Gotham Review: “Rise of the Villains: Knock, Knock”



Airtime: Monday at 8pm on

Tweetable Takeaway: The villains gain ground and GCPD looses ones of its finest in the best hour of television you’ll see this year.

The villains play for keeps in Knock, Knock. It’s no secret Heath Leger elevated the Joker character with his masterful performance in The Dark Knight. Whoever took the role next would be facing a mountain of expectation. Cameron Monaghan is leveling that mountain week after week with his brilliant performance of Jerome Valeska. The Gotham team fires out spectacular stories and set ups for its amazing cast. I’ll say it, this one incredible episode was better than all of The Dark Knight Rises.


Bruce reboots

Bruce can’t wait to see what’s on the computer his father kept in the mini-cave. Alfred pleads with him to be cautious, but Bruce turns it on. Alfred smashes the computer before it can boot. Bruce, enraged, fires Alfred. He packs, says goodbye, and heads to the train station.

Bruce catches up to Alfred at the station and they discuss moving forward. Bruce explains it comes down to, “You’re either with me or against me.” Alfred pledges to support Bruce if he returns to training, takes it more seriously, and does everything Alfred tells him to do. Bruce agrees under the condition Alfred have the computer fixed.

Alfred tracks down Wayne Enterprises’ Lucius at an upscale bar and forges an alliance built on trust, respect, and a threat that Alfred will kill if he betrays them. was always fond of the Waynes and agrees to the terms. takes his repair kit to the mini-cave at Wayne Manor and begins his surgical tech work on Bruce’s broken computer. He tells Bruce that he helped build the computer but has no idea what is on it.

Jerome rises

Theo Galavan is busy team building this week. First, he nabs Mayor James and forces him to convince his assistant Maggie he’s leaving town with a secret mistress.

Meanwhile, Jerome and the other escapees toss innocent people off the top of the Gotham Gazette building. Each victim has a letter spray-painted on. In the street, their bodies spell MANIAX!

Newly promoted Commissioner Essen puts Gordon in charge of the investigation. They know they are looking for five of the six Arkham escapees.


Galavan kicks the theatrical tires of the Maniax. He has plans for them that require talent in front of the camera, stagecraft. The two best candidates are Jerome and Greenwood. We also see Mayor James is still alive but Barbara Kean and Tabitha Galavan play really rough with him.

Jerome and Greenwood play a terrifying round of Russian roulette for leadership of the Maniax! Jerome proves he wants and deserves it more, Greenwood and Galavan agree.

Even Jim Gordon needs a little help form his friends

Gordon drops in on Harvey who is really happy to be slinging drinks behind a bar. He doesn’t have it in him to really convince Harvey to return to GCPD, but Harvey does give him a tip about where to start looking for clues. Harvey’s idea leads Gordon to discover a fuel-truck stolen from the shipyards. Gordon updates Commissioner Essen, Harvey will not return, but they have a solid BOLO for the fuel-truck.

Ed Nygma meets Ms. Kringle in the file room for some really awful and ineffective chitchat. She leaves when Ed fails to properly ask her out. His Hyde side teases him and says she may be more interested in him than the real Ed.

They promised villains and they delivered diabolical Maniax.

Jerome, Dobkins, and Aaron wait in their stolen fuel truck for Jerome to pick a target. A school bus with cheerleaders rolls down the street and Jerome sets their plan in action. He makes the bus pull over and uses the hose from the fuel-truck to soak the cheerleaders and bus in gasoline. He tries to set them on fire, but his lighter fails.


Gordon and other GCPD arrive but the fuel soaked bus makes the gunfight one sided. Jerome and Aaron get away on the bus but leave Dobkins to light the fire. Gordon manages to get the bus to safety and take Dobkins into custody. Tabitha kills Dobkins with her sniper rifle when Gordon asks him who broke him out of Arkham.

Lee tries to identify what kind of bullet killed Dobkins while Gordon and Alvarez work the little evidence they have. Barbara calls Gordon at his desk and taunts him. When he hears her laugh, he realizes she is right there in the detective bullpen. She runs out of the building and he pursues.

The second Gordon is gone; Jerome and the other Maniax enter GCPD dressed as cops. They open fire on all the unsuspecting police officers on duty. Ed tackles Ms. Kringle a split second before bullets rake across the spot where she was standing. Lee hides behind a body in the Medical Examiner’s room. Jerome captures Commissioner Essen as his men finish off wounded officers. While he toys with her, he shoots Greenwood for speaking out of turn.

Gordon catches up to Barbara in a narrow alley where he is attacked by mega-goon Aaron. He gives Gordon a vicious beating. When he is able to stand again, Gordon returns to the destroyed GCPD just as Commissioner Essen struggles for her final breaths.

Moving forward

Lee helps the few surviving wounded as best she can. Ms. Kringle bandages up Ed’s arm and it appears her appreciation has turned in his favor. Bruce rushes in with Alfred, anxious to discover Gordon’s condition. He also apologizes for sticking it to him that last time Gordon visited the manor.

Harvey returns with his hat and badge. He’s all in and they’re going to need him.  The news plays a video Jerome recorded as he carried out the carnage at GCPD and he promises it’s just the beginning of the mayhem.

We all understand why Penguin would keep Gordon alive, but why Galavan keeps him alive is still a mystery.


Eric lives in a world where the television is great, the smiles are warm, the pizza is hot, the puppies are playful, and the zombies are slow and meander while he reloads.

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