Gotham Brings Ras Al Ghul Back for Some Reason

first_imgStay on target Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Last week, Gotham left us with our first look at the actual Joker. While I had some reservations with how they got there, it was a genuinely exciting moment. This week, Gotham decided to follow up that haunting image with… nothing. We’re going back to the whole Ra’s Al Ghul business. Yay. Barbara is staring creepily at that portrait she thinks is of her when she’s attacked by ninjas. It turns out to be a test. Barbara is the Demon’s Head, but she hasn’t accessed its powers yet. To truly be another Ra’s Al Ghul, she needs to see the future. Meanwhile, Tabitha’s contacted Selina, who’s currently en route with Bruce in his fancy new car. It may not be the Batmobile just yet, but it has a stealth mode that Bruce is all too proud of. The fun doesn’t last long enough. Once they meet Tabitha, the assassins grab Bruce and use his blood to bring Ra’s back to life. Just in case any of the trauma from their last encounter wore off.Ra’s Al Ghul isn’t happy about being brought back to life. He rips a dude’s throat out for it, but the rest of the League is able to convince him to go after Barbara though. All it takes is for him to hear that her goals are selfish, I guess. It’s abrupt enough to feel weird. Ra’s Al Ghul is supposed to have everything planned out. He’s supposed to be ruthless and sure of himself. He’s so easily convinced here; you wonder if he was ever all that committed to anything. Even his own death. Well, at least his zombie form is nice and creepy. He attacks Barbara and learns her ambitions are disappointingly small. She’s not rebuilding the League of Assassins. She’s just angling to rule Gotham. He tries to kill her, and easily takes out all her guards. He gets close to taking back the Demon’s Head, but Bruce grabs her and speeds away in his car.Jessica Lucas, Camren Bicondova and David Mazouz (Cr: FOX)Though I’m still not a fan of this version of Ra’s Al Ghul, we get some good emotional moments out of Bruce with this story. For Ra’s to stay dead, Bruce feels he needs to kill him again. The last time he did that, it really messed him up. David Mazouz plays this conflict really well, and you can see how painful it is that he has to kill someone twice. Still, he feels a sense of responsibility, and offers to help get Ra’s’ knife back. It turns out Barbara isn’t planning on letting someone else kill Ra’s though. She holds up Bruce and Alfred, convincing Selina to give the knife over to her. Selina joins back up with Barbara, but only for like, half a scene. It turns out Barbara doesn’t have much of a plan. Just call Ra’s over and try to stab him when he isn’t looking.Selina is the only one with half a brain in this episode, which… yeah at times, that’s pretty true to the character. While Bruce is brooding over who chose what sides, Selina is the only one who realizes there shouldn’t be sides. There’s a zombie warlord roaming Gotham. If he can be killed without Bruce turning into an insufferable douche again, why not try? And for a second, it looks like Barbara might just do it. This was an oddly flat storyline, but at least it gave us a cool fight scene at the end. Barbara battles Ra’s Al Ghul on her own, and begins to predict the future. She’s finally tapping the power of the Demon’s head.Donal Logue and Ben McKenzie (Cr: FOX)The first time she looks into the future it’s a cool surprise. We see the fight play out, ending with her getting stabbed. The camera lingers on that shot just long enough to make us think Barbara’s really dead. Then, it flashes back. It’s a cool enough trick that it almost turned me around on this whole story. Then it did it again. This time with Tabitha dying. You know, the trick is less impressive when you do it a second time. And to save Tabitha’s life, she gives Ra’s his power back, so he’s no longer a decaying corpse. So… what was the point of any of this? This entire Ra’s Al Guhl story arc has been a series of minor shifts and returns to the status quo. It’s needlessly convoluted and not even interesting. In the end, it only leads to a scene where Ra’s appears to Bruce and Selina, predicting a massive fire. One that will turn Bruce into a Dark Knight. So more stuff we already know. Is this story going to do anything interesting before the season’s over?At least the other story of this episode is fun. Gordon is dealing with the news of five bank robberies in one night. He figures out pretty quick that Nygma is behind the string, but not Lee. He still thinks he can talk to her. He heads to the Narrows, where Lee is having troubles of her own. Though her and Nygma’s heist was successful, she gets shaken down by Penguin and Butch. They want half of all her profits, and Penguin starts a little bit of trouble by casting doubts on Lee’s interest in Nygma. We all know where that tends to lead. It doesn’t take Gordon long to put together what’s really going on. He doesn’t have any evidence just yet, but Gordon knows she’s helping Nygma commit these robberies.Cory Michael Smith and Morena Baccarin (Cr: FOX)This is where the convoluted, overlapping betrayals actually help the story. Mostly because Lee and Nygma are so good together, you naturally want to root for them. For most of the episode, it looks like Penguin really got to the Riddler. That he’s convinced Riddler that Ed is still inside him making him weak. Riddler has everyone, including the audience, convinced he’s betraying Lee to steal the money for Penguin. I love how stupid the banks of Gotham are. When five branches are hit in one night, the solution is apparently to send all the money to one central location. Because robbing one bank is way harder than five! Riddler and Lee put all the guards to sleep, and that’s when Penguin and Butch show up. Riddler apparently betrays Lee, holding her at gunpoint, while Penguin and Bush load up the money. When they’re done, he traps them in the vault. He never betrayed Lee to begin with. He only pretended to work with Penguin and Butch so they wouldn’t rob them later. I’m really liking this version of The Riddler.Lee is too, especially after he burns the bank’s deeds to properties in The Narrows. In real life, that wouldn’t do anything. But this is Gotham. Technology has only progressed to the point where it’s convenient for the show. Of course, the bank only has one copy of each deed. And of course, burning them all makes the citizens of the Narrows debt-free. That’s just how things work at the stupidest bank in Gotham. This back-and-forth loyalty fake-out works because Lee and Riddler are really good together. The two actors play off each other well, and the new dynamic makes both characters more interesting. By the end of the episode, Riddler has taken the money to give to the poor of the Narrows (we hope, at least), and Lee is handcuffed by Gordon. When Gotham comes back in two weeks, she’ll be locked up. But we know that won’t last for long.Drew Powell and Robin Lord Taylor (Cr: FOX)Gotham is taking a week off before its final three episodes, and this probably wasn’t the episode to leave us with. Compared to all the other depictions of Ra’s Al Ghul we’ve seen, this one has always felt kind of lame. Even when he spends most of his time as a zombie, he can’t compare to the Arrowverse’s John Barrowman. Barbara as the new Demon’s Head could have been interesting, but she got the power taken away before she could really do anything with it. So we’ve spent multiple episodes now on a story with no point. I come to Gotham for the wildly improbable stories and Batman villains doing scary things. This story has neither of those things. It’s all the worst elements of Gotham combined into one. At least we know that with only three episodes left, things will have to ramp up from here. Especially because we get back to the Joker next time.center_img NYCC 18: The Cast of Gotham On Bane, Batman and Saying GoodbyeDC TV Comes to NYCC, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Grin & More DC News last_img

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