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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews Gotham Season 02 Episode 09: Bitter Pill To Swallow

November 17th, 2015 by Todd Black Comments

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After the shocking arrest of Theo Galavan last week, and the near death of Barbara, it was going to be very interesting to see how this episode dealt with it all. To my joy, it handled it all rather well. As “Bitter Pill To Swallow” dealt with the fallout from “Tonight’s The Night” in nearly every aspect imaginable, all the while continuing the story.

Long story short, with Theo behind bars, his sister (Tigress) contracted assassins’ (via Michelle Gomez, who is The Master currently in Doctor Who!!!!…just saying…) to kill Gordon, no matter the cost. What this led to was one of the most brutal episodes in Gotham history, and one that showed just how far many of our characters have to go before becoming how they are in the comics.

Case and point, Jim Gordon, who was still rocked after what Barbara had done. Though teased last episode, “Bitter Pill To Swallow” showed that Gordon truly was struggling with the darkness that is within him, the desire to kill those who deserve it, to bend the rules no matter the circumstances. Gordon’s battle with the line has (and likely will) been a constant focus of this season, and seeing him struggle through wave after wave of assassin was riveting. And who was the one to save him? Why Barnes of course, who we got backstory on in a very interesting way, and more importantly, a way that revealed why he believes so strongly in the law. As he noted, it’s the only thing keeping the cops from being the criminals. That seemed to resonate with Gordon, but for how long?

Meanwhile, with Bruce, he still wanted to find out the truth about his parents killer. And with Theo behind bars, it seemed his only option was Silver. What could go wrong right? Well, Alfred (epically) saw through this ruse and quickly dispatched every attempt Bruce made to go see Silver. Now you could argue that Alfred was overstepping his role, but honestly, after everything that just happened? I would’ve been surprised if he did let Bruce try and convince Silver to give up the name. After all, who introduced Bruce to Silver? Theo Galavan! And Alfred knows more than most what happens when you let emotion cloud judgement. Oh, and Selina’s back! With proof that Silver is as dirty as Galavan! TWIST!!!

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Speaking of, the highlight of the episode was easily Penguin and Riddler’s bonding time. It was fascinating seeing Nygma go from a pupil seeking a master, to a inspirational partner who convinced Penguin that now was the true time for him to rise, now that his only anchor to the world was gone. Those two have quite a chemistry, and I hope it continues.

Side note here, this episode was VIOLENT!!! Seriously, it was gruesome at times! Numerous deaths, both good guys and bad guys, and in various ways! Seriously, can we get a kill count for this season? Season 2 has not held back, and it has separated it from the other comic shows, while I won’t pray for violence, I do hope the intensity keeps up.

Oh, and the Order of Dumas is here! The warriors anyway. Shall we now reshuffle the board?

“Bitter Pill to Swallow” showed that Gotham knows when to take a step back to reflect, all the while moving forward in meaningful ways. There are only two episodes left in the first half of this season, I sense a big turn of events coming.

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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians (guardians-comic.com). He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!

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