Episode: 2 “Knock, Knock.”
Running time: 44 min.
For the second episode of the season, this was an aptly titled episode that upped the tension even further then one would suspect for so early in the season with copious mass murder, the emergence of the Maniax’s, and a nice bit of contention between Bruce and Alfred.
For one, the character of Jerome Valeska, who first appeared in the season one episode “The Blind Fortune Teller,” with perhaps one of the best one episode appearances in the season as the future Joker played by Cameron Monaghan, certainly came into his own this episode, cementing his place for the rest of the season. He is a delightful mix of the Keith Ledger’s Joker and the Mark Hamill Joker, wrapped up with a bit of his own unique flare in a fun murder burrito. The actor’s body, his tonality, and his facial expressions, particularly in the eyes and the mouth, and let’s not forget that laugh! An actor who certainly owns his character and how to use the character’s inherent presence.
The side arc with Bruce and Alfred is a bit of a mixed bag. With Bruce having lost his parents and being so young but at the cusp of being a teenager during this contentious time and trying to sort out the mystery surrounding his parents murder, a dangerous endeavor, the appearance of the first real disagreement between the two was good to see, adding an element of realism to the relationship, providing some needed growth in the chemistry of their dynamic. Then that little element of realism is tossed out the expensive window with how the arc played the argument out. Alfred, even if he was fired, has been stated as being the boy’s legal guardian, which I am pretty sure is something Bruce can’t fire him from, and Alfred, considering how protective and responsible he is of Bruce, would not leave him alone in the mansion and would have at least alerted another adult. Duty over responsibility is not Alfred’s thing.
It was also a relief to see Bullock return to being a cop early in the season, a reassurance that he will not be benched after all this season. His whole being engaged to Scotty, a brief character from the previous season, was a surprise, but given how they portrayed her this season, it is safe money that the two will likely part ways over his decision to return to being a detective before the end of the season.
The plot in this episode was kept at a brisk pace as many things went down this episode. The massacre at the police station in particular was a surprise, as it has a feel of more a mid-season at the very least vibe. The reason this is so, is because often television shows that start with the punchy stuff early are expected to outdo themselves as the plot progresses, particularly for the season climax. It’s not bad to come out with the intense stuff early though, it’s been done successfully before, just not always, and not for second seasons usually, which is why it was a bit of a surprise. If they can maintain this flow of upping the anti that they have been doing so far without overdoing it, then it should be well worth the ride of admission indeed to see where this all goes.
Despite a few quibbles with the Bruce and Alfred side story, this was an overall great episode with a great full on introduction to the Future Joker, and set-up for later episodes with the edition of Lucius to the Wayne household, Barbra Kean coming out of the woodwork, and this new head villain, we are all eager to see where the promise of this episode goes, kudos to the show’s team or a job well done!