Gotham Season 1 Ep 3 (TV Show Review)

Two weeks into Fox’s Gotham, the latest comics-based show on air, and I think that things are going great for comics fans everywhere. This is the big year for comics properties, what with old shows coming back for new seasons and new shows getting off one after anoher. Gotham is the lone charger at the moment since DC’s The Flash starts later tonight, and the publisher’s next big project Constantine not getting on until the end of the month. In the first couple episodes, we’ve seen some big things happening on Gotham and the show is almost tone-perfect, with some great casting and also some interesting mysteries at the heart of future-Batman’s city.

The new episode sees a vigilante make his appearance on the show for the first time. In the first episode we saw the murder of the Waynes, and then in the second we witnessed a child-kidnapping ring. Now, we see not a villain, but someone who wants to clean up the city in a rough way, outside of the law and order. “Balloon Man” really ups the tension between various characters, as Fish’s silent war against Don Falcone continues, as Renee Montoya keeps gunning for James Gordon, as Don Maroni starts making moves on Don Falcone, and as Alfred starts to teach a young Bruce about some basic swordplay. Fun and exciting, more than I’d thought possible.

Gotham Logo 0001Last week’s episode saw some pretty big changes for various characters. It all ended with a great cliffhanger when young Selina Kyle told white knight Jim Gordon that she’d seen the Waynes’ killer and that she was there in the alley when they were murdered. It was a great ending scene, and I was really excited to see how it would all pan out in this week’s episode. Regrettably, the teasing continues apace, but we do get to see Camren Bicondova churn out a much better performance here than she has done in the previous two episodes, especially since we got to see a much more consistent and a long scene with her this week. Executive producers Bruno Heller, Danny Cannon and John Stephens seem to be intent on tying together the various cast members, and Selina is a great example of that.

As is Oswald Cobblepot by the end of this episode, though that’s a discussion and point to bring up next wee since I don’t want to give up the ending of this week’s episode.

Primarily the episode deals with the mysterious Balloon Man, as he has been termed by the Gotham media. This vigilante targets high-profile people in Gotham society who are known to be crooks and corrupt by confronting them when they are alone and then tying them up with a weather balloon. It is a convenient murder method since there’s no body and no murder weapon to send for forensics. By the time the weather balloon comes back down, it is a ruin, and the person is dead as well.

The fun pairing of Donal Logue’s Harvey Bullock and Ben McKenzie’s Jim Gordon continued this week as we got to see Harvey shake down some of his informants for clues as to the identity of the Balloon Man. There’s also some intense intense police drama going on since Fish Mooney sics the bloodhound team of Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen on Gordon by telling them that he killed Cobblepot on Don Falcone’s orders. Renee and Crispus and foils to Harvey and Jim, and though they don’t get to do much in the show so far, they keep popping up to maintain the image of there being more important cops in Gotham than just our two leads, especially since Captain Sarah Essen makes yet another appearance as she shakes down Harvey and Jim when the Balloon Man kills a (corrupt) cop.

As a world-builder, this episode was definitely significant.

We’ve seen previously that Renee and Barbara Kean, Jim’s girlfriend/fiance, used to have a strong relationship that later fell out, and that’s part of this episode since Renee seems unwilling to keep her professional and private life separate and she keeps going after Gordon. In the second half of the episode there is a great scene between her and Barbara that underscores all of it, and also establishes some facts of their previous relationship, all of which I find quite intriguing.

All of it plays out in an even more significant way in the final minutes of the episode, and I’m thinking that given everything I’ve seen so far, then I was wrong to be dismissive of the show back when it was announced. The showrunners are doing fun and interesting things with these characters, and one of my favourite bits was Alfred teaching Bruce some swordplay, to get his mind off his parents’ murder case and his nightmares. This is a very different Alfred than the one I’ve seen previously in any number of incarnations, and I rather like Sean Pertwee’s performance. It helps that David Mazouz is no slouch either as Bruce Wayne, and I’m really looking forward to another three-way scene between Alfred, Bruce and Jim, since there is a lot of awesome packed in when these three are in a scene together. Still early days for the relationship, but I think the writers are doing a great job here, no mistake.

The big reveal about who the villain is and why he did what he did isn’t all that significant in itself. What is significant is that he did do something, and that is something that I can appreciate in a show like Gotham, given what it is about, and given all of the characters that later come to call Gotham home.

Gotham Cast 0001

I think I speak for almost everyone who is loving this issue, that one of the best things about the show is Oswald Cobblepot, played so perfectly by Robin Lord Taylor. His is a very different Penguin/Cobblepot than the one I know, especially from the New 52 timeline where the Cobblepots are an old Gotham family, but I’m loving what Taylor is doing. The mannerisms, the attitude, the utter joy at killing, the deviousness, everything stands out.

And of course, the adult female cast is near-perfect too. Erin Richards as Barbara Kean, Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney and Victoria Cartagena as Renee Montoya. I’ve already mentioned the relationship between Barbara and Renee, which I really enjoyed this episode and can’t wait to see more of, especially through flashbacks. And Jada is just killing it as Fish Mooney. Strong, dominant and utterly ruthless, just the right kind of ganglord needed in a city like Gotham. She seems to be playing everyone against each other, all in an effort to rise to the top of Gotham’s criminal food chain, and I think she is going to be a great character indeed.

This week’s episode also dropped the name “Arkham” and next week’s episode is titled the same, so I’m rather curious as to what is going to happen here. And whether Jeremiah Arkham is going to make an appearance, and what connection Don Maroni has with the place and what threat it is to Don Falcone.

Fun times ahead!

More Gotham: Ep 1, Ep 2.

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Posted on October 7, 2014, in Gotham, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

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