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

Gotham takes a step away from much of what's making this season work

Illustration for article titled Gotham takes a step away from much of what's making this season work
TV ReviewsAll of our TV reviews in one convenient place.

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: I can’t. I just can’t deal with what Harvey Bullock has become. I am so sad.
  • Perhaps my headline is a tad misleading. I didn’t hate this episode. However, I don’t think it reached the same heights as the previous four, all of which have helped this season get off to a hot start. What can I say though, the lack of Victor Zsasz is unforgivable.
  • The episode kicks off by introducing us to the new Butch, as his body is dumped into the Slaughter Swamp, some Indian Hill chemicals work their magic, and he emerges as Solomon Grundy. The scenes with Nygma later on are endearing, but I have to say, Grundy looks rather ridiculous. It’s like the Lou Ferrigno version of the Hulk, but somehow even more dated.
  • As Bruce continues down his vigilante path, I’m really enjoying how Gotham is shifting the dynamic between him and Alfred. Rather than have Alfred butt heads with Bruce at every turn, they share discussions and find common ground. Sure, they disagree plenty, but it doesn’t feel like contrived conflict. It’s rooted in genuine emotion, and that shows.
  • The main conflict for Bruce in this episode is simple: he believes he has to kill Ra’s al Ghul for the greater good, and yet doing so would go against his promise to never kill.
  • Needless to say, I’m very curious about what Ra’s transmitted to Barbara through the glass of his prison cell.
  • Sofia Falcone plays to Penguin’s weaknesses perfectly. She criticizes him about his inability to control all of the criminal operations, and then turns around to support him by essentially becoming his mother. Oswald’s mother has always been his weakness, and Sofia is exploiting that for her own gain.
  • On that topic, Sofia has been a great addition to this season. She’s a character with some built in history considering who her father is, and Crystal Reed’s performance is finding that femme fatale sweet spot between charming and vicious.
  • Nygma’s cognitive powers are so diminished that he fails to rob a pharmacist. He’s not even a doctor!
  • This episode isn’t nearly as funny as the rest of this season, but at least we get Alfred unloading one weapon after another at Blackgate Penitentiary.
  • We also get the curious relationship between Grundy and Nygma. It feels like there’s a lot of comedy and plot potential there.
  • In the end, Bruce goes against his vow and kills Ra’s al Ghul. “I betrayed myself and my parents’ memory,” he tells Gordon. I’m really enjoying this version of Bruce, the one who’s eager to do good but struggles with what that might entail.
  • It’s also so much more satisfying to see Bruce, Gordon, and Alfred working through things together rather than fighting with each other. They can certainly have their differences, but considering what’s going on in Gotham, they should always be united and watching each others’ backs.
  • The final scene in this episode is paced perfectly, building to the reveal of Leslie Thompkins working in an underground fight club in Gotham, a reveal that would have been pretty damn cool if it wasn’t for Morena Baccarin’s name in the opening credits. Seriously?!?

Kyle Fowle is a freelance writer based out of Canada. He writes about TV and wrestling for The A.V. Club, Real Sport, EW, and Paste Magazine.