The season two premiere of Gotham showed how good this show can be. So many times last season people (and me) would complain about the tone or the characters and for good reason. But after one episode I’m already more confident in season two than I was at any point during season one. Almost everyone was touched on in a significant way. We saw Barbara strolls into Arkham, Jim trying to work his way back up the police hierarchy, Bruce trying to open his fathers ‘secret doorway’, and penguin finally fully take over with now Fish, Falcone, or Maroney to get in his way. Even some of the side characters had an interesting little moment like Riddler’s crazy mirror talk, or Zaaz talking through a decapitated head. Some though were left out in the cold like Selina, Leslee, and Bullock. Hopefully, we will see more of them in the future.
Barbara heading to Arkham is the biggest deviation from any source material, and it could be the most fun part of the show. Watching her walk through Arkham in her civilian clothes while everyone stared at her was a great opening. It’s almost as if the writers took advantage of their terrible misuse of this character and turned her into an interesting person. Pretty much everything about her this week was great. Using her feminine wiles on the biggest guy in the asylum as protection, telling Theo that she isn’t a “criminal mastermind” she just has “issues” plus she got to bond with Jerome over the fact that they both killed their parents. Her craziness was on full display once she called Jim, and then threatened Leslee (I refuse to call her Lee) she was a delight to watch, a big change from last year.
As for our hero, Jim has seen better days. And they certainly didn’t get better. After season one demoted him to a traffic cop, in this episode, he gets straight up fired. Of course, Loeb being his perfectly awful self. So Jim needs to get his job back right? So who does he go too? His seemingly only friend besides Bullock, Penguin. Now I like the decision to have Jim do something terrible so he can continue to do the right thing. I think it’s an interesting twist on a guy who has been a goody two-shoes up to this point. But I don’t like how he got there. Because Bruce Wayne –the kid who will become Batman– convinced him to do something bad for a criminal underworld boss who he has never met. That felt odd. “Sometimes to do the right thing you must do something bad” sure why not, but why did the 14-year-old who will become a vigilante fighting crime just say that. Why not Bullock or even Alfred.
Speaking of Bruce he had a very straightforward mission this week, get that door open. I’ll let it slide that he never even thought to put his name into the card reader because blowing it up is a much better visual. The letter he eventually found on the other side had some great moments but then become heavy handed at times. “unless you have a calling” is written twice in the last two sentences? And besides why did the writers put that in theirs. We won’t ever see this kid become Batman. We just have to imagine his ‘calling’.
So since Penguin is a man of his word he went to go pay Loeb a visit and boy was it a great scene. See this is the problem Gotham had last year. It was trying to be all encompassing in terms of seriousness and humor. You can’t be Bill Dozier Batman while also trying to slip in some Christopher Nolan type stuff. That’s why this episode went all in with humor and tension. I would complain a lot about writing during last season and this scene, in particular, is a high point for the show. Penguin is going back and forth with Loeb about his offer and telling that he wouldn’t like the deal so he might as well kill him. Agh, good stuff.
Overall Great episode to start the season and hopefully a sign of more things to come. Obviously Gotham has its issues but if you’ve stuck around this long you probably enjoyed this episode. As someone who has had a ‘love-hate relationship’ with it. I can say that it’s something I can start to look forward to every week if it stays together. Unless Jerome keeps laying it on thick because that kid is a cartoon character.