Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Gotham Review: Episode 3 – Party Tricks Without The Joker

Warning Spoilers!

After holding two teenagers hostage and amassing a ransom, the Penguin returns to Gotham, hoping to reintegrate into society and find Gordon.

We then see that our villain of the week is a man bent on killing corrupted representatives by attaching them to weather balloons and having them killed after the helium disintegrates and makes the balloon explode.

Gordon meanwhile, is led to the place of the Wayne murder by Catwoman where she reveals whom the true killer was by sending him into the sewers to find the culprit’s wallet. She then escapes and leaves Gordon humiliated as he returns to duty.

Fish Mooney is then visited by detectives Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) and Crispus Allen (Andrew Stuart-Jones), who are investigating the disappearance of the Penguin. Mooney reveals that Gordon was the man who kidnapped the Penguin and allegedly pulled the trigger. This sends Montoya to Gordon’s apartment where she confronts Barbara Kean, revealing that the two women had a lesbian relationship before Kean met Gordon. Montoya reveals she does not like Gordon and believes him to be a murderous bent cop and that Kean deserves better.

Gordon and Bullock eventually hunt down and take out the ‘Balloon Man’ who delivered a fairly descent speech on social justice reminiscent of Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.

Mooney is then seen talking to a fellow mobster who was behind the Wayne murder and they hint at the Wayne’s plan to reopen Arkham Asylum using the children trafficked in Episode Two.

Whilst all this has gone on, Alfred discovers Bruce Wayne has been trying to solve his parents’ murder and he becomes more and more concerned for the boy’s welfare. A moment of character development foreboding the rise of the Dark Knight acts as the penultimate scene of this episode – before Gordon is confronted by an uninvited visitor which meant the next episode will mean business.

This episode has to be the silliest so far, as one of the men attacked by the ‘Balloon Man’ was so easily armed and could have shot down the balloon before the attacker had a chance to get away. Plus the scene where another victim fell to earth, killing an elderly pedestrian, had me laughing out loud. I understand this is a comic book inspired show, but the suspension of disbelief in this episode got silly more than once.

But I did enjoy the subtlety around Kean and Montoya’s relationship because there have been no hints at them being romantically involved before and this will open up a storyline I’m hoping is dealt with correctly and does not malign LGBT characters. I do hope Montoya doesn’t become another lesbian character defined simply by her sexuality.

Plus Gordon did appear to become more and more frustrated with the ethics around corruption and justice. The ongoing debate of good and evil are what’s kept the Batman stories alive and they haven’t gone away in this carnation. Plus this is the first incarnation where some reason is given for the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents and I give that much credit.

And I’m pleased this series didn’t take on the ‘Villain of the Week’ structure which I was banking on at the start. The Penguin is the traditional Batman villain developing in this season and I’d like to see more. But that does give hope for another season if the villains are dealt with one by one.

Bechdel Result: Pass.

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