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.