As always, this show is so unquotable, it’s difficult to pick one line from this episode and stick it to the top of this review, so naturally I took the easy route and chose the very first line of the very, very long recap. Jim Gordon kicks off the back half of this season, titled Wrath of the Villains (because why not?), by reminding us just how much we hate this inconsistent show.
The last time we saw Gordon and the gang (a little over three months ago!), Gotham was putting an end to its so-called serialized arc by killing off the supposed Big Bad and turning Jim, a beloved character from the Batman comics, into one of TV’s most unlikable characters. Having the show’s “hero” become a straight-up killer did not make this season any more interesting (although I’m glad I no longer have to write “Galavan” anymore as I often ended up typing Galavant instead). Sadly, Ben McKenzie isn’t helping this terrible arc either as his performance has mostly been a hit-and-miss ever since the show debuted early last year.
It’s almost as if Gotham can’t tell a serialized story without being inconsistent (and/or terrible) in the process. The lack of any Bruce Wayne was wildly apparent in this premiere, as was Oswald’s often-dull storyline. I don’t know where they’re going with this Arkham storyline, but I can already tell I am just not interested in Penguin’s escapades there. The same can be said about Nygma’s presence on the show right now who will most likely play a role in breaking Penguin out of the asylum
.Now that I’ve voiced just how much I absolutely loathe everything about this show, it’s time to mention the introduction of yet another villain: Mr. Freeze. Quite surprisingly, the weekly case (or multi-episode arc, apparently) was executed pretty well. I don’t know much about the character from the comics, but Nathan Darrow feels perfectly cast as Victor Fries who is freezing people to death in order to find a cure for his dying wife (Kristen Hager). The story beats go as predictable as ever and the backstory is so by-the-books, it’s astonishing why it still works so flawlessly here. Perhaps instead of trying so hard to be dark and violent and failing at everything in the process, the time this episode spends on Mr. Freeze and his wife at home actually gave us a reason to care about this storyline. Instead of another forgettable villain, we actually got some solid backstory and it worked. Yes, Gotham actually succeeded more at its standalone-ish element than its serialized storytelling, and I can’t even understand why.
Not that this midseason premiere lacked the usual horror-esque violence the show often delivers on. The image of that melting skin in the Fries’ basement is something I’m going to lose sleep over, and watching Butch (who I’ll call Captain Hook for a while) use his stump to drill into people’s eyes was so crazy that some would say it was, ahem, Batshit crazy. Luckily, the writers are teaming up this insane character (who is now King of Gotham, #sorrynotsorry Penguin) with the ruthless and badass Tabitha. Not that I can’t wait to see where this goes, but hey I’m not totally annoyed by a Gotham subplot and that’s an achievement on its own.
– Seriously, the fact that this show figured out how to not-suck at his procedural cases is a hilariously astounding accomplishment, especially when it still sucks-so-much at absolutely everything else.
– This show must receive an award for Worst Editing Ever. Did you see the transitions from present-time to flashback? Did your eyes bleed too from those colorful and unnecessary flashes?
– Harvey Dent is very much still alive and present on this show, thank you very much.
– Am I really the only one who wanted to spend more time at the Fries’ house? For some reason, watching Nora’s ordeal was too heart-wrenching, despite how absolutely predictable it was.
– But for real, how disgusting and cringe-worthy was that melting skin sequence? Yikes.
– Didn’t care for the inmates going all bananas on Oswald. I know this is a very unpopular opinion, but for some reason I feel like his arc should be over by now.
– B.D. Wong is Hugo Strange, and he’s scary and intimidating as hell.
– I don’t care that Jim lied to get himself off the hook (not to be mistaken by Butch), and it’s going to be exhausting to wait for Barnes figure out the truth about the night of Galavan’s murder.
– Nifty twist with the GCPD already having several other guys pretending to be Mr. Freeze. I sincerely thought that cop/detective was incompetent until that reveal. Bravo for actually surprising me for once, show.
– Not enough Morena Baccarin. Not cool, guys.
– So much time and effort is spent on naming this show’s episodes, amiright?
Cracks From Gotham
Jim: That’s it? No hug, no kiss, no welcome back?
Bullock: You don’t deserve these lips.
Tabitha: Normally, I go for handsome, intelligent men, not brutes. But you have an amazing animal vitality about you.
Oswald: I’m not a criminal, you know. I’m just…insane.
(after seeing the frozen bodies in the basement)
Nora: He told me they were mice.
Gotham returns from a three-month-long hiatus with a surprisingly solid hour, but it’s still got its ups and downs for sure.