Gotham S01E16 ‘The Blind Fortune Teller’
‘The Blind Fortune Teller’ continues a run of incredibly strong episodes with another huge DC Comics connection and a brilliant case of the week which may (or most likely not) give us our first experience of Gotham’s very own Joker.
Fans have been aware for some time that this episode would feature a guest appearance by the future Grayson family prior to the birth of their son Richard ‘Dick’ (Robin, Nightwing etc…) Grayson. What we weren’t aware of was another character who might be waiting in the wings at Haly’s Circus.
Let’s start out with the setting : Haly’s Circus is in no way shoehorned in to this episode to allow John and Mary to appear. Gordon takes Lee on a date and that date happens to be at the circus currently visiting Gotham which happens to be Haly’s Circus and happens to feature a trapeze act called The Flying Graysons. Thankfully for Jim this date goes a little better than that time Bruce Wayne took Chase Meridian to the circus in ‘Batman Forever’.
The setting is very organic and the episode itself is written by show runner Bruno Heller so the setting around the circus tent is full of characters who make this easily the most colourful episode of ‘Gotham’ so far. Naturally there’s a murder under the big top which leaves a child of the circus orphaned and Gordon’s date suddenly transformed in to an investigation.
As always with ‘Gotham’ not everything is as it seems and the episode takes on a comic (in every sense of the word) spin as the investigation involves the titular blind fortune teller from the circus and Lee finds herself intrigued by thrill of detecting.
In many ways ‘The Blind Fortune Teller’ feels like a completely different show to the opening episodes of the season. Tonally the show has really found solid ground in the quirkier side of its personality, episodes which are played straight often find themselves meandering from start to finish where episodes which take us in to the unusual are much more intriguing to watch.
The Grayson’s themselves make up only a small part of the world of Haly’s Circus, it’s almost coincidental to all the other events of the episode that they are present which only adds to the authenticity of their appearance. Throughout they remain secondary characters who aid the story in reaching its eventual conclusion but in thanking Gordon for bringing them together Heller just can’t resist a little nod to their future offspring.
I can’t discuss ‘The Blind Fortune Teller’ without discussing The Joker. Without spoiling the character who may (or most likely not) be The Joker I can tell you the appearance is a surprise and quite a twist. In the space of one scene the character turns from innocent to… well… twisted. It evokes more Ledger than Nicholson but still it’s unmistakably The Joker even if just for a moment.
Heller has always send that The Joker is more end-game for ‘Gotham’ but that we would meet him or his inspirations early on. Whatever indication ‘The Blind Fortune Teller’ is for future appearances of The Joker it’s a perfect start and a brilliantly chilling take on the character or some form of him.
As I said at the start of this review: another incredibly strong episode in a strong run of episodes for ‘Gotham’.