There's a new sheriff in town on Fox's “Gotham.” Capt. Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis) made his debut Monday in Season 2, episode 4, titled “Strike Force,” and he's not messing around. Detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) has another boss who believes in him, but will his past dealings with Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) come back to haunt him?
The episode begins with Penguin holding a meeting of criminals to try to find out if any of them knows who organized the Arkham breakout. Business on the street was good for all of them until Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) ruined it, and now there's chaos throughout the city. Penguin tells them that before anyone decides to try anything like that, it has to be run by him first. Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas) shows up at the meeting and tells Penguin her brother Theo (James Frain) would like to meet him.
Barnes makes a booming entrance as the Gotham City Police Department's new boss. He fires a bunch of corrupt officers and says anyone else who breaks the law also will be fired. Barnes pulls Gordon into his office because he knows he's a fighter and troublemaker in the department. Barnes names Gordon second in command and tells him they're going to fix the department together. Gordon's partner, Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), doesn't like Barnes because he says no one walks a straight line in Gotham City.
Penguin meets with Theo, who reveals he's the one behind the chaos in the city. He wants Penguin to do a favor for him by clearing out residential areas for new buildings and also by taking out mayoral candidates so that Theo can win the office easily. Penguin doesn't like being treated like he's not the king of Gotham, so he tells Theo to find his own assassin. Tabitha then turns on a TV and shows Penguin they've kidnapped his mother, Gertrude (Carol Kane), and if he doesn't do what they want, they'll kill her.
Gordon meets Barnes at the GCPD Academy, where Barnes reveals to Gordon he wants to assemble a team of the best candidates from the academy before they've been corrupted by a precinct. They find four candidates who become Unit Alpha of the GCPD Task Force, which will report directly to Gordon. Gordon thinks it's risky to have such young cops out there, but Barnes says they have nothing to lose.
Theo Galavan announces he's running for mayor of Gotham after Penguin stages a drive-by shooting that of course misses Galavan. Penguin and Butch (Drew Powell) then pay a visit to Janice Caulfield (Saundra Santiago). Penguin stabs her to death while Butch keeps her employees company and tells them to stay mum about what they saw.
Elsewhere, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) goes back to school and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) waits outside to pick him up. While waiting, Alfred sees Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) and slaps her for killing his friend last season. He also tells her to keep away from Bruce. When Bruce gets back to the car ready to go home, Alfred gives him gym clothes instead and tells him to run home as part of the training Bruce agreed to.
While giving the task force their new uniforms, Barnes, Gordon and Bullock learn that Caulfield was murdered. When they get to the scene, one of the eyewitnesses tells them the man who did the stabbing wore fancy clothes and walked funny. Gordon realizes right away it was Penguin.
Penguin and Butch go to the headquarters of the last candidate, Randall Hobbs (Michael Mulheren), and Penguin tells Butch he's doing all of this because they have his mother. Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) shows up and starts taking out Hobbs' men. Hobbs makes a run for it, but Zsasz catches up to him outside just as Gordon and his unit arrive. During a brief shootout, one officer is hit, but she's wearing a bulletproof vest. Zsasz escapes after shooting a fire hydrant.
Gordon goes to see Penguin to find out why he feels the need to mess with the election when he has his own empire. Penguin won't give him anything, but Gordon warns him that the GCPD is under new leadership and they will take Penguin down if need be. Penguin counters by asking what his new captain would think of the murder Gordon did for Penguin.
Gordon leaves after this and the two say they'll face whatever comes their way. Barnes then gives the strike force their first real mission: Gather enough evidence to put away Penguin.
At the end of the episode, it’s revealed Theo's plan was to get the GCPD after Penguin while he steals the mayor's office. Butch is trying to find Penguin's mother for him but is having no luck.
Other Major Moments From Season 2, Episode 4
- Bruce may have found a new love interest in episode 4 in Theo Galavan’s niece, Silver St. Cloud (Natalie Alyn Lind). Bruce returned to school after being home-schooled for a while and now has a new friend after being introduced to Silver during lunch with Galavan. This could help him, especially since Alfred told Selina to stay away from Bruce.
- Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) finally gathers up the courage to ask out Ms. Kringle (Chelsea Spack). He struggles with the other part of himself that has developed and it’s unclear which one is calling the shots with Kringle. However, he cooks her dinner at his apartment and earns a first kiss, despite being caught yelling at himself.