Review: 'Gotham' Episode 4

Review: 'Gotham' Episode 4


Season 1, Episode 4


Grade: B-

Another week goes by and here I sit, loyally tuning into Gotham and hoping beyond hope that it finally finds its footing. This week picks up right where last week’s cliffhanger left us, with Cobblepott being creepily charming in Gordon’s living room, to his severe displeasure. Cobblepott goes on to tell Gordon about the coming mob war, and a place called Arkham, which the episode takes it’s name from.

Arkham is the old asylum in Gotham City. Opened by Amadeus Arkham in the late 1800’s, Arkham Asylum has housed the city’s madmen until it was condemned, then later renovated and opened back up. Gotham plans to take this origin and combine it with the stories of the Arkham game series, walling off part of the city surrounding the asylum and building affordable housing, ‘Arkham City’, the mayor calls it, which Batfans will recognize as the name of Hugo Strange’s prison colony. It would be a masterful stroke to have Strange’s fingerprints behind this, but since they’ve already revealed that the affordable housing idea originated with the Waynes, I doubt that will happen.

Once again, Gordon finds himself at Wayne manor, consulting with Alfred and talking to Bruce about his parents. Look, I get it. They need to be sure and include Bruce in the main plots of Gotham otherwise what are we watching? Gordon isn’t enough to carry an entire show, we need interesting people with preset destinies and angry children testing the limits of their own bravery as well as the good cop in the bad town. I understand how it works. Again, though, I find myself wondering what traumatic head injury Gordon is going to suffer to make him incapable of recognizing that the boy he spent so much time around as a child is standing on a roof with him in fancy armored pajamas.

We get another appearance from Nygma, whose predestined future includes a plethora of question marks. His schtick has pretty much remained the same from the Pilot episode. Nygma comes in and gives Gordon and Bullock some sciencey information, but does it while being extremely pretentious and telling riddles over and over again. Not smart riddles, either, riddles on par with the one’s that Jim Carrey’s Riddler left, about matches. The routine got old really fast, and since his riddles are not amusing in the least, it’s hard to excuse his presence through comic relief.

The villain of the week this week was actually an interesting creation, and nothing like last week’s travesty of Balloonman. He is just a man called Gladwell who uses a retractable spear to kill high powers political officials. No tying them to balloons, no dressing like he walked out of Fun With Dick And Jane, just a simple, seemingly normal man with a twisted sense of fun, and those types make the best villains, so it’s a shame we won’t be seeing more of him now that he’s got a few extra holes.

Gotham was just picked up for a full season, with an additional 6 scripts being ordered atop the planned 16, bringing the season order to a full 22 episodes, so we are by no means done with this city. The best option for them going forward, I think, is to time-hop. It’s a cheap tactic employed, often times, to be lazy. In Gotham’s case, I think it would be the best possible thing for them to do. If they jump forward in time, even just by 6 years, then they can explore the true foundation of Batman, beyond his family’s murder. They can show us Bruce beginning his training and Gordon walking the long road to Commissioner. Batman’s villains can be close to doing their actual crimes and the person that is supposed to stop them won’t be a ten year old.

I’m sure it feels super repetitive to read my reviews week after week and constantly have me harp on the same things, but these are the inherent problems with a show like this. Doing a superhero show is good and fine so long as you show us the superhero. In this, the age of the hero, beyond any age we’ve seen before, where on 3 other channels we can find a show about Marvel Comics secret government agency, or a show about one of the greatest archer’s alive, or the fastest man on the planet, or a demon fighting Hellblazer, with our options soon including a blind attorney on Netflix, you need to show us the hero. I know what Gotham is trying to do, and it’s very cool, but at the same time I know someone who has never seen Batman before, and is now under the impression that he got the idea to become Batman from a guy who tied weather balloons to people. That is unacceptable.

Overall, this episode showed a lot of improvement, but there is still a hard road ahead. With the promise of Victor Zzasz on the horizon, who is one of Batman’s most grounded villains, let’s hope it keeps on this track.

Stuff And Things

  • – For someone whose picture was in every single promotional shot, we haven’t seen much of Poison Ivy at all
  • – They really need to push us forward in time. Bruce is doing things and making decisions that are too much for a ten year old, especially in regards to his family and their money
  • – Shame on you Gordon. Terrifying that poor secretary.
  • – Fish Mooney’s multiple ‘seduce me’ requests to the girls auditioning came off way less sexy and much more creepy, which I’m sure was the intention.
  • – Gordon needs to clean the skeletons out of his closet, especially in regards to Barbara. But this is an old trope, the grizzled detective can’t share enough about himself to make his lady happy. Gotham and Batman’s biggest similarity is their reliance on the most typical of television characters
  • – We saw a huge nod to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight tonight with Fish Mooney’s henchgirl audition, plus she hired Juno’s stunt double!
  • – Penguin ALMOST made it the whole episode without murdering anyone. Well, directly murdering.
  • – The multi-speech ending was supposed to build tension, I think, but there hasn’t been enough time for us to care about the mob war, or choose any terrible person to root for, but since nearly everyone watching Gotham is watching because Batman lives in it’s future, choosing a mobster isn’t something I’m inclined to want to do.

        Oh dear God, and Gordon is sharing case information with tiny Batman? NO, GOTHAM, NO!

Categories: Entertainment