This week’s episode of “Gotham” was a big improvement over last week’s for a couple of very specific reasons: it didn’t feel like it was indulging too much in some of the light camp that recent episodes have, it gave a possible but not explicit hint at a future member of Batman’s rogues gallery, and it gave perhaps the single best Bruce Wayne character moment of the entire series thus far.
The main stretch of the plot concerns a grisly murder that has some very strange circumstances surrounding it, not least of which is the victim being covered in typical office printer toner and having a severed thumb lodged in his mouth. Gordon and Bullock take on an investigation that leads them to the company of a man named Richard Sionis, a corporate boss that makes a few too many references to his love of combat and comes on a little too strong about his being impressed with the fact that Gordon has killed people in his line of work. While the outcome of the investigation is, ultimately, not too surprising, the true steal of this element of the episode is the continuing development of respect and trust between Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock. While it’s tempting to say that a rapport between these two might be coming a little too quickly, it’s hard to argue with the result of the drama. It’s a great partnership, with both characters successfully counterbalancing each other.
If the name “Sionis” rings a bell, that’s because a comic book character known as Roman Sionis is also known as Batman villain Black Mask (who played a big part in last year’s Arkham Origins video game). Whether or not Richard Sionis eventually becomes Black Mask himself is unclear, but this Bat-fan hopes that Richard ends up being Roman’s father, since it seems like this iteration of the Batman world could use some villains that are a bit closer in age to Batman himself.
More development is also made on the front of Fish Mooney’s attempts to infiltrate Carmine Falcone’s organization with her handpicked “weapon,” a woman who is growing close to the crime boss. Still, unbeknownst to her, Falcone has an ace in the hole: Oswald Cobblepot is working both the lieutenants in Falcone’s organization (including Fish) as well as providing intel on the happenings going on in Sal Maroni’s camp. For the most part, the momentum going on with Fish continues to be interesting, though it’s hard to tell where it’s progressing. Fish’s goals seem like they can be stretched out over several years, but the show continues to move at a pace that would seem to indicate progress being made sometime this season. We also got to see a little more one-on-one time between Oswald and his mother, which is just as creepy as you might expect if you’ve been following what Mrs. Cobblepot’s character is like.
Still, though, the most satisfying part of the episode for this Bat-fan was seeing the very first physical conflict that Bruce Wayne has found himself in, with a boy named “Tommy” (who may or may not be Tommy Elliot, aka the future Batman villain Hush). Not only is Alfred awesomely supportive in silencing the mouth of any snot-nosed punk that would dare to make light of the murder of Bruce’s parents, but Bruce himself starts to make some strong and logical conclusions about force: how its sometimes necessary, and how he kind of likes it, too.
All of these elements combined into an episode that I was very pleased with, which is a great return to form after being so disappointed with the previous episode. When “Gotham” focuses on the strength of its legacy characters, its at its strongest, and hopefully this is a trend that will continue though the remainder of this first season. 8.5/10
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