Review: Gotham, Ep. 9 "Harvey Dent"

Review: Gotham, Ep. 9 "Harvey Dent"


Season 1, Episode 9

“Harvey Dent”

Rating: C+

Now, here is a character that Gotham should have gone with from the beginning. He has a long-standing history with the city of Gotham, and even after Batman shows his cowl, he serves on the side of good. It takes the collapse of the Falcone crime family in the courtroom to turn Harvey Dent into his gruesome-faced counterpart, Two-Face.

It seems like Gotham would have been a much better show if they hadn’t made it clear that it was a Batman origin story. An origin of the bat himself, an origin of each and every member of his rogues galleries, hell we may even get a pregnant Flying Grayson by the season’s end, they are so insistent on cramming origin stories into every nook and cranny. Tonight’s episode focuses on the origin of Gotham’s favorite white knight, Harvey Dent, as well as adding in the origin of Bruce and Selina’s friendship. Again, I wonder what head injury all of these people are going to suffer in order to not recognize that Batman was once the kid they all spent so much time with.

It’s not that the show is bad, because it’s really not. It’s a perfectly fine action procedural peppered with human drama. The actors don’t leave much to be desired, it’s very well cast, and even their worst episodes (I still haven’t forgiven you, Balloon Man) tend to keep the viewer hooked in until the end at least. So why can’t I get past all my initial misgivings?

It’s an easy answer. I love Batman. The main thing I love about Batman is the psychology involved. Especially the psychology in the villains. Batman is a story with a foundation firmly in mental illness. Bruce Wayne faces his parents murder not with tears and screaming (well, I’m sure those were there too) but with a steely promise to eradicate all crime. All crime. Then that ten year old boy devotes his entire life to becoming the embodiment of fear, uses his family fortune to build gadgetry to help him on his quest, and manages to (initially) accomplish his goal. He eradicates the crime in Gotham, the old crime families cease to exist under the watchful eye of Batman.

Then characters like The Joker learn he exists. They choose him as the target for their own mental illness. The Joker only exists because of Batman, he is the chaos to Batman’s order. Even outside of him though, you have the split-personalities of Two-Face, the OCD of Zsasz, the severe sickness of The Mad Hatter… for many of these characters, delving so far into their origin story and not just having a lab accident or some misplaced anger drive them over the edge into costumed crime takes away their threat. Penguin is probably the most sane of Batman’s villains, though this show has been trying to dismantle that notion at every turn, but now he’s almost a likeable, nice guy. They have to add in those scenes of him needlessly slaughtering an innocent person to make sure we don’t sympathize with him that much, we are so conditioned to love the put-upon underdog that had Penguin not up and stabbed some guy in the neck at random, we would have been inclined to think of him as the other side of the hero coin for Gotham, working in the shadows while Gordon works in the light, both of them trying to bring down the crime families of Gotham.

Harvey Dent should have been in this show from the beginning. There aren’t too many Batman villains who have their pre-villain shoes so firmly rooted in good as Harvey Dent does. As Gotham’s “White Knight” to Batman’s Dark one, Harvey worked tirelessly at the District Attorney’s office to bring down the mob, and paid for it with his sanity. Before all that, though, he was a lawyer with a good heart and a trick coin. It’s not awesome that they’ve chosen to bring him in so late in the season, but what’s that old phrase? Better late than never?

Selina and Bruce’s weird little sleep over is just that; weird. Here we have two children, both of whom are ten, and one of whom is definitely attracted to the other. They are mirroring one of the most loved and most enduring comic book couples in comic book history. Batman and Catwoman are lovers, and have been forever. Bruce and Selina are children, and I resent this show for putting the thought in my head of them as anything else. In this instance, I am truly envious of the non-comic fans who watch this show, though even if you’ve only seen Batman Returns or The Dark Knight Rises, that’s more than enough to instill the creep factor.

Gotham is finding it’s footing, slowly but surely, but the more they insist on winking at the audience with these little bits and various nods to the future, the less believable this entire thing becomes.

Stuff And Things

– Barbara left Jim because everywhere she looked she saw Zsasz. That’s a disturbing notion.

– “There’s plenty to eat in the kitchen, and Alfred would be happy to-” “No Alfred wouldn’t because this isn’t a bloody hotel!”

– “And you can drop the attitude, innit, you cheeky little minx.”

– The bombmaker plot was pretty forgettable, even though it did present a good argument. “My brother’s not a bad man, he’s sick. there’s a difference.” The bombmaker’s brother tells Gordon. That’s going to be a serious moral quandary for you in the future, Gordon.

Categories: Entertainment