19 “Beasts of Prey” (Gotham season 1) [SPOILERS]


gotham

Does anyone actually know why Gotham decided to take a month-long pause, with four episodes to go?

I’m being serious. This first series of Gotham seems to have gone on for bloody ever, and whilst I’ve enjoyed it (So that’s not particularly a complained -Ed), it started back in September 2014, meaning it’s gone on for nearly eight months already.

I’ve already mentioned that I think 24-episode seasons are a relic of a bygone era of TV, and that actually shorter, more intense bursts of around 13 episodes fit much better with how people watch shows nowadays, but Gotham didn’t need to go an emphasise that by putting in break after break in the broadcast schedule.

But it’s back now, for the tail end of season one. So if you can still remember anything that happened in the last epiosde, then come with me and explore “Beasts of Prey”.

Now the newly-elected president of the policeman’s union, Jim Gordon takes on a cold case of a young woman’s murder, a story which is spelt out in flashbacks to her last night alive. Penguin looks to acquire a stake in a bar. And Fish Mooney plots her escape from her island prison.

Okay, so Jim Gordon first. After acquiring his new station through, basically, the same corruption he’s been taking everyone else down for, Jimmy boy takes on a cold case at the request of a GCPD officer. He, Harvey and Lee look into the murder, as they are wont to do, as the audience gets flashbacks to show what happened.

Let’s pause there. Flashbacks are new, especially in a manner like this. We see this woman go home with a charming man, who then basically keeps her prisoner until he decides he doesn’t like her, and kills her. Nothing particularly unusual there, this is Gotham after all, but the storytelling has gone awfully CSI on us with discovery of new leads launching us into what actually happened. It’s not bad, but I don’t understand why the need to change tack.

So they follow the clues, and end up stumped. And then — then! — they decide to look into the background of the case. And lo and behold, it’s a bit more complicated than it first seemed. See, this is serial killer (Called the Ogre -Ed), who has been abducting women and then killing them when they don’t match up to his perfect wife ideal. And the investigation? Any cop who investigates finds his love ones get murdered. So the GCPD cover it up.

And who pushed the case Jim’s way? The very same man Gordon blackmailed last episode: Commissioner Loeb. So our hero is back on the righteous indignation path, promising to bring down Loeb.

I have no material problem with any of this, but I don’t understand why we’ve been led around the houses about it. Gordon’s story arc seemed, last time, to be on a descent into the very corruption that he was fighting against, which would have been an undeniably interesting story. But now we’re back to crusader Jim, so I’ve no real clue what’s going on.

Oswald Cobblepot, meanwhile, is looking to buy into a particular bar. The owner isn’t too keen, but her daughter having run off with a guitarist, she says she’ll consider the offer if Penguin gets her to come home. Which, of course, involves the guitarist’s fingers and a pair of secateurs. Penguin’s motivation? The bar as an assassination venue for Maroni.

And in this week’s installment of the dull adventures of Bruce Wayne, the boy millionaire sets out into Gotham to find Reggie, since Alfred isn’t well enough yet. With Cat’s help, he tracks Reggie down drinking himself to death in a squat. Reggie ‘fesses up that he was working for the board of Wayne Enterprises, but even when he threatens to let them know that Bruce is onto them, the kid still can’t kill him. Luckily, Cat can, and Reggie takes a tumble out of a window. Another potentially interesting character dropped.

And Fish Mooney decides to make her break from the island of surgical horrors. Recruiting some of the thugs from the basement prison, under the pretence that she wants some muscle with her, she stages a jailbreak to a boat, to distract the guards. Then she and a few of her other people go for the helicopter, and make their escape. Which goes well. Apart from Fish getting plugged with a rifle bullet. Which is an interesting development, given rumours that she’s going to be leaving the show at the end of the first season.

An end which is only three episodes away now. But something odd seems to have happened to Gotham. Gone, seemingly, is the confident, assured stride, as we fall through the looking-glass to an alternate version which is somewhere between CSI and a low-end soap. It is, suddenly, a pale and boring shadow of the show before it took a confusing break.

But perhaps I’m just forgetting, that this is what Gotham does. It’s return from all the other breaks it has taken has been underwhelming. That’s not an excuse really, but it offers a thread of hope that we might not be witnessing the unravelling of the whole enterprise.

Closing thoughts:

  • Jim is just the sh****est cop. Why on earth wouldn’t you look into the original circumstances of the case, right at the bloody start?
  • So Reggie was another potentially interesting character which the show has defenstrated. Literally and figuratively. Seems like a waste.
  • You know, I think Lee only loves Jim for his gruesome homicide cases.
  • Still, the Cat pushing people out of windows scenes are infinitely better than the Cat watching Barbara mope around scenes.
  • You know what, bring back the bloody Joker.
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