‘Gotham’ Weekly Review: “Don’t Mistake Bravery for Good Sense…”

By November 26, 2014

This week, “Gotham” has arrived at its mid-season finale, and with that little milestone comes probably the most exciting episode yet of the young series. From getting a look at Bruce Wayne first running across Gotham’s rooftops, to seeing Jim Gordon put in an even more difficult position than we’ve seen him already, all the way down to Alfred himself kicking ass and taking names, this episode seemed to have a lot that should interest both general series fans and Batman fans.

Surprisingly, they all collate into something that feels both coherent, while progressing the overall plot of the series to a satisfying intermission as we now wait for the show’s return early next year. “Gotham” has been a lot of things over the last ten episodes, and not all of them good. This episode, though, represents the best balance yet in giving service to the elements that will dominate Gotham’s future (i.e. Batman and his rogues gallery), while also doing a lot to create a show on TV that is genuinely good, Batman mythos or not.

To see where Alfred's characterization in "Gotham" largely comes from, read Batman: Earth One by writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank.

To see where Alfred’s characterization in “Gotham” largely comes from, read Batman: Earth One by writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank.

The basic crux of the episode consists of a group of highly trained assassins showing up at Wayne Manor, intent on killing the only living witness — besides Bruce — to the Wayne murders: Selina Kyle. As the assassins slink their way into the house under the ruse of a damaging car accident, Alfred realizes the deception rather quickly, and unleashes the first wave of British fury that we’ll see in other parts of the episode.

As Selina takes Bruce into the city to hide, Gordon and Bullock desperately try and track down the kids, while also staying committed to the plan to get corrupt Gotham business magnate, Lovecraft, to try and confess to putting a hit out on the Waynes. We also get a fair amount of service to the double agent subplot involving Oswald Cobblepot, but it looks like we’ll have to wait for those elements to come to a head when the series returns on the other side of 2015.

The single best element of this episode was Sean Pertwee as Alfred. Seeing him out of his general element, no doubt informed by the harder-edged characterization unique to Geoff Johns’ and Gary Frank’s Batman: Earth One, Alfred gets to rub elbows with characters on the show that you may not have expected him to ever run into, chiefly Harvey Bullock and Fish Mooney. Learning how Alfred conducted himself in defense of Bruce and Selina at Wayne Manor automatically seems to endear Bullock to Alfred, which makes for an odd — but satisfying — partnership.

The interactions between Alfred and Fish Mooney were equally as striking, tinged with an odd degree of sexual tension that was played in a way that should make fans hope that these two will cross paths again. Indeed, as soon as Fish learns that Bruce Wayne is with the missing Selina, she seems interested, but it’s only after Alfred leans in with charm that would put James Bond to shame that she decides to lift a finger of assistance.

For the parts of the episode taking place in the juvenile underworld of the city, David Mazouz’s Bruce Wayne and Camren Bicondova’s Selina Kyle do a very solid job of holding down their moments in the episode as Bruce gets some decidedly unexpected firsthand experience within his future stomping grounds. While in previous episodes its seemed like the writers are trying to push Bruce’s thought processes a little too close to Batman’s given his age, this episode does bring a childlike vulnerability to him for the first time, really, since the pilot. We’ve seen the playfulness, but this time he’s confronted with odds that are definitely too much for him. You can’t help but smile, though, when thinking, “he’s probably going to do something about that.”

Overall, the season hits the mid-point on a high note, and it should prove very interesting to see what will come down the pike given where we’ve left the characters — especially Gordon — upon the show’s return. 9/10

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation, Batman-On-Film.com, The Huffington Post, and Movies.com. He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.