“Gotham” has returned from its mid-season break, and with it comes a relative return to normality from a perspective of episode quality. This episode, “Rogues’ Gallery,” isn’t the best that we’ve seen from the first season, but its also far from the worst. Of course, the primary plot of the episode follows Jim Gordon’s demotion to Arkham Asylum security following the events of the mid-season finale, and a string of horrific assaults on the inmates makes him the focus of the asylum director’s ire, but it also allows Gordon to do some actual police work as opposed to getting things thrown at him by crazy people.
Over the course of the episode, he meets an asylum resident doctor, Leslie Thompkins (a name which should be very familiar to longtime Batman fans). While Thompkins will likely prove to be a more integral character to the show as time goes on (especially if her association with Bruce Wayne in the comics gets represented), she mostly serves as a foil for Gordon and an ally to his investigation. Donal Logue’s Harvey Bullock also makes a petty awesome appearance in this episode, actually saving the day to a degree for Gordon, and allowing him to do the work he needs to do in order to complete his investigation.
The major subplots for the episode largely concern the continuing power struggles in the Falcone and Maroni crime families. In Fish’s camp, her right hand man is given a proposition to betray his boss and join an old friend on the other side. Within Maroni’s camp, Penguin gets a little too big for his britches, and curries the wrath of the police from a surprising source. While not quite as engaging as some of the other previous plots we’ve seen with the families, its still interesting, and its pretty plain to see that its certainly building to something bigger. We also got a brief glimpse of what Selina and Ivy are up to, which throws a wrench into the relationship between Jim and Barbara, oddly enough. Honestly, that felt like something I could’ve done without, but hopefully this thread will lead us in an interesting direction. I really want to like Montoya, and its nice to see that we’re getting to a place where we can legitimately get behind her.
Although its generally a minor quibble, I was a little bothered by the somewhat cartoonish display of craziness found in the inmates of Arkham. Yeah, this is a show taking place in the world of Batman, where realistic depictions of mental illness can generally and politely be considered “few and far between,” but in the 21st century it would be nice to see a slightly more realistic depiction of mental illness that didn’t always include yelling and headbanging, especially on television. It didn’t derail the episode by any means, but it would be nice to see a little forward momentum in that department.
Overall, this week’s episode of “Gotham” was a welcome return that spells interesting things for the season going forward. Hopefully, this will continue to evolve and become a solid take on the early days of Gotham City.
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