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!

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