his apology aside, Gilzean murders Saviano and leaves him in his car.
First off, seeing the Penguin finally accept his moniker is exciting. Edward Nigma, Selena Kyle and Ivy Pepper are all also introduced in the pilot episode, and while there has been plenty of foreshadowing for their future villainous titles none have embraced them yet. So far, the only antagonists that Batman will eventually have to deal with use their real names and not an alias, such as Victor Zsaz and the mafia Dons Carmine Falcone and Salvatore Maroni. Seeing a future villain come to accept his name is great! The enthusiasm towards Penguin is quelled however when we see that Sal Maroni still has him under his strict control.
Arkham Asylum is as interesting as I’d hoped it be, if you keep your eyes peeled. The cinematography during the Arkham scenes is the second most annoying in the series, bested only by the running scene where Jim Gordon chases Mario Pepper. I wish the directors would stop trying to be edgy with the camera work and let the scene artists do their job; the design of Arkham Asylum are great, but the storyline with Jack Gruber isn’t. It is not the worst episodic story line with a villain, and it looks to arc to at least a second episode, but it is hardly near the best, either. In fact, the setting of Arkham Asylum is more interesting than the story being told in it for this episode.
When we meet Jack Gruber, he is leading the Shakespeare play The Tempest. As Jim Gordon interviews him, he puts off a serious Hugo Strange vibe: the glasses and beard, the condescending tone, the experimenting on other criminals. Sadly it looks like the writers are taking Gruber in a different direction, but a hopeful inkling remains that Hugo Strange will arc the second half of the first season. Strange has never seen a live action depiction, and the character is one of Batman’s more interesting adversaries so he is perfect for Gotham to use.
Butch Gilzean, up to this point an underling of Fish Mooney’s with little screen time, really shined in this episode. “Rogue’s Gallery” was written to cast doubts as to if he would be loyal to Fish Mooney and Drew Powell did a fantastic job as portraying a mafia member torn between the allegiance to a boss and an old friend who offers the power of that boss. The facial expressions Powell gives Butch Gilzean and the emphatic apology at the end of the episode throw this character into the spotlight in a masterful way. The episode surely furthered Mooney’s agenda to overthrow Don Carmine Falcone, and I’m sure that attempt will span the second half of the season.
My favorite aspect of this episode concerns the spotlight on Arkham Asylum itself. A good portion of the show is set in the penitentiary, and any Batman fan should be well aware of its features. As famous as Gotham is, Arkham Asylum is a pivotal place in the history and future of many of Batman’s antagonists, and focusing on the it like the writers have done really makes this series more enjoyable, not to mention the montage of interviews that Gordon has with inmates where a few great villains can be seen…or am I seeing too much?
+ Butch Gilzean has a great highlight
+ Oswald Cobblepot is now The Penguin!
+ A plethora of cameos (or maybe false flag teasing) of future villains!
+ Dr Strange looking character!
-...That turns out to NOT be Hugo Strange!
- Cinematography in Arkham was annoying
- Barbara Kean...