10 “Lovecraft” (Gotham season 1) [SPOILERS]


gotham

Has it been ten episodes already? Wow.

Gotham has proved itself, I would say, a good investment on Fox’s part. They clearly thought so too, when they bypassed the pilot process and ordered a whole first season straight off the bat. I haven’t loved everything about it, but it has broken out of the mythos which might have been a prison.

It is still undeniably a part of the greater story of the Batman world; more, even, than I may have expected, but it has cut its own niche into the greater canon.

After her agreement  last week to work with Gordon and Harvey Dent to catch the Waynes’ real killer, a squad of crack assassins come after Cat, with Bruce Wayne getting caught up in it all. Gordon, Harvey and Alfred bend every sinew trying to recover the pair, as the kids run through the city and try to stay alive. Meanwhile, Falcone is more than a little upset at the theft of his money last week.

My favourite episode of the series so far has been “Penguin’s Umbrella“, in which Gordon waged a one man war against the mafia. So Gotham can do action well, and here it does so again. Whereas last week felt like filler, this week is leaner, meaner and better entertainment.

For one thing, the Cat/Bruce storyline works a lot better. Seeing Cat in her element is fascinating, along with the surprising number of street kids in Gotham. The fact that the two of them survive is, honestly, a given, but we do get to witness Bruce getting a handle on his fears, particularly jumping over rooftops. I suspect we’re going to see more of the genesis of Batman in this show, rather than simply the genesis of Batman’s Gotham.

Alfred, too, gets a whole load of character expansion. His Royal Marine history comes to the fore when the assassins come. When he tells the kids to run, and fends off the three contract killers singlehandedly. And when he goes on the warpath with Harvey trying to track them down, the writers manage to blend his obvious affection for Bruce with his no-nonsense approach to his job. With no small thanks to the acting talents of Sean Petrwee.

Gordon, then, is more in the back seat here. And that’s okay. Letting the secondary characters out to play is a smart move. We get to see Gordon laying the righteous anger on Harvey Dent. And he arguably gets the most plot-advancing parts, such as discovering that Lovecraft wasn’t behind the killers, and his own gun being used by them to bump the billionaire off.

The mafia line is also in the background this week. Falcone initially suspects Maroni, and thus Cobblepot, of the theft, but Oswald talks him around to there being a mole. Which, of course, there is. So Falcone’s relationship with his underlings sours, and Mooney gets closer to the revolution she wants. And she gets the measure of Alfred, when he and Harvey call for information.

The action-packed final showdown, where Cat escapes and Bruce holds off the assassins long enough for her to do so, is thrilling, but it is the final scenes which hold weight. Firstly, Cat pays a return visit to Bruce to thank him — and he finally gets that kiss. Secondly, the Mayor makes a scapegoat of Gordon and transfers him to Arkham (as of last week filled with the criminally insane). This is payback, too, for Gordon’s attempt to bring down the Mayor along with the mafia.

This episode was a game changer, and probably my favourite yet. It ends with Bruce Wayne more confident, with an unknown party out there sending out contract killers, and with Arkham well and truly in play. What it will mean for Gordon’s investigation into the Wayne murders, but I’m betting someone relevant is in Arkham. And Gotham, the show, is certainly not afraid to play a wild card.

Closing thoughts:

  • Copperhead? Copperhead.
  • Ivy Pepper is scary, seemingly. I’ll bite that she’s an interesting character, who has benefited from being left alone by the series for a bit. But I do hope they peel back the layers on this one and show a bit more.
  • I swear, if the mysterious figure behind the Wayne murders and the assassins turns out to be the Joker, or someone equally ludicrous…
  • Bruce Wayne wears a $1000+ watch? I know he’s a billionaire, but Jesus.
  • Ed Nygma hugs make the world a better place.
  • Enough spooky shots of the Arkham exterior already. Show us inside the beast!
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