The Best and Worst of Gotham: Episode 5

Best: Bruce finally tells Alfred to do his damn job

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Alfred is a butler. His job is to do what Bruce wants, and maybe occasionally give him some solid advice that helps Lil’ Wayne see things in a new light.

Instead of doing this, Alfred spends his time demeaning Lil’ Wayne, talking down to him, trying to stop him from looking into his parents murders, and getting super angry whenever Bruce refused to eat his food. “But I made these eggs for YOU!”

Despite all of this, Lil’ Wayne remained steadfastly polite to Alfred, and did his best to put up with the angry old man screaming at him all the time. Until Alfred threatened to throw all of Bruce’s hard work into the fire.

That’s right, Bruce, who has painstakingly gone through his parents entire company. discovering possible fraud, corruption, and scandal, sits there while his butler tells him he wants to throw it all in the fire.

It is at this point Bruce tells Alfred to shut the fuck up, and do as he’s told and go be a god damn butler. Alfred has the decency to look a bit ashamed of himself, before sitting down and finally helping Bruce look through files, instead of being a dick.

I still think Michael Caine is going to burst out of a closet one day, revealing how an impostor Alfred had tied him up for years in the basement, and that’s how Lil’ Wayne finds the Batcave in Gotham.

Best: Batman lore being introduced into Gotham

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Obviously in a show about the Batman world that doesn’t involve Batman, you’re going to run into some problems in how maintain fan interest, not just from hardcore Batman fans, but from casual viewers who just want to see a good show.

So while you will always need at least a solid base show to keep all viewers coming back week after week, introducing Batman lore can help cover up some of those trouble spots when your show is struggling to find its rhythm, and at least keep the Batman fans appeased.

Case in point, the introduction of Venom/Viper in episode five. While Viper was made purely for the TV show, it is introduced as the pre-cursor to “Venom”, which is very much a huge part of Batman lore, as this is the hardcore steroid based drug that would go on to power Bane, who would eventually break Batman’s back in the Knightfall comic book story arc.

This allows Batman fans to giggle, point to their friends and go “That shit is like Venom!!” which makes them happy, and allows them to ignore the fact there is not one likable good guy in this entire TV series aside from Lil’ Wayne.

Worst: Kitten Girl needs to stop trying so hard

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Broad daylight and you’re jumping down onto the top of cars, across the street from the cops, then pick pocketing a person right in front of said cops? Get out of here.

Worst: Further proof Nigma is getting a bum deal

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That’s Gordon and Harvey, getting lunch, joking around, acting like the two bestest friends in the world. Harvey has done nothing but make Jim’s life harder, not only by trying to stop him from being a good cop, but also by actually telling him to murder Penguin, which has led to some huge problems for him.

Yet Gordon can still have lunch with ol’ Harvey and joke around, while anytime they see Enigma that basically tell him to go kill himself. Bullshit!

Best: ATM robberies

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Dude running down the street with an ATM made me laugh. The actor sold it perfectly, too. Look at that face! He’s so proud of himself.

Worst: Fish Mooney’s talking style

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I talked in the past about how Jim Gordon would clip his words in what looked like an homage to 1920’s mobsters, but that one is very subtle, and you have to be paying attention to want to get annoyed by it.

Jade Pinkett-Smith on the other hand has a much more in your face style of talking that I have officially had enough of. She basically talks like Phoebe from Friends when she did her fake posh accent (Go to the 29 second mark):

That’s all I hear anytime she talks. I want it to stop.

Worst: Jazz riffs now??

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Last week we avoided all rock riffs and it was amazing. This week, during a scene in which the cops are trying to hunt down a man who has unleashed a drug into the homeless population that is causing them to gain super strength and get extremely violent, they had a nice jazz riff going on.

Just….come on guys. Work with me here.

Best: Cool side effects from Viper

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I don’t need the science behind explaining things to make 100% sense, just as long as they give an effort. That’s all I ask.

They did this well in episode five by explaining how Viper works. Viper gives the user super strength by burning off calcium (hence their need to drink milk, ALL OF THE MILK) and eventually the people collapse into a little rubble of flesh.

Best: Nigma solves another case

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Just in case you were wondering, Nigma not only figured out the drug and its side effects in like under a day, he also pointed Harvey and Gordon in the direction of the company behind it.

YOU’RE WELCOME, GOTHAM. Harvey and Gordon probably shit in his back pack as a thank you.

Best: Penguin moving on up

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Penguin grinding his way to the top is fun to watch and is one of the best parts of the show. Hiding behind his bumbling appearance, when deep down he will murder the shit out of you when he gets the chance, makes him a fascinating character to watch. On top of that, his weird relationship with Gordon continues, which again, I am very interested to see where it’s headed.

Worst: The writing, oh the writing

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In one scene Harvey has been looking through evidence boxes, searching for info on the guy behind the Viper drug. Gordon picks up a box with a picture conveniently sitting on top and goes “Looks like a friend….judging by the books…philosophy professor. Let’s check it out.”

Can we at least pretend once in a while that some real detective work goes on? Aside from when Lil’ Wayne does it?

Best: Gordon finally remembers to use his gun!

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Gordon’s inability to use his gun has gotten himself into quite the pickle many a time. In this episode, he finally shows that he does indeed know how to use a gun!

Worst: This is probably the one time he shouldn’t have used his gun

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That’s the guy Gordon shot. Holding his partner up against the wall. Gordon shot him while he was holding his partner right in front of him. If that bullet goes through crazy old man it hits Harvey right in the balls.

Best: Lil’ Wayne stirring shit up

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Because Gotham is run by a bunch of what I assume are countless generations of inbred families, Bruce Wayne’s short foray into the corruption of his parents company is blowing the bad guys away. The board of directors is honestly shocked that someone finally figured out they might be corrupt and they have no idea what to do. I kind of love it. Tiny Batman is fucking their shit up and they are scrambling to find a way to respond.

“Guys, this kid asked more questions in one night than the entire Gotham PD has in the last 10 years! WHAT DO WE DO??”

Worst: Gordon really shouldn’t use his gun

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Ok, NOW I am starting to see why Gordon is better off not shooting anything.

So to recap, Viper acts like an airborne disease, which not only makes whomever breathes it in turn into a super strong homicidal freak, it also kills them a few hours later.

Gordon, using every single part of his brain, decides the best course of action to stop a man from pumping this into an enclosed ballroom, is to shoot a canister of Viper on top of the roof. Where the drug could:

A) float into the atmosphere and descend upon even more people.

B) Hit Gordon and kill him as well.

The only person who should be making a call on this is Nigma. (A problem they could have easily solved by having Nigma explain that once exposed to oxygen the drug lasts only a couple of seconds. See, the science doesn’t need to be concrete, just make a small effort to cover up scenes like these.)

Worst: Gordon’s plan on how to avoid breathing in the gas

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Ah yes, polyester, always a solid gas mask.

Best: The corruption in Wayne Corp angle

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Harvey and Gordon got tipped off to check out Warehouse 39 (from the guy who released the Viper drug) and they found nothing inside of it. Instead we found Mathis, the lady who described herself as middle management (thus proving that middle management is always evil) watching the cops and deciding to let them live.

This is awesome because I want to know how corrupt Wayne Corp is. I want to know if Bruce’s parents knew about how deep it went. I also want to see Lil’ Wayne take them down. This long story arc is a very good one.

Best: Fish Mooney’s creepy plan

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That woman Fish Mooney brought on board to trap Falcone somehow went from me thinking “simple seduction” to “get her to dress and act like Falcone’s dead mother” which is both gross and intriguing. What’s the end game here? Is seduction still involved? Or is it purely putting her in a position where Falcome looks on her as a motherly figure and ends up trusting her? Because if Falcone ends up banging her, that’s super gross.

Either way, well played Fish Mooney.

The Best and Worst of Gotham: Episode 4

Best: No rock riffs the entire episode. No, seriously, I’m not joking, stop laughing

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As I’ve said in the past, Gotham sometimes struggles with the kind of atmosphere it wants to convey. Is it a dark gritty Batman that Christopher Nolan would slightly nod his head in approval to from the shadows, or is it a zany comical adventure in which Jim Carey prances around with his mouth as wide as possible while Arnold Schwarzenegger struggles to act? Nothing showcased these differing philosophies more than when Gordon and Harvey would yell at each other about who ate Harvey’s sandwich and then the scene would rock riff into Juvy Cat Girl having just ripped out a man’s eyes.

Well tonight’s episode marked the first time they didn’t use any rock riffs to jump from scene to scene, which was good, because this was the darkest episode yet. They used heavy, foreboding, bass heavy music to help reinforce the atmosphere the episode was portraying.  I’ve always felt music plays a huge part of setting the tone and when done right can add a ton to a movie or show, and tonight was the first episode they got it right. When a man is about to be lit on fire in a barrel, it helps that creepy music is playing, instead of a song that vaguely sounds like something AC/DC would play.

Worst: Jim Gordon randomly drooling

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So, the episode starts off with Penguin showing up in Gotham, despite Gordon’s previous demands that he never come back to the city. Gordon, obviously upset by this, takes Penguin outside, yells at him, Penguin tells him to kill him if he wants him gone because he can’t leave his only home, and Gordon walks away into the scene above, knowing he won’t kill him.

Then he drools. Just having a little bit of a drool. I checked the previous scenes. I assumed they are trying to convey he was “spitting mad” but there was nothing there earlier. He just randomly had a disgusting big line of drool on his face. Kind of gross.

Best: Gordon and Penguin relationship

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Some of the most enjoyable duos to watch are those who are seemingly on opposite sides of a war, yet are bound together by some sort of philosophy, acts of destiny, or they once shared a Subway sandwich. Gordon and Penguin are very fun to watch because we don’t know where it’s going, and Gordon, a straight laced kind of guy, is having to deal with Penguin, a really really evil guy, yet both seem to want the best for Gotham. But does Penguin want what’s best for Gotham because it’s best for him? Does Penguin really respect Gordon? Is Gordon drooling as I type this?

Regardless, their interactions are intriguing because we don’t know what’s going on, yet we want to know more. As Penguin rises to power and becomes more comfortable executing his evil plans, it will be interesting to see where this relationship goes.

Worst: Barbara finding Penguin charming

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Penguin looks like he’s about to start bleeding out of his mouth and eyes at any moment. Nobody should be smiling and laughing at his charm, come on Barbara, get your shit together!

Worst: Assassins valuing being cool over being effective

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I”m a big fan of unique weapons and ways to kill people being used in movies. Hell, I’m still upset to this day that Scorpion didn’t fucking kill Johnny Cage in the Mortal Kombat movie with his “Get over here!” move. So while I appreciate the assassin in Gotham’s episode having a unique knife weapon, sometimes you should probably just carry a gun as a back up. You know, in case you run into the thousands of other people who have guns in Gotham. I know you want to be known as that cool stabby guy, but remember Home Alone? The Wet Bandits wanted to have a signature as well, and it didn’t work out too well for them.

Also, maybe have a weapon you don’t have to ask people to wait a second while you assemble it.

“Hold up, give me a minute, I need to put my knife together. Hand me that instruction sheet, will you?”

Worst: People in Gotham are bad in bed

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So today’s “Lesbian Ratings Grab” (this appears to be a thing in Gotham now) happened twice in this episode. Both times Mooney was looking to hire a girl who could not only sing, but could also seduce a man. Mooney of course demanded the girls show their seduction style on her. The end goal seems to be that Mooney is trying to find a girl who can worm her way into Falcone’s life (as his previous love interest was taken out by Mooney) and eventually take him out in her role as secret agent lady. This is actually a solid bad ass move on her part.

So back to the seduction audition. I assumed a sultry walk and maybe sucking on her pinky, kissing up her neck, etc, etc. The usual stuff we see in these scenes. Nope.

Girl A, pictured above, gave a crappy massage and smiled at Mooney. Girl B gave her a kiss and then drank the rest of Mooney’s drink.

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Both are terrible ways to seduce a man. If their plan is to rub Falcone’s shoulders while smiling awkwardly at him, or give him a quick kiss then drink his beers, then this plan might not work out so well for Mooney.

Worst: Don’t agree to go to an empty warehouse with a known mobster

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Lethal Weapon taught me never stand on plastic when talking to a bad person. A million other movies taught me not to meet up with a mobster in dark, empty warehouse devoid of witnesses. Or at the very least, wear some appropriate clothing. Wear some work boots and some pants at the very least.

Worst: Jim Gordon is awful with guns

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First off, continuity error, get your shit together Gotham production team. They never show Gordon’s gun dropping, they just randomly throw in a gun dropping noise during a transition scene, then they show the bad guy picking up a gun where clearly there was no gun before. Nitpicking? Of course, but damn it, there was no gun there!

Secondly, Jim Gordon is fucking awful with guns. In the Balloon Man episode, Gordon either dropped his gun randomly or forgets how a gun works, and decides that jumping on a helium balloon is a far better choice then simply shooting it.

In tonight’s episode, Gordon loses his gun yet again, and when they mayor asks Gordon why he doesn’t just shoot the bad guy, Gordon has to explain he lost his gun, but says it in a way that you know he’s lost his gun plenty of times in the past, and he’s not about to start not losing his gun anytime soon.

Also, if Gordon’s gun was on the ground in that scene, props to Gordon for throwing a binder at the bad guy instead of picking up his gun.

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“Who throws a binder, honestly?”

Best: Penguin is turning into an awesome villain

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As I’m quickly realizing, Gotham is inhabited by many many many stupid people. A dog with above average intelligence could probably take over Gotham if it was motivated enough with doggy treats. That being said, it’s nice to see Penguin morphing into a smart evil bad guy sooner rather than later. It’s much more enjoyable seeing Penguin Kesyer Soze people with his sniveling routine instead of just actually being a sniveling guy. Tonight’s episode showcased Penguin using people to rise up the ranks in the Maroni family, ruthlessly killing off the people who got him there, and walking away with a ton of money. Bravo sir, bravo.

Also he poisoned people with cannoli. This was the most bad ass move of the series so far.

Best: Alfred wasn’t a dick this episode!

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Yay! Not once did he call Bruce Wayne a little shit or try and crush his aspirations of trying to do something with his life!

Worst: Barbara was a dick in this episode

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Barbara, tired of Gordon keeping secrets about his job, demanded he tell her everything, or else they were done. She gave him this ultimatum in the police station. Where he works. Where it would probably be frowned upon if he decided to open up about all of his police secrets with her. Relax Barbara.

Worst: To be fair, Gordon was kind of a dick too

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The minute I start to defend Gordon, in that it would be lunacy for him to have to be forced to talk about his police information, he turns around and tells Young Batman everything. He won’t tell Barbara a thing, but a 12 year old kid? That’s the ticket!

Again, I am convinced Gordon already thinks Wayne is Batman, because he is always over at his house, discussing cases, and telling him shit he won’t even tell his own fiance.

Best: Edward Nigma is finally realizing he works with a bunch of ass clowns

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I’ve long maintained the Edward Nigma is the hardest working man in Gotham, on top of being the smartest. Not only is he the only one on Gotham PD who can come up with some god damn answers, but he does so putting up with two co-workers who clearly hate him FOR NO REASON. Look at Jim Gordon’s latest look of “I want you to fucking die” directed at Nigma:

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Just dripping with disdain. Again, you would think Jim would appreciate THE ONE GUY in Gotham who knows how to do his job properly.

In this episode, at least, Nigma treated Harvey and Gordon like the dumb asses they are by clearly laying out the fact the assassin was working both sides, delivering this information with a healthy dose of snark and sarcasm. And what does Nigma get for his troubles? Not even a goodbye. They just take the case Nigma broke wide open and waddle away into what I assume was another sandwich montage.

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I enjoy the Penguin, but man alive, when Nigma finally has enough of his dip shit co-workers and turns into the Riddler, I am going to be on Team Riddler so hard, cheering him on every step of the way.

Final Thoughts:

Most of my “worsts” this week was simply tongue in cheek nit-picking, more of me just poking fun at characters. Fundamentally, this was by far the strongest episode of Gotham yet. It didn’t dick around with rock riffs, the low quality porn dialogue was kept to a minimum, and it was the first time I thought to myself this show might be turning it around.

I will be extremely interested in next week, to see if they continue this momentum, or if it was just a random luck of the draw, but if they keep going in this direction then Gotham will be much better for it. The episode was focused, it kept the overall plot going while at the same time providing an interesting one off episode storyline, and it had solid character development in Penguin and Mooney. Best yet, it was a dark episode that stayed dark, and didn’t try and insert random 90’s sitcom comedy montages or interactions between Gordon and Harvey. This is the Gotham that makes it to season 2.

Things I am thankful for

With Thanksgiving coming up, I felt like what better time than now to start a post about being thankful? IT WORKS SO PERFECTLY.

As many of you know, I still continue my pursuit of making writing a full time job for myself. There have been many ups and downs along that path, but today I want to focus on the good stuff.

1) I am thankful for the creative people I work with when undertaking random fun projects. Whether it is getting Bowman to spend 3 days in a row working on an NHL Royal Rumble, or working on a new Canucks comic with Chris, or even something as simple as planning recaps for a TV show with people from Twitter, it’s been a huge rush to work with other creative people.

There is just a certain feeling you get when you work with people who have that passion and drive in their eyes as they flex their creative muscle that is just intoxicating to be around. Nothing is as exciting for me as when I am working with people or working around people in this environment.

Johnny Canuck, the guy who does the Canucks intros, even just watching him talk about his process or work through his process for making his videos, is super interesting to me and reminds me there is a light at the end of my office job tunnel.

2) I am thankful I have been lucky enough to write for The Province and Canucks.com . If you had told me years ago I would have been published under both of these companies, I would have laughed at you and told you to get the hell out of my house. My writing aspirations could end tomorrow and I would still be very proud I was able to write for them. Yes, at times I feel burnt out, frustrated at the job environment, and want to stab things, but I always remind myself that it’s still pretty awesome I got to experience some of the things I have. Writing in press row? That’s still god damn cool to me. Eddie Lack trash talking my fantasy football team and Roberto Luongo asking me for photoshops? Amazing.

3) I am thankful for the people I talk to on Twitter. It might seem like I am sucking up, but I am not. I truly enjoy interacting with everyone, and without you guys, I wouldn’t even be in the position I am in. Your support whether it be a kind word about my articles, or simply following me on Twitter so big companies take more notice of me due to my follower count, has been a huge help to me. The fact you guys take time out of your day to read my stuff and sometimes actively bug me to do more, is amazing, and at times is one of the few things that can bring me out of a writing depression. Even just talking about random crappy TV shows with people on Twitter is fun for me and I am glad you guys chat with me on hockey, life, and donuts.

4) You meet some grade A assholes in the writing business and you meet some really nice people in the business. I cannot express how thankful I am to the people who have treated me nicely in this business. Coming in as a rookie and being unsure of myself, people in the business who have taken the time to encourage me and treat me like a human being, that has meant more than you will ever know. It has also taught me to treat anyone I meet in the business just starting out the same way, because I know how valuable that is to people who need a helping hand.

To the people who were assholes to me, don’t worry, you’re on a list.

5) I am also thankful to the people who took a chance on this untested blogger, or fought on my behalf, to give me a chance to write for their platforms. Canucks Army, Nucks Misconduct, Canucks.com, The Province, Vancity Buzz, I appreciate the chances you’ve given me.

It makes me work for twice as hard for you guys, and often times for no money, because I want to prove that your faith in me was correct. Thanks for having my back!

6) I am thankful to my LOBNHL brothers. It still amazes me the friendships that arose out of a video game, and I am more proud of the LOB Brotherhood than most things I’ve been a part of. You guys have been a huge shoulder to lean on when I’ve needed it, and it’s awesome knowing you’ll always have my back. Unless it’s a LOB Up. Then I know you might plow me into the boards.

7) I am also thankful to B4-4, as they created the best song of all time. Thank you guys. May your tips stay frosted, and your puka shells stay puka’d

8) I am thankful for my BOOOOOM hockey team, which is the best group of guys I’ve ever played with. I look forward to locker room beers ever year with you guys. Room temp. Always room temp.

There are probably a ton more people I am thankful for, but that would take too long, so I will save it for next year’s list. I just wanted to take some time out and appreciate some of the the good things in my life and thank some people who helped make it happen.

The Best and Worst of Gotham: Episode 3

Worst: I get to mention rock riffs every episode

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AND I DON’T CARE HOW MANY TIMES I HAVE TO DO IT UNTIL THEY END. Tonight’s worst rock riff was in a sewer scene when a CSI like riff kicked in, and I was almost positive “Whooooooooooooooo are we, who who, who who” was going to start up at any moment. I was one Ted Danson away from drop kicking my TV (though to be fair, if Grissom had shown up, I would have lost my shit. Grissom would have solved every crime in Gotham City in a week flat AND would have become best friends with Ed Nigma, after recognizing him for the genius that he is.)

Worst: The kids continue to be smarter than the adults

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It becomes pretty clear as the show moves on that the adults in Gotham City are not the brightest group of people ever assembled. In tonight’s episode, Future Cat Woman is in a police station and idles up to Harvey (Jim’s partner) and stands there for a minute until Harvey realizes his personal space has been invaded by creepy Pfeifer look a like, and tells her to back the eff off. As soon as she leaves, he realizes his pen is missing, but thinks nothing of the fact a cat burglar was standing beside him a moment ago.

Teen Kitty then goes ahead and picks the lock of her handcuffs and bamboozles Gordon, who went into a sewer after locking her up.

At this rate, Penguin is going to run Gotham City in about a month.

Best: Penguin feels murder is the solution to everything

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Penguin is really growing on me, and I can’t quite explain it. I think it’s because his logic is so random that I can’t wait to see what happens next. On one hand, he is scrounging together enough money to buy a hot dog, the next minute he is stabbing someone to death because he thinks he needs their shoes to get a job working in a restaurant. The fact that Penguin doesn’t bother trying to buy shoes, but instead thinks “Killing is probably easier here” is amusing to me, and kind of fits with him being an insane bad guy.

Best: Penguin popping collars

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Double poppin’ Penguin means business.

Best: Fish Mooney finally does something bad ass

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The last couple of weeks I have complained that Fish Mooney relies on emotional outbursts and grand gestures far too often. She’s either beating someone to death with an old couch she had up in her attic, or she’s throwing a tantrum in her own club.

Well credit where credit is due, this week Fish Mooney not only killed off her lover from last week that got beat up by Falcone, but she also made sure Falcone’s latest love interest had an “accident” and took her out as well. So not only does she take out a weak link that was used against her, she takes out Falcone’s mistress in revenge. That my friends, is bad ass.

To top it off, Falcone even did the Larry David stare down technique as he tried to  see if he could break Mooney, but she didn’t budge an inch.

Worst: Alfred is officially a dick

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Alfred’s first scene in this episode starts with Mini-Batman stating “I don’t want to” before Alfred starts fencing him with a cane. Mini B defends himself as they race around the room, pausing every once in a while for Bruce to once again ask Alfred to stop, only for Alfred to fight even harder. This finally ends when Bruce gets so angry that he fights back violently until Alfred has to give up.

Alfred’s moral of the story? Violence is the answer.

On top of this, Alfred finds out Bruce has been looking over the case file of his parents murder. Alfred demands to know why and Bruce says he’s looking for clues. Alfred grills poor Bruce and, and I quote:

Alfred: What, so you’re a detective now are you?

Bruce: If I find a clue I am!

Alfred: Have you found a clue?

Bruce: No…

*eternal sadness*

Alfred’s Moral of the Story: Never apply yourself.

In yet another scene, Alfred gets his feelings hurt when he finds out Bruce hasn’t been eating the meals he’s been preparing for him. Alfred then turns into distraught house butler mode and begins teaching Young Bats in the ways of passive aggressive living.

*Alfred walks in to see Bruce reading the paper in front of an uneaten meal*

Alfred: Right. So no breakfast then? And no dinner last night? What’s the new program, trying to see how long you can go without eating? If that’s the case, I should save myself the trouble of making….it….

At this point I am convinced Bruce becomes Batman if only because it means he can get away from Alfred for a few precious hours.

Worst: Balloon Man was a terrible bad guy

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Last week we had two awesome quirky bad guys full of character, kidnapping children while remaining ever so perky. This week we had a guy tying giant balloons to people and letting them float away to their deaths.

See, Gotham is still fighting with what it wants to be. Sometimes it’s super dark (at one point tonight the cops bring out snow shovels to clean up some guts off the sidewalk), at other times it decides to go to Mr. Freeze levels of cheese. So it’s bouncing between us not taking it seriously, and then it wanting us to take it very seriously, which is confusing.

For example, we are supposed to believe that some dude is hiding giant helium balloons and is walking around outside and nobody is noticing this? Sure, maybe not before the first death, but if you hear on TV that some dude is tying people to giant balloons and sending them to their deaths, you would think people might be on edge when seeing a guy walk down the street with a giant balloon floating above him.

On top of that, they handle the balloons like they are nuclear missiles. They eventually narrow down the fact four giant balloons were stolen in Gotham, and that the killer has two left. They then get super worried because that means there are “two more out there.”

They are giant balloons. How hard are they to find? How much damage can they do?

Worst: The adults are really really stupid

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See Balloon Man? He gets hooked up to his own death trap. Oh the irony. So he has a couple of options. One, grab the winch RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM, and stop the balloon from flying away. Two, look about stupidly and wait for the balloon to take him into the sky. He chooses option two.

Worst: No, seriously, really  really stupid.

That is the level of police investigation we are dealing with here folks. Two cops, just absolutely blown away by the fact that balloons eventually fall from the sky. And not even kind of blown away, no, they shared glances of pure fucking amazement at the fact a balloon doesn’t just float into space and into the sun. Maybe if they weren’t such dicks to Ed Nigma, he could have helped them solves this case hours ago, due to the simple fact he knows how balloons, gravity and helium work.

This is just another example of the show not really choosing a path, and kind of giving us some cheese, then immediately following it up with something really dark. Seriously, they had shovels to clean up the guts, I wasn’t kidding.

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Worst: Why not just shoot the balloon?

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It’s just, he still had his gun. I re-watched the clip many a time and he didn’t appear to drop his gun. But for some reason Gordon felt the need to jump on Balloon Man instead of trying to just shoot the balloon down. Then he calls for his partner to shoot the balloon, only to have Harvey scream at him to just jump.

Really really dumb adults.

Best: Set the theme of vigilante justice

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Again, subtly is not Gotham’s strong suit, but at least it set the tone for Gotham City getting behind a vigilante fighting on behalf of justice in a corrupt city, while at the same time, having Jim Gordon struggle with the whole vigilante idea. It’s neat to see him view a vigilante as a symbol of him failing his job, when we all know how his future with Batman turns out.

Of course, Gotham wants you to REALLY get it, so they have a scene where Bruce is watching the news unfold and remarks how a vigilante who kills is just another word for a criminal, so yeah, in case you didn’t remember, Bruce Wayne turns into Batman eventually.

I’d also like to point out that the lady in the scene asks for the Balloon Man vigilante to murder her landlord, so part of me wonders if Gotham City as a whole is the problem, not just the criminals. “High rent? Fucking kill that guy already!”

Worst: Random lesbian angle confuses me

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Apparently Jim’s girlfriend/fiance/whatever was dating the woman from the Major Crimes Unit, and she hates Jim because she wants Jim’s girl back and….I just don’t care. I have no interest in this back story, so I am wondering if they are taking it somewhere beyond “we had two women kiss on TV, look at us!” levels of storytelling. As it stands now, they are just setting up some tones of distrust between Jim and his lady friend (I’ll remember her name one day) which I am sure they will deepen later and, yeah, see, I’m already getting bored again.

Worst: Ben McKenzie’s “Gordon Voice”

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Ben has two modes of talking on this show. When he’s relaxed and at home, he talks like Ryan from the OC. When he’s talking to criminals and partners he hates, he purses his lips a lot, and talks with a nasal twang to his voice. He basically sounds like one of those old school gangsters who would go “We hid the body, see” but without the “see” part. It drives me nuts.

Final Thoughts:

This recap probably comes across as more negative than I actually intend it to be, but it did feel like the show dropped off from what it started to do last week. Next week looks like the gang wars escalate (a storyline I enjoy) and Penguin finally comes back to Gotham, showing up on Gordon’s doorstep at the end of this episode. That should hopefully provide for some interesting plot developments.

I am starting to realize that the crime of the day plays a huge part of my enjoyment on the show. Last weeks evil duo made that episode work for me, but this weeks Balloon Man fell flat for me. I did enjoy the storyline continuity of Balloon Man’s motives (he saw the Mayor try and basically shove the orphaned kids into a jail last episode, so he took matters into his own hands this episode), but the way he took people out was too over the top.

Add in more cheesy dialogue and acting than usual this episode (they had a montage where Harvey was doing a bunch of stuff to find a lead, and at one point he grabs a gyro and a confused Gordon asks what he’s up to, and he responds “I was just hungry.” I actually had to pause the show at this point so I could stare at the wall in disgust for a few moments.) and it wasn’t my favorite of the three episodes so far, that’s for sure.

Anyways, hopefully you’re enjoying reading these and I will see you back here next week!

Best and Worst of Gotham: Episode Two

Best: Pacing of the show finally slowed down cat2

In the first episode, as recapped here , the show took off at a break neck speed and never slowed down. It was annoying to watch as Gotham basically threw a bunch of names in our faces and kept quickly setting up themes for the show that will obviously be in play all season.

“OH HEY THERE, THIS IS POISON IVY, THAT’S PENGUIN, THAT’S RIDDLER, GORDON IS A STRAIGHT SHOOTER, GOTHAM IS CORRUPT, HEY LOOK, CAT WOMAN, POLICE ARE CORRUPT, GOTHAM IS CORRUPT, MY FEET SMELL LIKE PEAS! GOTHAM!”

Again, I understand in your pilot episode you kind of want to show people what they can look forward to, but they didn’t pull it off in a graceful way.

Episode two felt much more like a normal episode of TV would feel like. They had a crime to solve, they still had the overarching “Batman’s parents are dead” crime going on, and there was some plot development between the crime bosses. This was much better.

Worst: Alfred is kind of a dick

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I’m pretty sure the show wants Alfred to come off as someone in a situation he isn’t prepared for, and is struggling to come to terms with it. Young Bruce’s parents were murdered and here Alfred finds himself having to play a much larger role in the young man’s life.

While I understand that, it still feels weird to see Alfred scream-hugging Bruce Wayne for burning himself. It’s also weird for Alfred to get super mad at Bruce for “creeping up” on him and berating him for how rude he is being. I kept waiting for Michael Caine to run through the door, stab fake Alfred, then make a funny quip to Bruce before saying something very sage that makes Bruce realize that burning himself is a stupid idea. Then he’d make tea.

Best: New Bad Guys Were Interesting!

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The episode centered around two people kidnapping homeless children to deliver to someone known as “The Dollmaker”. While I found it odd the children being kidnapped were generally attractive kids who were all devoid of scars or signs of prolonged meth use, the story line was interesting because it a) introduces mystery in whomever the Dollmaker ends up being, and b) shows how quirky bad guys can bring a lot of character to the show.

The shining moment for me was when the lady told the kids on the bus that anyone else who gets out of the seat gets a little black mark on their forehead, which was basically an awesome way of telling them she’d shoot them in the fucking head if they tried to move.

Also full marks for the high five they gave each other once they kidnapped the children again.

Worst: The Riddler is unfairly hated on by his co-workers

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In episode one, Harvey got all up in Future Riddler’s face because he, I don’t know, did his job? This trend continues in this episode, as Riddler continues to be hated FOR NO REASON. Look at how his co-workers look at him when he enters the room:

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Look at the barely disguised hatred in the eyes of Gordon! What’s his deal? Not only did Future Riddler wait outside for permission to enter the office (which was given, begrudgingly), he also has great news about a key piece of evidence in their ongoing crime they are trying to solve. Do they respond with gratitude? No, they basically tell him to get the fuck out of the office. He is like the ONE guy in Gotham doing his job, and even the straight shooter Gordon wants him fucking dead.

I am on team Riddler and I hope this series ends with him murdering most of Gotham. They deserve it.

Best: Falcone knows how to be a bad ass

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Last week I lamented how stupid it was that Fish Mooney was portrayed as a bad ass due to the fact she likes to beat people with furniture. That is not being a bad ass, that is being stupid. This week, Falcone showed Mooney how it’s done. Let’s recap:

Upon hearing from the Penguin that Mooney was planning on taking him out, Falcone presents this information to Mooney at a meeting in her own club. He told her what Penguin said to him, and Mooney denies it. Falcone then asks who her current lover is, and even though Mooney doesn’t tell him, FALCONE KNOWS. Dude knows what’s up.

So he orders her lover to the table (he was the waiter) and tells him to take care of Mooney because Mooney is very near and dear to his heart. Nice, right? WRONG. Falcone then orders his goons to BEAT THE SHIT out of her lover a few feet away from them. Falcone holds Mooney’s hand while this is happening and ends it BY KISSING HER HAND and leaving.

End result? Mooney is in tears, and demands everyone leaves her club.

So, to recap a recap: Falcone lets Mooney know she isn’t safe, even in her own club, and that he knows everything. Mooney responds by having a tantrum.

Check mate, Falcone.

Worst: Mooney still doesn’t know how to be a bad ass

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Just buy a gun. Please. I’m begging you. What’s with the obsession with non lethal weapons?? To top this off, she then angrily wonders out loud why she didn’t hurt the Penguin further when she beat him up with a chair. BECAUSE YOU USED A CHAIR. That is why your damage was limited! Holy shit, buy a god damn gun already. Or at least a big knife.

Also, when Falcone pulls off a bad ass move, don’t respond by screaming like a 12 year old. Just smile and nod.

Worst: Steam Punk Catwoman 

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Why does she have these goggles? Do they let her see at night? Can they at least tell us they let her see at night? Otherwise, I don’t know why she has the goggles. The goggles do nothing! /RadioactiveMan

Worst: Dialogue still sucks

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Sometimes they just say shit that makes you shake your head. All you can do is grit your teeth and try and grind through some of the worst stuff they come up with. The worst dialogue usually occurs between Gordon and Harvey, which again, I suspect is an off-camera bet between the two actors to see who can deliver the worst lines in the campiest way, whilst trying to appear serious. Harvey is winning that battle, in case you were wondering.

Worst: Ben McKenzie’s “James Gordon Voice” is just as bad as Christian Bale’s “Batman Voice”

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I know many people won’t agree with this, but give it time, I swear. Eventually you will come to realize that McKenzie’s attempts to do a “super serious Gordon voice” is way worse than Bale’s Batman growl. I’ve seen the dude in the OC. I know his acting range, and how he normally talks. So while I give him kudos for trying to get into the head of the Gordon character, all he basically did was talk a bit slower and clip his words slightly. It’s awful and he TALKS SO MUCH. Always with the talking, this one.

Best: Penguin’s Mom is awesome

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She is a crazy broad living in an old Victorian looking house who is convinced some girl is ruining her little baby boy’s life. Yes. A thousand times yes. You can see why he might be struggling in life due to being raised in a house like this. Is it an obvious trope? Sure, but it’s a good one.

Worst: Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are smarter than the adults

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If it isn’t Selina Kyle forcing policemen into doing her bidding, it’s Bruce Wayne patiently explaining to Jim Gordon that his money can help homeless children.

Seriously, Bruce wants to help the homeless kids from earlier in the episode, so he suggests using his money to assist them. Gordon sadly looks at Bruce as if he’s such a stupid child, and tells him that the kids need someone like Alfred in their lives, not money.

Bruce, looking at Gordon like he’s a fucking idiot, calmly explains to him that money can be used to buy the kids clothing and supplies. A light bulb goes off over Gordon’s head and it’s at this moment that we discover why Gotham City is turning into shit, because the adults running it have no idea how the world works.

Best: Penguin is starting to show some potential

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God knows where this character is headed, but at least he is murdering people and doing bad shit now. He is slowly moving up from the sniveling character we first saw him as to someone who looks dangerous. Though once again the creators of Gotham decided to REALLY make it obvious as to why he’s called the Penguin by not only having him waddle like a penguin, but they then had two guys on the show inform him that he looked like a Penguin when he walked. We’re about one episode away from him holding a pen while standing beside someone named “Gwen”, just so we are extra super aware of why people call him Penguin. WE GET IT. I assure you. We get it.

Undecided: Gotham gets super dark at times and passes it off like nothing

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So earlier in the episode Young Cat Woman is telling another boy that if anyone ever attacks him in Juvie hall, go for their eyes.

A few scenes later, SHE RIPS A FUCKING GUYS EYES OUT. And is totally fine with it. She doesn’t sit there pondering what her life has come to that she has to rip dudes eyes out. She just goes on with her life as if ripping eyes out is no big deal. Do you know how hard that would have been? What the fuck?? Shouldn’t she show some remorse about this? Like, I like the fact Gotham isn’t afraid of getting dark, but this seemed weird.

Top marks to the lady playing the bad guy in this scene, as she not only says “hush hush hush now” as she walks over to him screaming about his missing eyes, but when she goes to shoot him, a round isn’t loaded in the chamber, so the gun just clicks. Buddy No Eyes asks what that noise was and she assures him it was nothing, then loads the gun, and shoots him.

It’s the small touches that add a ton to a character and make them stand out. This is something Jada Pinkett Smith could learn a thing or two about. Whenever she wants to add character she looks off into the distance and whispers something about Scientology. (She might not whisper that, but I assume she is.)

Worst: Guitar Riffs

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God damn guitar riffs are back. While not as prevalent as they were in the first episode, they were here again in episode two. If your guess for “which scene would the first riff occur in” was scene three, you win! Your prize? A random guitar riff!

Also full credit to the shitty dialogue for starting the riff of with the line of “You’re not a bad guy, you’re just a bad cop!”. All that was missing was a crowd of people screaming “OH SNAP!” and chanting “JERRY, JERRY, JERRY” repeatedly.

Seriously, though, knock off the god damn guitar riffs. They don’t go with the mood of the show. Someone’s eyes just got ripped out? We better guitar riff to the next scene!

Final Thoughts:

Much much much better episode than episode one, but I won’t lie, if this wasn’t the Batman universe I would have been kind of bored by episode two. The highlight of the episode was definitely the quirky bad guy duo, who I hope sticks around and isn’t just a one show type of deal.

I like the pieces the show is trying to put together (crime bosses fighting, Wayne murder mystery), but I think with the bulk of the acting so far taking place between Gordon and Harvey, it just isn’t good enough yet to really draw me in.

Like I said, though, huge improvement from episode one. I am at least interested to see where they take this next.

See you next week!