Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Gotham Season 2 Episode 1: "Damned If You Do..." Review

Clearing the Board
It's been a very long time since I've done one of these. To those who don't know, my first articles on the site were the three DC shows at the time. Out of the three of them, I found Gotham the weakest. Even as the seasons concluded, I found Gotham to be lacking from the original potential it had.

Well that was last year and now we return to the city, still as corrupt as we left it all those months ago(then again this is only supposed to take place a month after the season finale).  What has gone on in that time? Well lets find out!
We open up the premiere with seeing all our characters affected by the aftermath of the season 1 finale. Penguin has taken up his role as the kingpin of Gotham, Gordon has been demoted by corrupt Commissioner Loeb to traffic cop, and HARVEY BULLOCK HAS QUIT THE POLICE FORCE?!

I understand that this is supposed to be an elseworld story, which means that allows the writers to write the characters how they want, but the writers just removed Gordon's partner! They put him into a position where there is no reason for him to go back to the police. The only way to get him back into the game is literally write out his happiness that he has finally attained! This would be perfect for the end of the series, not the start of the second season.

Yes, 5 minutes in and it already sent me on a tangent...but thats not to say it gets better from there.

After Gordon arrests a new sword wielding psychopath, he is fired from duty by Loeb, leaving Gordon a shell without his work and removing the one . He turns to Penguin and asks him for a favor. Penguin agrees, but only if Gordon collects a debt for him. Gordon refuses at first, but after coaxing from Bruce Wayne, he does the deed, leaving him a dirty cop.
As much as I complained above about the elseworld style allowing the writers to write however they want, I thoroughly thought that finally having Gordon dirty his hands. This is GOTHAM CITY! Cops are meant to be corrupt, and yes while Gordon is our white knight, his need to do things by the book isn't gonna fly in the early pre-batman days!

That being said, the outcome to Penguin's deal left me a bit bitter. It allowed Gordon back into his position, but it removed Loeb from power. Season one was building up a conflict between Gordon and Loeb, and the way he "decided" to resign from his position was an anti-climatic kick to the sack. I understand the writers wanted to start season two with a fresh after the season one finale, but Loeb was the perfect villain to stride to beat; the corrupt man in charge. It would have felt so satisfying to have Gordon take him down by the book, but now it won't ever happen.

I've spoken enough of the Gordon's story what of the other stories? The new villains we seem to be watching are the Arkham Inmates, including the committed Barbara...WHO HAS FINALLY BECOME BEARABLE! Granted she's a lunatic, but a lunatic in the best way possible. One minute she is trying to convince Jim she's innocent, the next she's telling Leslie Thompkins that she hopes she dies screaming. Add that to the return of Jerome and the other crazies from last season and the villains step out as one of the best things in the show again.

To add even further to these villains is the new main villain Theo Galavan and his sister, who both have a comic book feel to them. Theo has the archetype of mastermind, which usually revolves around him doing more recruiting of smaller more colorful villains such as Zaardon for a bigger picture. His sister on the other hand is more of that colorful villain, with her signature weapon being a whip; WHO USES WHIPS ANYMORE?! These are just two examples of Gotham seemingly accepting it's more comic roots, which should be what it was going for! Its not just another crime drama like the many others on the small screen. It needs to stand out, and if it can find that balance of comic and realistic, it will be perfect.
 While I found Bruce's boring, I found the ending letter he finds in the Wayne Secret office a perfect way to end the episode, as it should touch on everyone finding their identities and not just him.

In the end Gotham Season 2 opens up pretty shaky, but there is still hope to the season. I doubt they'll have Bullock on the sidelines for long, but Loeb's departure will have a bitter taste for weeks to come. The villains are crazier than ever, and comic bookish as a bonus. Bruce's story was a bit boring, but hopefully it will become more interesting as he tries to navigate in the new mad Gotham.

Key Points
+ Arkham Escapees actually interesting EVEN BARBARA!
+ Gordon finally gets his hands dirty for the sake of the future.
+ Has embraced it's comic side.
- Removes Bullock and Loeb, Gordon's greatest ally and enemy, from the equation
- Bruce's storyline was boring, but the letter was a good way to end it on

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  1. I thought, with the exception of the camerawork during Gordon's theft/running from the cops, that this was one of the better episodes.

    Two things...

    1) Thank God Fish Mooney is gone (I couldn't stand her or Jada Pinkett Smith...or, maybe it was because of JPS that I hated Fish); and

    2) How great is Cameron Monaghan as Jerome (Joker?)

    1. I'll admit it is one of the better episodes, I just found it annoying they got rid of one of the key characters in Gordon's rise to commissioner.

      I never really hated fish cuz I accepted of why she existed: to be penguins ladder to power. She fulfilled her job

      And yes! Cameron is doing great as the pre-joker!

      Also: i kind of agree on the camera work for the Gordon chase. I thought it could have worked for say Nygma running to hide the guilt and talking to his two sides

  2. I'm guessing that Bullock, Loeb, and Fish (sorry jacks) make it back into the fray at some point this season. The running-selfie-Gordon-cam was a bit odd but pretty good episode, not great but not terrible either.

    1. Bullock: absolutely without a doubt but that would mean writers will need to take a sledgehammer to his now good life

      Loeb:50/50. They have Essen as commissioner and penguin would gun for him. Also he'd need to start from the bottom, which he's way to old for. Commissioners aren't like detectives who can be reinstated
      Fish: not a chance. Penguin is king of Gotham and galavan is the new challenger.

  3. I agree that Fish COULD be back (after all, she had a classic comic book "death"). However, I was left with the impression that her removal from the show was more from behind-the-scenes matters than story ones. Before Fish came back, they'd hane to bring Jada P-Smith back.

    Then again...they could always go with a the classic trope of having Fish return with a new face (and a new actress).


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