Well, I’m now heaving a sigh of relief.
After feeling disappointed by last week’s episode, this was a step back in the right direction. Some interesting twists in continuing stories paired with an interesting case of the week add up to a solid episode this time around.
The part of the episode for which this gets its title, this week’s case of the week, is a well-executed crime story. Gotham’s police find their hands full with a gang of robbers who have made an impression with the general public of Gotham, care of an outspoken member wearing a home-made red hood.
Their tactics are fairly straight forward, about the one thing that really swings things for them is that ability to appeal to the common citizens – initially for distraction – does create a sort of celebrity appeal for the hood itself.
Which makes for probably the best part of this storyline: over the course of the episode, several of these criminals are killed by someone else who wants to be the wearer of the red hood. It’s admittedly a pretty old story idea, but it’s one the show still makes interesting just in going over how this element of celebrity appeals to each wearer.
In terms of the recurring storylines, several stories are building momentum for a big payoff by the time this season comes to a close.
After her standoff last week, Fish moves one step further up the ladder. Besides offering an interesting callback to the Dollmaker from the beginning of the series, we also get a welcome appearance by horror veteran Jeffrey Combs as the Dollmaker’s representative. Though the two only have a few scenes together, Pinkett Smith and Combs play well off of each other, Fish still defiant even with the deck against her, and Combs’s character calmly arrogant knowing he has the advantage.
Without giving too much away, I should however point out, if you’re squeamish, this week may cause some cringing. From a story standpoint, it’s a great ‘Oh CRAP!’ turn that stays in character, but it’s also a fairly graphic (for network TV, anyway) moment.
The other big storyline to benefit this week is with regards to Bruce. The situation at Wayne Manor is complicated with the arrival of an old military friend from Alfred’s past (David O’Hara). He is seemingly affable, but early on we see signs this is more than just catching up with an old friend.
In the end, without giving too much away, much of the stability that had been keeping Bruce’s storyline in a holding pattern has been stripped away. Things are left off with him unaware of just how many cages he’s rattled in investigating his parents’ deaths, but it’s safe to say he’ll find out for himself in the four remaining episodes this season.
Oswald, meanwhile, gets something of a light week. It’s not completely for a loss, however, as this week we get our first look at his teaming up with Fish’s former right-hand, Butch (Drew Powell). It’s still early, but the two have the potential to make for a good team in episodes to come, depending where things go from here.
Unfortunately, the show still seems to be at a loss as to what to do with Barbara. It’s trying to commit to the idea of her bonding with Selina and Ivy, but even that isn’t quite connecting like they seemed to hope. Though it did at least make for an interesting moment this week as Barbara tries to appeal to Selina by trying to explain the idea of exploiting her looks for personal gain. It’s an unexpected twist to bring from Barbara, though not completely baseless. At the same time, I do like the fact the series had Selina throw the idea back in Barbara’s face – both due to the character’s young age and the fact it avoids the more on-the-nose building of her future role.
Is this the best the show has been to date? I wouldn’t necessarily say that. I would, however, say this is a welcome step up after last week’s lackluster episode. The scene is being set for the season finale in another few weeks, and with the fates of several characters in flux, this could turn into one Hell of a cap-off to the season.
Said finale comes one step closer next week with Everyone Has a Cobblepot. I’m honestly pretty psyched to see where this goes. Cautious in some regards, but psyched.
-While a bit predictable, the titular A-plot is pretty enjoyable
-Bruce’s storyline finally getting some urgency again
-Jeffrey Combs (…do I need a reason besides that?)
-For as much potential as Oswald and Butch have, it’s not there yet
-Okay, I’m giving her another week – after this, unless Barbara’s storyline actually accomplishes something, if I don’t mention her, just assume the writers are still trying to decide what to do there