As it’s been working out the bugs during its first season, one of the things Gotham has been wrestling with is its matter of tone. Some episodes feel completely at home in any general crime procedural while others swing to the other extreme, embracing the more comic book elements of the series’ origin.
I know I’ve said it before this point, but it bears repeating: now that we’re into the back half, Gotham‘s showrunners have finally figured out how to make Jim Gordon an interesting character. He’s still dedicated to the good fight, but in this second half, he’s become more attuned to how things are done in Gotham and subsequently, how to play the system.
That adjustment pays off big this week, as his earlier premature arrest of Flass comes back around. The title in this case refers to probably the harshest lesson Gordon’s had to deal with since this series started – the idea that everyone on the Gotham PD has done something they want to keep buried (Flass’s release, for example, comes from a testimony pulled from an extorted Bullock).
Pushed by this, Gordon takes it on himself to push back, and brings Bullock along to make a figurative deal with the devil. Of course, in this case, that devil is Oswald, bringing some of the comic book edge to this week’s narrative care of a mix of banter with Bullock and some of his own wonderfully sick humor. Oswald’s final scene in particular may be one of his best moments all season.
The investigation Gordon and Oswald go on is another case of the show’s middle ground. It definitely has elements that would be at home in procedurals – mystery, blackmail, a big dark secret. Then the payoff comes and it’s got that disturbed edge (added to in a surprisingly creepy turn by Nicholle Tom) to give a bit of the comic book touch to it.
Besides the journey to the bottom of the ranks of the Gotham police, this week’s turn with Fish Mooney is pretty safely entrenched on the comic side of things- and damn if it isn’t working out well. After last week’s ‘OH GOD’ inducing climax, Fish has apparently made an impression, as this week brings her head to head with her captors’ leader, the previously hinted at Dr. Dulmacher (Colm Feore).
After last week’s casting of Jeffrey Combs as Dulmacher’s subordinate (who comes back for an incredibly macabre payoff this week, albeit one with somewhat shaky FX), the decision to cast Feore as the head of the organization makes for an interesting choice. Like Combs, he takes a character that could be a bloodthirsty lunatic and instead garbs that in an eerie calm that is arguably much more unsettling to watch.
The clash with Fish is slightly different as a result, and arguably more entertaining as well. While Combs had a sort of arrogant edge in his confrontation, Feore is all smiles and friendliness, which makes the knowledge of what he does all the creepier as a result.
In the middle of this, Fish is continuing to thrive as a character in this downright strange setting. Her ruthless pragmatism comes back around this week as she has to make good on the warning she gave her fellow inmates at the start of this. It’s a cold-blooded moment, but also one that reminds us how she got as far as she did in the Falcone crime family.
Rounding out this week, we check back in with Bruce. While Alfred is still bed-ridden, we are reminded he’s not completely without friends as both Gordon and Selina check in with him in their own rights. He and Alfred are still keeping some of this to themselves, but in light of other developments, like it or not, they’re going to need outside help from here.
It’s not much development for the kid this week, but after last week, he needed a ‘catch your breath’ episode, and with the build-up to the finale coming soon, he’ll be busy again soon enough.
Speaking of said finale, it looks like these writeups are going on break for a while. Seems Fox is going into reruns for the next few weeks before running the final block of episodes starting April 13th.
Will still be around reviewing The Flash as well as other things in the weeks to come. Just saying, Gotham‘s going to be quiet for a while is all.
I’m not sure why either.
Till next time.