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Commentary Review: Gotham (S1/E3)

The 3rd episode of GOTHAM showed some cracks, but the series' philosophical questions still hit strong, which brings me back for each episode.

GOTHAM wasn’t a great 3rd episode, but it did show some philosophical questions that stuck a cord with me (Source: Screen Rant)

COLD OPEN: Gotham definitely will have a viewers battle, based on its lame episodic villains and its really slow decline of the city. But the show’s philosophical questions are what brings me back; and how on any given day, the answer to those question could change. It hasn’t become chaos yet, which is why it feels so…not-Gotham. But I’m looking long-term, much like another identical series (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC) where the show may not be the best thing ever, but the end result is usually worth it.

ACT ONE: What a ridiculous crime of the day. A random guy cuffed corrupt public figures to a weather balloon, sending up a corrupt businessman as his first victim. Really? Honestly, I don’t have enough energy go into that silliness. While that was the start of the episode, a social service worker delivers Selina Kyle (Catwomen), who claimed she witnessed the Wayne killings, to Gordon. However, this scene only provides that she saw a face. Granted, Gordon and Bullock have an aggressive-whisper fight about Gordon chasing “closed ” cases, such as the Wayne murders. But other than that, there really wasn’t anything more to the season plotline. Back to the episode’s crime, Bullock didn’t want to find the murderer since justice was served in his eyes. But of course, Gordon doesn’t look at it that way. Story B: Cobblepot returned to Gotham (wearing the kids’ clothes from the last episode…so they’re dead). Extra: We got snippets of Bruce’s Batman tendencies as he fenced with Alfred. Seeing Alfred’s transition from butler to parent was noticeable too, softening up as the series progresses.

ACT TWO: The Balloonman (they called our villain) stuck again with cuffing a dirty cop, who grabbed some of the criminal’s paper on his way up. Now Bullock’s on board with finding out whodunit (since police officers are being hunted). They found a guy who had his weather balloons stolen and, gasp, the culprit stole four balloons, meaning two are still out there. Wait. No. One left. Balloonman got to a priest (who…well, take a guess). Gotham’s public figures stayed home out of fear, yet the city’s public are happy, liking that someone is putting the law into their own hands. Story B: Cobblepot got a job at a restaurant where Falcon’s rival, Sal Maroni, frequents. Oh, and Cobblepot killed two people in the process. He’s getting better at this killing thing, and his laugh is developing nicely over time.

ACT THREE: We find the weather balloons thief, who had sold them to cover his debts. A bad cop’s body finally returns to Earth, and with the body came a piece of paper, signed by…Ben Gordon? And then Gordon figures it out. Remember Selina Kyle earlier? Remember the social worker who brought her in? The cop had in his possession social worker papers, the same papers that Gordon had signed for Selina. The Balloonman was the social worker. They find him at an abandoned shelter, but the worker outwits Bullock and uses him as a shield in a gun standoff with Gordon. The Balloonman claims that the law protects the strong who feed off the weak. The police aren’t protecting the people anymore, so which side is Gordon fighting for? “…the mayor in the mob’s pocket, or for the weak and the innocent? Who are you finally?”.

Good question. But a scuffle happened, and The Balloonman got handled. But before carrying the vigilante away, Gordon asked him who the last balloon was for. And what did The Balloonman say? “It doesn’t matter”. Everyone was a crook to him, which was why the city liked him because the police failed the people. But, as Gordon monologues to us, when people take the law into their own hands, “there is no law”. So now we know where Gordon stands on vigilantes. For now, that is. Story B: Oh yeah, and Cobblepot arrived, all dressed up, at Gordon’s front door to end of the episode. CLIFFHANGER!

Extra: Alfred said something among the lines of criminals sleeping well tonight (due to the arrest), and Bruce said the quote of the night: “he killed people; that makes him a criminal too”.

BOOM! Batman!

THE CONCLUSION: I’ll continue watching this series past the 3rd episode, and will continue making reviews. But I worry the show will speak little about the Wayne murders or continuing making the rise of Penguin unentertaining, although the cliffhanger for this episode was a pretty good hook. They have to focus on those stories more for the show to survive. Also, recurring characters are not cutting it interest-wise, to the point where I hope Maroney leaves soon. I’m far more interested in Falcone and Sal Maroni. But for the time being, the show is decent enough. The philosophical views are incredibly interesting, and I love that they put us right in these situations. Gordon, after all this, still has to choose whose team he’s on. While he may, in practice, be on the moral side of the law, the mob thinks they have him in their pocket. While still holding on to his morality, he’s stepping into some murky waters (as he did earlier in the episode…coincidentally). View Gotham not as a Batman show, but a police procedural set in Gotham. And so far, that mentality has helped me accept the show as decent enough to keep watching.

Few Things I Noticed:

  • Does Bruce Wayne literally only hang out in one room?
  • The whole Barbara Gordon and Det. Montoya thing? Weirdly presented, producers.

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