I want to say Gotham FINALLY returned but sadly, I haven’t been sitting on the edge of my seat since the winter finale. And perhaps that was a good thing.
I didn’t think Gotham’s return was terrible—because I really didn’t have any expectations. But looking back at the episode a second time, I see that this was not a good hour of television. In fact, the same thing that’s been killing this show since it started has resurfaced: its dreadful writing.
Barbara continues to be my biggest fear, especially during her “break-up” scene with Montoya which was impeccably random. We’re supposed to believe that these two women are suddenly toxic to one another? Where is the character development? Where is the narrative buildup? Where in the world is good writing? I’m not mad these two undeveloped characters broke up. I’m not happy about it either. I simply find myself having zero interest in this storyline.
Storylines are this show’s biggest problem. There has been no major arc good or big enough to last more than two episodes, and the winter premiere showed how the lack of such arc brings the quality down. It’s not just that the case-of-the-week is proving to be boring as hell—Arrow delivered a horrendous first season based on a villain-of-the-week format, but it was never unsystematic about it. In fact, this episode felt so random that someone who’s never seen Gotham before can just decide to pick up here with Rogues’ Gallery and still get a sense of where the show is heading: nowhere.
Despite all that, I still found the episode a bit entertaining. Maybe I’m starting to enjoy the show’s inability to deliver strong dialogue in a weak and utterly eye-rolling storyline, or maybe Jim’s relocation to Arkham Asylum breathed just a tiny bit of fresh air into this suffocating show. I was delighted with the introduction of Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) and can’t wait to see how her relationship with Jim develops because they have more chemistry so far than he and Barbara ever had in 10 episodes.
Much like the Arkham storyline, Butch deciding to go against Fish seemed like a breath of fresh air from what we’ve gotten accustomed to: i.e., seeing him as Fish’s bitch. Sadly, the whole thing went down when Butch killed his friend just to prove his loyalty to Fish. It’s a shame, really, because not only is Fish Mooney a bit annoying and hard to care for, but this storyline could have gone on a few episodes and made Butch more than just a one-dimensional character for once.
Then again, that would mean this is a well-written show.
– Ivy and Barbara’s conversation on the phone was dull. Barbara couldn’t tell she was speaking to a child, really? I mean, sure, Ivy is more than just a child. She’s the devil, but still.
– The tilted camerawork in all the Arkham Asylum scenes was amusing. Not something I expected from a show that writes “Arkham Asylum” as a caption.
– The Penguin (I was very reluctant about adding a “the”) is no fun when locked up. Glad to see this devilish monster out so soon.
– Random or amusing: the montage at the beginning showing us what everyone has been doing since last month, including Barbara and Montoya “toxicating” each other. I vote random.
– Selina and Ivy wandered around the city then ended up in Jim’s apartment this week. I would much rather see more of Bruce and Alfred.
– I’m a bit glad the killer got to escape in the end. His note to Jim as he drove off was entertaining as hell.
– I love Morena Baccarin and I’m glad she’s joined Gotham and its wacky universe. The show needs stronger female characters like hers.
Cracks From Gotham
Jim: You’re the only one who looks and smells like a hunted animal.
Harvey: You weren’t exaggerating. Freaky as advertised.
Sarah Essen: You do look spiffy in the uniform.
Harvey: Yeah, if spiffy means dorky.
More of the same in the Gotham midseason premiere as the show continues to rely on weak dialogue in a less-than-compelling narrative.