With ‘Gotham’ beginning to settle in to a real rhythm and proving to be a hit amongst fans and critics – although perhaps not the hit that Fox were hoping for – it’s time for the series to being to ramp up some of the weirder aspects but more importantly also time to start to flesh out the characters to allow the melodrama to become less daytime soapy and more in line with the tone of a show set in a comic book world.
‘Spirit of the Goat’ gives us a glimpse into the past of Harvey Bullock. A brief but telling flashback which helps give some context to his attitudes and his approach to his work. Harvey or more specifically Donal Logue has been singled out as one of the standout aspects of the show right from the moment of his casting.
Most casual fans of the Bat-franchise may only be familiar with Bullock from his appearances in the animated series in which he spent most of his time chasing down the Bat and proving to be a useful but antagonistic thorn in Gordon’s side. But in the world of ‘Gotham’ he’s a much richer character whom the audience are salivating for more information on. What are his allegiances with Fish Mooney? He he faced similar situations to Gordon at the end of the pier with Cobblepot?
‘Spirit of the Goat’ doesn’t quite delve that far in to his past but we do get to see him working alongside his original partner. Yes it’s a setup to provide exposition on the Goat serial-killer to ensure he becomes a serious villain with more weight than those of previous episodes but flashbacks are a two-way street and seeing a more undeveloped Harvey is a great start to these ordinarily 2D characters taking on many more dimensions.
‘Gotham’ is already proving itself to have a solid grip on the wider arch of the season with the Cobblepot murder still fresh in the minds of most of the cast and Gordon squarely in the crosshairs of Montoya and Allen. At some point the story will unravel and Gordon’s leverage over the GCPD is going to be taken away from him forcing his anti-corrupt nature to put him at odds with his colleagues.
The monster-of-the-week aspects of the show still need development although the Goat killer takes a great step towards this by creating a legend which puts fear into the citizens of Gotham. An ordinary crime show like ‘Bones’ or any of the various ‘CSI’ shows can handle generic deals and psychopaths because they’re set in the real world but in the heightened reality of ‘Gotham’ with a fan base widely versed in comic lore the writers need to craft villains who can truly inhabit the landscape and not drown in it’s sprawling scale.
There are some great twists to the story of ‘Spirit of the Goat’ which bring the episode to an unexpected conclusion, one which has hints of evil bubbling under the surface of the city trying to keep it at bay. Viewers could be forgiven for not comparing the masterminds mission of control over the rich of Gotham with that of Ra’s Al Ghul and the League of Assassins in ‘Batman Begins’.
There’s still a long way to go for this show to become a complete must-watch but for now it’s doing what it does well and learning its way through a market rapidly becoming flooded with comic book properties.