Gotham S01E10 ‘Lovecraft’

Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle in 'Gotham'

Gotham S01E10 ‘Lovecraft’

Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle in 'Gotham'
Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle in ‘Gotham’

This week ‘Gotham’ bows out with its mid-season finale ‘Lovecraft’ a direct follow-on from last weeks ‘Harvey Dent’ (reviewed here).

Where ‘Harvey Dent’ focussed on a little less of the action and more of the characters by manipulating them to where they need to be for this episode, ‘Lovecraft’ by comparison ramps up the action. Sadly it fails to leave us with an edge-of-your-seat cliffhanger but it does make some changes which will provide an interesting backdrop for the second half of the season.

The episode opens with an assault on Wayne manor lead by familiar character Copperhead – you may know her best from the game ‘Batman: Arkham Origins’ – and two other assassins. Their attempt to take the manor is thwarted by Alfred, allowing Bruce and Selina to escape.

Gordon’s time in this episode is split between the hunt for Dick Lovecraft, believed by Harvey Dent to have hired the assassins, and also the search for Bruce and Selina.

Penguin makes his next move by confessing to Falcone that there is a mole in his midst and that they’re working for Fish.

Bruce and Selina share their first kiss and she also introduces him to more of the darker side of the city via an underground mall where all of Gotham’s street kids – including the returning Ivy Pepper – hang out.

This is another richly layered episode of ‘Gotham’ which perfectly intermingles all of the different story elements. The assault of Wayne manor ties in to the investigation of Dick Lovecraft; the missing teens end up running in to Clyde (as associate of Ivy Pepper) is wants to hand them over to the assassins. The assassins are also the ones to murder Lovecraft and that murder is what brings about Gordon’s dismissal from the GCPD and his post-finale move to guard duty at Arkham Asylum.

I said in my review of ‘Harvey Dent’ that the show was succeeding at mixing its storylines together to create a really rich tapestry and this episode is another great example of that. All the characters have their own individual motivations and missions yet somehow they’re intrinsically tied together and all roads go back to Falcone, Maroni and the mob.

‘Lovecraft’ has a few good twists and turns, when the unconscious Gordon wakes to find Dick Lovecraft murdered by his own gun I feared we would be ending on a cliffhanger of his arrest for murder but thankfully ‘Gotham’ didn’t go down the predictable route and instead covered up the murder as a suicide and the twisted mayor used that to push Gordon away from the action and sideline him to a dead end job at Arkham.

Dependant on how long his tenure at Arkham lasts the shift in focus from the GCPD to Arkham could bring in more of a focus on the crazy criminal element in ‘Gotham’. We haven’t seen much of it in this first part of the season but at some point the violence in the city needs to escalate towards the point that causes Batman to emerge. Now Bruce is far too young to don the cowl at this stage and the escalation can’t happen overnight but ‘Gotham’ does need to begin bringing in glimpses of the level of chaos it will be drowning in several years from now.

‘Lovecraft’ is satisfying in that it ties up the storyline which begun in ‘Harvey Dent’ well and it spins the story in a new direction but it feels more like a slow season finale than a mid-season break.

3 stars

 

 

3 stars

 

Nicholas D'Agosto as Harvey Dent in 'Gotham'

Gotham S01E09 ‘Harvey Dent’

Nicholas D'Agosto as Harvey Dent in 'Gotham'
Nicholas D’Agosto as Harvey Dent in ‘Gotham’

With previous episode ‘The Mask’ (reviewed here) ‘Gotham’ dipped in to some of the deeper Batman lore by introducing Tommy Elliot and Richard Sionis as supporting characters in it’s story of the week. This week ‘Gotham’ goes one step further by introducing a hugely popular character from the comics and even naming the episode after him.

‘Harvey Dent’ marks the first appearance of Nicholas D’Agosto as the titular Harvey who, at this stage, is already an Assistant District Attorney. For his first appearance the eager ADA works alongside Gordon under the belief that Gotham tycoon Dick Lovecraft is behind the Wayne murders in a story which bleeds in to the mid-season finale next week.

D’Agosto looks ridiculously young but plays a convincing Harvey throughout. His addition to the series is a little controversial given that Harvey and Bruce should be of similar age but there’s a legitimacy in the change here as a young Harvey and Gordon make a good pairing and his characterisation fits in perfectly with the atmosphere of the show.

We’ll have to see how the story plays out in next weeks second part but on first impressions D’Agosto could make a great addition to the cast if made a series regular.

‘Harvey Dent’ is one of the more solidly crafted episodes of ‘Gotham’ once again showing how the series can balance multiple storylines well without neglecting any of its better characters. There’s storylines for all in this episode and so it’s pretty packed from start to finish.

First up: Selena and Bruce. Holed up in Wayne manor the pair of teens don’t have a lot to do other than talking and being kids but it’s nice to see Bruce lightening up a little bit. As the viewer we know his ultimate destiny and the darkness that comes with it so to see glimpses of a younger, brighter Bruce make for an interesting distraction from the status quo. The promo for next week shows there’s some action taking place at the manor so sadly the new found level of fun won’t last long.

Pairing the two characters obviously sparks controversy amongst fans who strongly believe that the characters should meet until later in life but I, for one, find it interesting to see how younger and more undeveloped versions of the characters interact.

Next up: Fish Mooney & the mob. This week Fish is feeling like things are going her way. Liza is well ensconced at the Falcone house and she is able to manipulate the Russians in to making a move against Falcone. Fish is becoming a go-to character on ‘Gotham’ now, I’ve said before about my hesitation to embrace an original character being brought in to such an established franchise but she continues to be a major player in ‘Gotham’ and despite the extremeness of her character she makes for compelling viewing.

Lastly is our deer friend Oswald. This week Penguin is using his detective skills and is able to out Liza as one of Fish Mooney’s moles within the Falcone crowd. His appearance is a little fleeting but is as always a highlight of the episode. He’s continuing to manoeuvre himself in to a position of power and where much of the show remains a mystery it’s clear where the development of his character is headed.

Even with all of this there’s still a villain-of-the-week storyline to contend with. A bomber is kidnapped by the Russian mob and brought in to the plan to bring down Falcone. As always with ‘Gotham’ it all ties in.

Another very famous character from the Batman universe also makes an appearance in this episode… Arkham.

The downbeat ending to this first part of the story brings an announcement from the Mayor that Arkham manor will be re-opened as a home for the criminally insane thus pushing ‘Gotham’ one step closer to the inception of Batman.

‘Harvey Dent’ is a great opening gambit in a two part mid-season finale. I hope high hopes for a closing chapter which will leave fans hanging on for more over the Christmas period.

4 stars

 

 

4 stars

Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot on Fox's 'Gotham'

Gotham S01E08 ‘The Mask’

Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot on Fox's 'Gotham'
Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot on Fox’s ‘Gotham’

Coming off the back of a slow burning episode with ‘Penguin’s Umbrella’ (reviewed here) fans of ‘Gotham’ need a little injection of action to bring back the excitement and thankfully we got that with ‘The Mask’.

Straying off the fully serialised episode we get more of a monster-of-the-week setup although that overarching mob story is still bubbling away nicely in the background.

Firstly: the setup. The episode opens with a slightly mysterious sequence in a dimly lit office where we get to see two guys menace each other to death before one of the bodies turns up just in time for an Edward Nygma cameo.

Note: this show needs more Cory Michael Smith.

We launched into an investigation on how the body came to be where it was and in the state it was which can only lead to the usual sparky mix of questioning and detecting by the duo of Gordon and Bullock. The chemistry between Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue continues to be a draw to the show. Granted the characters have to get on well by the nature of the show but in the context of making the show believable and a great watch there needs to be chemistry between the leads and that exists here in spades.

Upon his disappearance at the hand of The Mask there’s a chance for Bullock to show his concern for Gordon and after the events of recent episodes with the reveal of Cobblepot’s non-murder it’s also great to see the GCPD beginning to get behind Gordon and search for him. Comic fans will know the history between Gordon and Captain Essen but I fear at this stage the show isn’t going to explore that territory in any particular rush.

There are few twists in the case of the week but it does prove an entertaining break from the heavily serialised nature of previous episodes. Even us die hard fans of serialised TV need a breather once and a while.

This week ‘Gotham’ does return to shoehorning in scenes for Alfred and Bruce who remain heavily disconnected from the rest of the show apart from the occasional visit from Jim. Up to this episode it’s been really bugging me that the two are so separate whilst shut up in Wayne Manor – still only having one room – but there’s been very little to help with that integration until now.

This week Bruce returns to school which gives him a chance to get out of the manor and visit some more real world locales.

Forgive me for my over excitement but there were two references in this weeks episode potentially lost on less well versed Bat-fans. Firstly: Richard Sionis, no doubt linked to the name Roman Sionis from the comics otherwise known as the villain Black Mask. This is a massive step towards bringing one of the lesser known (outside of the comics) villains to the live action world. Extremely exciting.

Next up: Tommy Elliot. Whilst in school Bruce squares up to bully Tommy culminating in Alfred allowing Bruce to punch the guy squarely in the face. Again those fans not up to date on all things comics will be unfamiliar with the name but Tommy will go on to become Hush. Another major villain from the comics who had an entire run named after him in the early 2000s and is currently pulling some major strings in the companion comic ‘Batman: Eternal’.

Both characters add some serious Batman lore to the show and I welcome both with a ridiculously over excited round of applause. The show needs to do more of this, particularly in this kind of subtle manner rather than the more awkward introduction of characters like Ivy Pepper who were perhaps a little too quirky at their outset.

Lets also give a big round of applause to Carol Kane as Gertrude Kapleput, the long suffering mother of Penguin. Her scenes may brief but she is whimsically insane and makes her scenes crackle with a comedic nature that the show lacks elsewhere.

The lore of ‘Gotham’ is coming together incredibly well at this stage, I have no idea where the show is building in terms of a big bad or even where we’ll be for the mid-seasons finale but actually I don’t care because it’s just too enjoyable to worry about these things.

4 stars

 

 

 

4 stars

Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot on Fox's 'Gotham'

Gotham S01E07 ‘Penguin’s Umbrella’

Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot on Fox's 'Gotham'
Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot on Fox’s ‘Gotham’

The intensity of Fox’s ‘Gotham’ is beginning to step up rapidly week-by-week as the serialised nature of the show really begins to pull all the various threads together.

Where Fox is actively pushing shows like ‘Sleepy Hollow’ to move away from the serialised structure to allow audiences to dip in and out ‘Gotham’ is continuing to forge ahead with the mob war storyline that pulls all of the major players in to the action.

For a show originally billed as an origin of the city which would feature the future Commissioner Gordon in the lead role the show has spent a great deal of time and effort developing the role of Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin. From the outside Robin Lord Taylor’s performance as the eventually owner of the Iceberg Lounge and regular foe to Batman has been applauded. Who’s side is he on? What is his endgame? Can he really turn in to the evil Penguin we know from the comics?

The writers have created a great dilemma for the audience in that, if you are like me, you really like Cobblepot. He can be pretty hapless at times and he loves his mother dearly but there’s a spark of evil in him which really concerns me for his future even though I already know in intimate detail where he’s going to end up.

This week Penguin ends up in the thick of the action by revealing that he has been working for Falcone all this time, ratting out on Fish and her plans to overthrow his empire. For weeks Penguin has been circling the periphery of the show having dealings with Gordon, working for Fish, being a police informant etc… but now he’s beginning to show that the knowledge he has provides real power and having power in ‘Gotham’ can make you a major player.

Jim Gordon actually takes a bit of a backseat this week, shipping Barbara out of the city only to later find her held hostage by Falcone after returning to plead for his life. Granted he is injured after the GCPD shooting for part of this episode but ‘Penguin’s Umbrella’ is really about putting him in the backseat and allowing the world around him to take centre stage.

Barbara has been underused so far in the show, sadly at this stage her uses are restricted to damsel in distress or upset girlfriend but we know that eventually she needs to come in to her own as the mother of Batgirl and not to forget the distinctly disturbing James Gordon Jnr whom I hope the show is able to explore at some point although that would require a bit of a time jump.

That begin said Barbara has a fair amount of screen time in this episode and Erin Richards proves her acting skills amongst the bigger names.

Anthony Carrigan casues a real splash as Victor Zsas in this episode. His scenes within the GCPD are a highlight of the series so far and hopefully his character will stick around thanks to his recurring status. We know the character isn’t going to be killed off otherwise he won’t be around to go toe-to-toe with Batman himself but the threat this show has is that some of the bigger villains could find themselves shipped off to Arkham or Blackgate taking them off screen.

The Falcone’s and Maroni’s of the ‘Gotham’ world are still a little lacking in depth but they’re scenes are coming together to develop a well structured, slow burning story about the mob underbelly of the city which works perfectly in the context of the Gotham from the comics. None of the problems that the city are facing can really go away until Batman arrives, Gordon and the GCPD are only fighting fires until the city realises it needs a hero like Batman and the writers are handling it brilliantly for a show in its infancy.

This episode is somewhere of a slow goer compared to recent instalments but that’s always going to be the case in serialised shows such as ‘Gotham’.

3 stars

 

 

 

3 stars