Having steered itself in to dark territory with its second episode (reviewed here) with its third episode ‘Gotham‘ has veered off in to the extremely weird for ‘The Balloonman‘ although its less of a light relief episode and more of a great example of the kind of story that being a comic book property can allow for.
‘Selina Kyle‘ was a great episode that allowed for some violence amongst all of the procedure and protocol whilst allowing some development in the Gordon-Wayne relationship which continues to lay the foundations for their future crime fighting partnership so in stark contract ‘The Balloonman‘ allows the writers to delve much further in to the corruption which is rife amongst elected officials in the city.
Bubbling under the surface of all the great cop action is the story of Oswald Cobblepot, this week he returns to Gotham and begins to make in roads with the Maroni family having crossed sides from the Falcone family. Lord Taylor’s portrayal continues to toe the line between insecure and madness brilliantly, there’s a calculated nature to him that makes you constantly question his motives and his end game. If ‘Gotham‘ is aiming to introduce a big-bad at any point don’t count out Cobblepot.
Around the Cobblepot action there’s a serial killer using weather balloons to take out some of Gotham’s more prominent public figures who also happen to have their hands in some really dodgy pies. So yes Gotham has found itself a vigilante of sorts.
Things are hotting up for Gordon as his lie about the Cobblepot killing bring Detectives Montoya and Allen to his door and also to Barbara’s door but how long will it be before Cobblepot resurfaces and the lies unravel?
The story in this episode is a little more streamlined than in the previous two, there’s less time for the ensemble cast as Bullock and Gordon work their way around the city solving the mystery being the murders. But what there is time for is some great development on the environment of the city itself. We get to meet elected officials and learn more about how the city itself runs, or doesn’t run as the case may be.
A lot of reviewers, including myself, have talked about how the city of Gotham is a character in its own right and here it works as almost the lead for the episode. Fans of the comics will never believe in the destinies of these characters if the city doesn’t begin to show itself on the path to needing a hero like Batman and here we can see the beginnings of that path.
For fans of crime procedurals themselves the fact there is much time and effort being put in to the setting is what is continuing to push the show above others on the market. Shows like ‘Bones‘ or ‘Elementary‘ have their settings but the shows themselves focus on the characters who inhabit them and don’t develop an infrastructure and background characters who are continuously present whether by reference or appearance.
McKenzie is settling in to his role very well but Gordon as a character still can’t carry this show entirely by himself, Bullock is such a well formed character and Donal Logue inhabits him so well that this show really does lean on the partnership to make it work. There’s a definitely level of development to Gordon that can be seen through these first three episodes but would like to see him start to move down paths from the comics to really being to realise the potential this show has.
After really coming on strong in the pilot at this stage I’ve adapted to the sheer volume of camp and evil that Jada Pinkett Smith brings to Fish Mooney. Her scenes are a sight to behold, as are her costumes. She is still channelling an extreme version of Ertha Kitt but it really does work in the context of the show. If you can get past the forced voice and the extreme nails she is actually a very strong character who has a huge amount of control over how the city runs. She’s going to become a very important figure in Gotham’s future so better get used to her now!
If you haven’t yet… watch this show!