Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

A funny, action-packed Gotham continues this season's hot streak

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Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • Never Mind The Bullocks: As new character addition Harper tells us, Bullock has taken some time off. We’ll miss him dearly.
  • This episode is written by Ben McKenzie, and I have to say, it’s probably the funniest episode of Gotham across four seasons. Usually the show’s humor is playful or juvenile, but “The Demon’s Head” is genuinely laugh-out-loud funny.
  • For me, the laugh of the night comes from Victor Zsasz. When Sofia Falcone meets with Penguin, playing like she’s just a scared kid coming back to the city she grew up in, Penguin threatens her. He says that she better not start an uprising against him. “Otherwise...” he says before pointing at Zsasz, who takes one glorious beat before whispering, with pure glee, “I’m gonna stab you,” punctuated with a stabbing motion.
  • Another welcome aspect of “The Demon’s Head” is the fact that somebody on this show has to truly reckon with the consequences of their actions. Gotham’s tried that with Gordon before, but it always fell flat. Bruce is a much more efficient vessel for that moral exploration. When an innocent man, Dr. Winthrow, dies after Bruce gets him to examine the blade he bought at Penguin’s auction, he has to come to grips with the knowledge that his vigilante actions could be dangerous for others.
  • Creepy dog dude Anubis is just too much for me. That’s nightmare-inducing stuff.
  • We finally get the reunion of Barbara and Gordon, and it’s rather disappointing. There’s no tension, no real sense of there being any issue there. They seem to have lost their dynamic. Instead, Jim just questions her until Bruce shows up and mentions Ra’s al Ghul.
  • Another funny moment: Gordon calling in to the GCPD and telling them to look for Ra’s al Ghul. The operator on the other end responds with “sure, but how do you spell...” before Jim hangs up. Gritty cops, am I right?
  • So Gordon thinks Sofia coming to town to help him is unacceptable, but he has no problem making out with her?
  • In my review of the season premiere, I was delighted that Victor Zsasz seemed to be getting a more prominent role. My delight continues this week, as he’s integral to the plot. From his stabbing motion joke to Penguin calling Victor Fries his “other Victor,” Zsasz has been a welcome addition as a full-time character.
  • Penguin: “How many graves did you dig?” Zsasz: “Two, but they’re roomy.”
  • I’m not really sure how to feel about this version of Nygma. I understand that having him lose his greatest gift is necessary for the story and for any character growth, but I miss his charisma. However, the short scene with Nygma and Penguin confirms that they’re playful, erotic, hate-filled dynamic hasn’t changed a bit, so the show can recapture that at any time.
  • Going back to Bruce and his uncertainty about putting people in danger, he comes up against a truly challenging moral conflict late in the episode. Having secured the dagger from Dr. Winthrow’s grandson, Alex, the two attempt to escape the museum while Anubis is hot on their tail. Gordon shows up to make the save, but it’s not enough. Ra’s al Ghul has found them, and he’s holding a knife to Alex’s throat, threatening to kill him if Bruce doesn’t hand over the dagger. In a truly shocking moment, Bruce refuses. He knows that the dagger is important, well beyond what him and Gordon can understand, so he makes his choice. Perhaps he thought Ra’s al Ghul wouldn’t follow through, but he does. He slits Alex’s throat and Bruce watches him die. Now, he has blood on his hands and a weight on his conscience. Gordon tries to comfort him, but there’s no telling if his words will sink in. If they don’t, there’s certainly a lot of potential in Gotham digging into the moral complications of Bruce’s vigilante mission.