Review: "Gotham" Ep. 3

Review: "Gotham" Ep. 3


Season 1, Episode 3

“The Balloonman”

Grade: C-

Another week gone by, another large step back for Gotham. It’s not that it’s making itself into a bad show, quite the contrary, it’s got a great cast and great characters to choose from, and with Gotham as their playground it’s hard to go wrong. That’s the thing though, they have so much to choose from that they don’t really have a clue what to do with their options.

Take tonight’s episode, where Gotham gets it’s first vigilante, the Balloonman. The Balloonman goes to white collar criminals, like a super scumbag banker who acts like such a scumbag in the first five minutes that you’re supposed to root for his demise as The Balloonman cufs him to a weather balloon and sends him floating off into the sky. Terrible television physics aside, that? That’s just silly.

Last week’s cliffhanger is going to be stretched out in order to milk as much out of the Selina/Gordon pairing as we can. Gordon makes the amusing mistake of handcuffing the girl who escaped a band of successful kidnappers repeatedly last week. This results in her tossing the cuffs down into the sewer to him and running off, not to be seen, nor heard from, for the remainder of the episode.

Jada Pinkett Smith is starting to be wasted, as Fish Mooney seems to only have three modes: menacing, threatening, and outright angry. So far, Gotham has only used her for one of two things, two wax poetic about Oswald Cobblepot or to wax poetic about Falcone and the mob war. An actress of her calibre deserves a bit more, and maybe we’ll see it as the aforementioned mob war comes to fruition.

Oswald Cobblepot is obviously not going to stop indiscriminately murdering people left and right, despite how unhinged this makes the Penguin as a character. Tonight, after he kills someone out of a logical survival reason, he kills someone for a new pair of shoes so he can get a job in a kitchen. There was less excuse for this murder than he’s had for any thus far, so apparently that well-known penguin-y bloodlust has taken hold.

Alfred and Bruce get some necessary bonding done, and I was glad to see that no call to Gordon was placed this time around. This also factors into Bruce’s Batman training a bit, as Alfred throws him a cane and the two sword fight until the beginning of Bruce’s inherent self-defense skill shines through and he bests Alfred.

Harvey is once again the show’s biggest weakness. They aren’t wasting Donal Logue’s talent but they are wasting a spectacular character, and showing us his dark, dirty side week after week without showing us any of his redeeming qualities makes Harvey Bullock a hard man to like, and will make him an even harder man to forgive, when and if that time comes.

Balloonman as a villain/vigilante doesn’t work because he exists in a pre-Batman world, he doesn’t work because his baseline silliness never becomes anything more than silly. It’s hard not to giggle seeing a grown man get handcuffed to a weather balloon and begin screaming in terror, because really, unless you are a tiny, tiny baby, you have nothing to worry about there. The fact that Balloonman is Bruce Wayne’s first clue to his own future career as a vigilante seems like a sin beyond forgiving, but that may well just be me.

I really want this show to succeed, and it’s Pilot episode hit it out of the park. Judging from the trailers they’ve released for the remainder of the season, they are going to find their footing eventually but as of now, they just don’t seem to know what to do and where to go to fill their time. Shows have always had filler episodes, it’s nothing new, I guess I was just hoping Gotham would change the rules on that and use their filler epoisodes to tell stories of super-unknown villains. Like Crazy Quilt. That would be hilarious.

Stuff And Things

  • “I can see in the dark.” Really Selina? I’m pretty sure it’s the night vision goggles you always have that allowed that.
  • No alligators-in-the-sewer jokes? Missed chance for a killer Killer Croc reference.
  • Gordon gets visited by his future unit, Major Crimes
  • Requisite ‘Neighborhood News Praising Vigilantism’ footage
  • The trailer they released proved at least one of my predictions right, and Victor Zzasz will be a driving story this season
  • Gotham also cast Harvey Dent/Two-Face (though it’s unclear if Two-Face will actually show up)
Categories: Entertainment
Tags: Gotham, review