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Gotham Season 2 Episode 4 “Strike Force” : Review

This week’s episode of Gotham introduces Michael Chiklis as Captain Barnes, the new powerhouse of the GCPD, while Theo makes another move in his masterful plan that involves The Penguin having to do his bidding.

While this was a good episode, mostly because of Captain Barnes (Chiklis is phenomenal), there was one particular scene that became such a big problem that it affected my overall enjoyment of “Strike Force.” There is a moment in this episode where Selina is watching over Bruce as he is back at school, but Alfred is just where she is. As they start conversing, Alfred does the thing that I never thought someone like him would ever do: he slaps Selina as hard as he can in her face. Why? Because he was angry at her for being responsible for the death of his BFF Reggie, you know, that guy who turned on Alfred, stabbed him a few times, and was trying to steal intel from the Wayne Mansion on the request of the corrupt board of directors at Wayne Enterprises. That same person that almost got his hands on Bruce until Selina saved him by pushing Reggie out of a window.

Yeah, that guy, was someone that Alfred was willing to slap Selina for. I’m trying to not look at this only from a comic book purist’s perspective, because Alfred would never do that to a child. Remember, Selina is technically just 14-15 years old, so yes, she is a child and what Alfred did was child abuse. I get that Gotham is dark on so many levels, even too much for its own good, but that doesn’t mean that we have to go and portray child abuse, especially from a character like Alfred. No matter how he feels about Selina and her influence on Bruce, slapping her like that was just wrong and got me to the point where, despite enjoying so many parts in the episode, I couldn’t get it out of my head and enjoy “Strike Force” as a whole. Usually, I don’t get too hung up on just one scene, but with this, I just couldn’t  get past it and wonder whose idea it was to make Alfred a child abuser in that one moment.

Moving on to the positives. Chiklis kicked so much butt and had one of the best introductions for a new character ever. He doesn’t accept any BS, and he will burn you if he detects even the smallest amount of shadiness from you. I can see why Chiklis was made a series regular right from the casting, and he is someone that I will look forward to seeing every week, even though I still think killing off Captain Essen two weeks ago was sad. Barnes’ dynamic with Gordon feels like a frenemy type of relationship, because even though they are agreeing with each other and on the same side, I still feel that Barnes may or may not at some point get annoyed by Gordon. But only time will tell; let’s hope that it’s an awesome partnership.

Penguin may be the king of Gotham City, but that doesn’t stop others from trying to take that throne from him. Theo and Tabitha (who is still sadly not impressing me at all as a villain) make their next move in this week’s Gotham and force Oswald to murder all the fellow candidates that are running for mayor before staging a public assassination attempt against Theo , thus making him look more innocent before he announces that he is now running for mayor. Sadly, Oswald has to give in as he learns that they have kidnapped his poor mother and thus has no choice but to go along with their demands. I liked it, although it remains hard for me to invest in both Theo and Tabitha when only one of them is really a fleshed-out character at this point.

Overall, despite having a lot of good parts in this episode with Barnes’ great introduction and Oswald having a clash with our new bad guys, Alfred’s stunt decreased my enjoyment for “Strike Force,” and hopefully, the remaining 18 episodes won’t feature him as a child abuser again.

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