Media · Story & Characters

“Gotham” – Episode Ten (S1) Review


Oh, no. It’s here! The fall finale of “Gotham” is here!

No more Bruce Wayne, no more Jim Gordon, no more Selina Kyle, no more Ed Nygma, no more Harvey Bullock, and no more Oswald Cobblepot until next year!
Scream of defeat
what am I going to do with myself?

Okay, okay. I’ve calmed myself down enough to get on with the review.

It is very fitting to have a character named Lovecraft stuck in Gotham. For us bookworms, this name has some significance. H. P. Lovecraft was an American horror author who focused on the reality and power of evil, particularly it’s ability to destroy and corrupt. This is certainly a fitting description of what is wrong with Gotham itself as it is plagued by evil and fallen people who have surrendered to their base desires. It truly is a sin city but is not devoid of good, even if sometimes this good comes from less than pure souls. Though Gotham certainly is a place of horrors, true to Jim Gordon’s words to Bruce Wayne in the pilot, “There will be light.”

The Bruce Wayne-Selina Kyle dynamic from the previous episode is expanded here and, once more, it’s a delight to watch. And what’s even better? Witnessing Alfred enter the fray! And even better than that? Alfred verses Butch.
Data yes fist pump
Enough said.
This episode, as well as this first half of the season, presents many of the same themes. Aside from the inherent struggle between good and evil, we see the continued theme of truth. In an odd turn of events, Falcone praises the value of trust and the truth while the mayor condemns Gordon for wanting to stick to the truth about Lovecraft’s demise. Odd how the very persons who would inherently fear the truth prefer some degree of openness while those who should embrace it flee from it.
But can I just say that Gordon’s response to the mayor’s assessment of events was just as cool and tough as when Rick Grimes on “The Walking Dead” uttered these words…
Rick's Famous Line
And made this happen…
Congrats, Jim. May the lily-livers ever cower in your shadow!

Lastly, our man Oswald Cobblepot didn’t get much screen time but I’m eager to see how he gets Liza to break – probably by doing what he does best, playing head games. And if that doesn’t work, now he has minions to send after her.
Minion Faceslam
Um, wrong minions.

Oswald’s parting observation that “Timing is everything” proves true for not only his eventual takeover (it’s a’comin’!) but for the evolution of all of these iconic characters – the heroes, the villains, and the folks in between who will be forced to take sides. If I may add to the words of Jim Gordon when he lands eyes on a safely returned Bruce Wayne – thank God for Batman because he teaches us how good can come out of evil, how truth is better than deception, and how ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

Since this is the midway point (or close enough to it), I want to close by highlighting some of the things I’m loving about “Gotham” in general thus far…

The Design
Most television shows seem to be low-scale, meaning they concentrate on the heat of the action as opposed to where the action is taking place. But not “Gotham.” It’s big, epic, and expansive. One thing that impressed me from the start was its epic quality, which is more befitting a film’s scope. The settings are gorgeous – realistic yet with a touch of the unfamiliar. You feel like you’ve seen a place like this before only it’s more like a dreamscape where the real world becomes crystallized and saturated with color and light (or darkness). On the same token, the costumes, lighting, and set designs are sublime. Everything blends so nothing feels out of place. You could just watch “Gotham” for the visuals alone because it truly is a work of art.

The Characters
“Gotham” offers up an expansive cast that, for the most part, is a cohesive effort. I wasn’t surprised that I would like young Bruce Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth, and Selina Kyle. But later on, I even liked Fish Mooney, who is delightfully over-the-top. Normally, that’s an unforgivable acting sin for me but Fish kind of deserves to be played in a larger-than-life fashion because she views herself as a queen – that is until King Cobblepot dethrones her.

One surprise favorite for me was Harvey Bullock, who I knew nothing about going in. He is a perfect balance of a law man who usually ends up doing the right thing and a guy who tries to play the scratch-the-mobsters’-back card. From the pilot, I knew I’d like him – his dry wit is hilarious, his chemistry with Gordon is perfect, and his intellect is admirable. In the same way, Gordon, who I, at first, wasn’t prepared to like, is a great conflicted character as he does his best to be a moral man. Overall, the actors are some of the best I’ve seen in a drama series in a while, and Fox seems to have a knack for selecting good casts. Most of the actors here I either had never heard of before or was only familiar with in name only, but they’re all clearly dedicated, seasoned performers, including the youngest of the lot.

I really could go on and on here, so I’ll just end it with this…
I love you all
Ah! But only one gent can get all the love….

The Penguin
Oops…I mean, Oswald Cobblepot. No, wait. He’s cool with his nickname now. Get it? Cool. Penguin. Never mind.
But seriously – he’s my favorite character. Not so you’d notice.

First, regarding the look – it’s hard to believe there were people who complained about Robin Lord Taylor’s version in terms of appearance. But I think seeing his character on screen and witnessing his take on Cobblepot have silenced these naysayers. Even in some of the comics, Oswald didn’t start out looking like Cartman from “South Park.” Though if you gave Cartman a nose, dyed and doofed up the hair little bit, you’d have a pretty decent Penguin decoy.
Cartman as Penguin
Or maybe not. (This is what happens when a weird idea crosses paths with boredom on your lunch break and access to Microsoft Paint. )

In any case, Taylor’s interpretation of this classic Batman villain is perfection. Most versions of the Penguin are either campy or campy with a side of angst, both of which are cool. But Taylor’s take is a totally different breed – dark, edgy, ambitious, intelligent, and courtly. To be fair, Cobblepot was the driving force behind my wanting to watch the show in the first place to witness his evolution into a future crime lord. And Taylor definitely doesn’t disappoint. He sets a new standard that may never be broken or bested and it’s right up there with other actors’ take on the Penguin. I can’t find a single flaw in his performance. I feel really sorry for anyone who tries to do a young Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin after him; Robin Lord Taylor sets such a high bar that I’d dare someone reach or top it. Translation: don’t bother.

Penguin Profile 105
And forget the formalities – somebody just go ahead and hand him an Emmy. You know he deserves it.

Until later, my dear Gothamites!


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