This week’s episode of “Gotham” was an interesting look at some future major players in the affairs of the city, chief among them being the title character for this episode: “Harvey Dent.” Back when actor Nicholas D’Agosto was cast in the role, I penned an op-ed outwardly wondering if he was right for the part. Not because I don’t think he’s a good and capable actor, but because it seems the show itself is trying a little too hard to get to the characters in their natural states from the comics a little too quickly. After the credits started rolling, I still stand by that chief concern, though D’Agosto does seem like the right actor to play Dent, even if the way that the show itself has defined him seems a little off.
This week, Gordon and Bullock are on the trail of a bomber loose in the city after being broken out of prison by Russian mobsters trying to hit Carmine Falcone where it hurts. In the midst of this, Jim Gordon meets Harvey Dent for the first time, and the two conspire to get a story out in the underworld that the police have a key eyewitness to the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne in order to try and stir up some chatter, and hopefully make the real perpetrator talk. Throughout all of this, that eyewitness, Selina Kyle, has taken up temporary residence in Wayne Manor with Bruce and Alfred in order to both get her off the streets, and try and keep her safe. This leads to an important first meeting between the future Batman and Catwoman. Outside of these events, the Penguin is still moving a lot of strings behind the rivalry of Falcone and Fish Mooney, and Fish’s implanted operator in Falcone’s midst may be put in danger as a result.
Overall, this episode was pretty interesting. The writing and D’Agosto’s performance as Harvey Dent appropriately, though a little obviously, relies upon the idea that he may have some form of bipolar disorder, as he moves in one instance from calm and reserved to flagrantly angry, almost frothing at the mouth. It was creepy, though a little too on-the-nose. There’s also an instance where Harvey has a close-up, and only half of his face is deliberately lit, which was kind of fun. They also took the double-headed coin angle from The Dark Knight for Harvey, which seems as good a reason as any to put a coin in his hand before his face is bisected.
Tonally, this episode was far more consistent than a lot of other recent ones have been. While you can’t always be a grim and gritty drama while there’s a presence of children, the subplot involving Bruce and Selina was nicely closed off from the murder and mayhem happening on the streets of Gotham, and that was appreciated. Still, though, the elements of this series I continue to enjoy the most are the moments between Bruce and Alfred. We start to see some of the first fighting lessons that Bruce has undertaken at the hands of Alfred, but in this episode Selina provides some intuitive knowledge about what it takes to succeed on the city’s harsh streets: ruthlessness. A trait, as we know, Batman will be all too willing to exhibit.
While this episode’s plot wasn’t quite as enjoyable as last week’s, the last couple have shown a baseline of quality that we can hope the show will maintain going forward. As always, we’ll have to wait until next week to find out. 8/10
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