Air Date: November 14, 2016
Genre: Crime, Drama, Action
After so much build up, it’s finally came down to this; Michael Chiklis was Vic Mackey again! Well, maybe not Vic Mackey but still pretty close to it. Admittedly as an avid watcher of The Shield when it was still on the air, it was good to see this side of Michael Chiklis again. The Executioner contained a ton of emotional weight in regards to Barnes and his downfall. This past season had a great lead-up to this moment and it didn’t disappoint. It was slightly reminiscent of things we’d seen in past Batman stories. Two-Face in both The Dark Knight and Batman: The Animated Series went through a similar fate, as did Clayface in The Batman.
Nathaniel Barnes finally fell victim to The Alice Tetch Virus in Blood Rush. Now, his personality has flipped completely. The cop who, as Bullock (Donal Logue) so eloquently put it, would write himself a ticket if he jaywalked, is now killing criminals throughout the city. However, James is onto him, leading to massive showdown in the climax. Meanwhile, the show-runners finally threw us a bone and made Ivy Pepper (Maggie Geha) a more prominent character. After one of her robberies went wrong, Ivy found herself on the run. She consulted Selina (Camren Bicondova) and Bruce (David Mazouz) for help, leading to the discovery of an important item. Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) also receives word of Isabella’s (Chelsea Spack) death and vows revenge.
Okay, before I get into the title character, I have to talk about Ivy. I’m sorry, I have been waiting all season for them to actually do something with this woman. After seeing The Executioner, I can easily say that I am pleased. Poison Ivy is portrayed exactly as she should be. She creates pheromone toxins out of plants to seduce men before robbing them. This, for all intents and purposes, is Poison Ivy. She’s a flower child, a thief and a seductress all rolled into one and Maggie Geha’s performance sells it beautifully.
I’ll admit, at first I wasn’t really on board with them aging Ivy Pepper so many years. As we all know, she was a young child in the first two seasons until an accident made her an adult in this one. I just thought they were rushing it but, as it turns out, this actually makes for some interesting interactions. Maggie Geha does a marvelous job playing the duality of a twelve year old girl trapped in an adult body. Yeah, she’s still seducing men but her demeanor outside of that is like that of a child. This leads to moments that are actually quite hilarious. The moments with her interacting with Selina are comedy gold.
The beginning of The Executioner sees Ivy seducing a wealthy man, stealing an expensive diamond from his vault. However, it turns out the item she stole is of great importance and now people are trying to kill her. Ivy goes to Selina and Bruce for help and they all soon find themselves running for their lives. Why are these people trying to kill her? It may have something to do with the key they find inside of the diamond. A key that holds ties to The Court Of Owls perhaps? Guess we’ll have to wait and find out. For now, I suppose, the luxury of Bruce’s mansion should be a good place for Ivy to hide.
As for Jim Gordon, we find our hero at a crossroads when he finds himself suspecting Captain Barnes of murder. Unfortunately for him, he’s absolutely right and Barnes is onto him. This leads to Barnes offering Jim an ultimatum. Jim can help him clean up the city by disposing of all the criminals or Jim can die. Obviously, Jim goes the noble way, leading to an epic showdown between the newly re-appointed detective and his mentor.
At this point in The Executioner, I began to realize just how great this season was. They didn’t just have Barnes go off the rails as soon as he got the virus. No, Nathaniel Barnes was shown as a strong-willed, determined individual from his first appearance onward. In the past several episodes, we saw the struggle this character was going through to keep the virus at bay. We saw him try to maintain the righteous side of himself. Therefore, his decent as The Executioner feels more earned and more dramatic. Gotham actually took its time building up to this moment.
What makes it even more heartbreaking is what Jim Gordon goes through in this episode. The very man he looked up to has been corrupted and when he’s not running for his life from Barnes in The Executioner, he’s trying to bring him back. It was even sadder knowing that the virus has already won. In addition, it would have been easy for Jim to kill Barnes, so that the series could be done with the character. Let’s be honest, the show did it before – *coughs* Jerome *coughs*. However, that’s not what happened at all. Jim wounded Barnes that he could be taken to Arkham for help. Admittedly, I would have liked to see more episodes with Barnes on the loose before his capture but I’ll take what I can get. I just hope they don’t wait another season to bring him back.
Then there was Edward Nygma, who received shocking news that Isabella’s car was hit by a train, resulting in her death. We all, of course, know that The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) had her killed because of his love for Edward. However, this is where my issues with this otherwise perfect episode set in. First of all, Oswald knows how intelligent and thorough Edward is, right? So why would he be stupid enough to have Isabella’s brakes cut? I mean, Edward has access to the GCPD, as clarified in an earlier episode. So, obviously, Edward’s going to look into her death and discover the cut brake lines, which, of course, is exactly what he does in The Executioner. Now, I understand why Edward would think Butch did it, in the sense that they had an incredibly forced rivalry in the past.
However, since when does Butch know about Isabella? Butch left before Edward and Isabella got together. How could Butch know Isabella and Edward were even a thing? I … I don’t get this. For a guy who can decipher any riddle and solve any problem on the planet, you’d think he’d be a little smarter than this. I can only assume that Edward will be taking out his vengeance on the wrong person in the next episode. Admittedly, this could lead to something interesting but I just can’t overlook this flaw. Everything we’ve seen from Edward Nygma in the past shows that he is smarter than this. As for Isabella, let’s hope Indian Hill makes her come back again. Pretty please, Fox?
Overall, The Executioner is a great episode. I cannot believe that Edward Nygma can’t see the truth in front of his eyes when he’s always been able to do so. However, that’s one major flaw in a very minor part of the episode. Most of The Executioner revolves around Barnes’ relationship with Gordon and Ivy running for her life. When the focuses on these things, it’s fantastic. So that one character flaw isn’t really that big a deal.
- Maggie Geha's Poison Ivy
- Showdown Between Barnes & Gordon
- Wonderful Payoff
- Great, Well-Balanced Drama
- Edward & Oswald Both Making Dumb Assumptions
A graduate of Full Sail University with a Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing, Adam is a Writer and Film Critic, looking to make his mark on the world. When he isn’t at the movies, writing for The Nerd Stash, playing Duck Hunt (respect the classics) or delivering pizzas to his neighbors, he is back at school earning his Masters Degree in Film Production.