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Ranking the big baddies of 'Gotham': 'Prisoners'

Season 2 | Episode 16 | “Wrath of the Villains: Prisoners” | Aired Mar 28, 2016

Gotham is known for its big bad supervillains—those menacing future Batman foes who control the city in costumes and capers. They’re demented, they’re fun, and they’ve got a slew of iconic names to match their equally strange backstory. (If you were fighting someone named “the Joker,” you’d remember his name.) But what about the everyday baddie? Where does the petty criminal go in a city like Gotham City?

“Prisoners” takes us deep inside the other criminal lockup facility in Gotham City. While Arkham Asylum is infamous for the deranged and the criminally insane, Blackgate Prison is more rough and dangerous. This is no Oz! After the events of last week’s episode, James Gordon is now behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, with a group of people who are willing to do another one. It’s a new batch of villains who are ready to join the villains’ game.

As with previous Gotham baddie lists, the standout Gotham villains from this week’s episode will be ranked for their villainy, their crimes, and their rise to power.

Let’s start at the bottom:

Oswald dealing with life at the Van Dahl estate


5. Oswald Cobblepot (aka the Penguin)

The third time is not a charm for the Penguin. However, in this case, Oswald is enjoying his time at the bottom of the villains list. He’s found a new home with his father, Elijah Van Dahl, and his new stepfamily. It’s the beginning of a new life for him—one where he can turn his back on his criminal past and live a quiet life with a family he never knew he had. It’s almost picturesque and too perfect for words. However, nothing is ever as it seems.

Oswald is being outmaneuvered by more cunning villains (his stepfamily) who want something greater than his happiness: money. His time away from his criminal habits has left him weak and unprepared for what’s to come. Unless he can change, he won’t be rising the ranks too soon. However, after this week’s surprising death, we might be seeing the old Oswald sooner rather than later.


4. Henry Weaver

Blackgate Prison houses some of Gotham City’s most dangerous and violent criminals. Many remain faceless during “Prisoners,” but the criminal who stands out the most during Gordon’s time behind bars is the former bank robber. From the second Gordon enters the prison, the criminal has it out for him and wants him dead; he blames James Gordon for his incarceration.

The dangerous man attacks him on several occasions, and severely injuries another innocent prisoner to send Gordon a message. While his attacks ultimately fail, this criminal could’ve done some serious damage if he hadn’t been stopped.

3. Warden Carlson Grey

Another menacing face inside the prison, the warden is out for blood, and his next target is our mainstay hero. He doesn’t want James Gordon to be alive a minute longer; he orders one of the prisoners to eliminate the former police officer within a week. The warden is a cruel and stoic man who is just as corrupted as the prisoners he is meant to keep confined. While he fails in his attempt to kill Gordon, there’s no denying that he rules the place with an iron fist, and most likely has caused his fair share of internal crimes.


2. The Van Dahls: Grace, Charles, and Sasha

The three greedy Van Dahls are sharing the second spot on the list; it wouldn’t be fair to split them up when they’re equally responsible for their crimes. The money-hungry, social-climbing family wants to eliminate Oswald from the picture so that they can claim Elijah’s inheritance in full. They try seducing him, manipulating him, and even attempting to murder him to get him out the way. While their efforts aren’t a total success, they do some damage. Elijah didn’t see the poison coming!

Grace is the mastermind of the trio and stands above her conniving children. Her actions and plotting ultimately kill her husband … by accident. But it’s still murder nonetheless. Now that they’ve killed Elijah, his will is potentially still intact—this family stands to inherit a LOT of money. But that’s a revelation for another week and another villains list.

1. Carmine Falcone

Carmine Falcone is back from retirement and dishing out his own form of privileges. If he had a better attitude and a hero streak, he could be the fairy godmother of Gotham. (Except he’s dangerous and doesn’t look good in glittery colors!) Instead, he’s still a powerful crime lord.

With the begging of Harvey Bullock, Carmine Falcone agrees to free Gordon and provide him with a new life wherever he wants to settle. It’s a generous and kind act to help our main hero escape danger. But we can’t forget this: He helped James Gordon escape from prison. I mean, PRISON!

There’s no going back from that to be a hero in terms of villain power. Give him a funny nickname or costume and he would give the foes in Arkham Asylum a run for their money. That is why Carmine Falcone sits at the top of the villains list for this week.

Which villains do you think are rising to the occasion? Share your thoughts below!

Gotham airs Mondays at 8/7C on Fox.