Review: Gotham: ‘Beasts of Prey’

…aaaaaand we’re back.

I’m gonna be honest, Fox. I like this show. For as many criticisms as I will acknowledge are valid about it, I’m still willing to have its back this season. But you have really gotta stop putting it on hiatuses, because right now, you’re your own worst enemies for this series.

After being put on a break for over a month, Gotham returns for the final arc of episodes for its first season run this week. I’m still trying to decide if the break was factored into the way the season was paced or not, because some elements actually played alright in the break while others are left in a pretty bad lurch as a result.

GothamTitle

One thing I do have to give this show from where it started to where it is now – I’m actually liking where Gordon’s story is going now. For a lot of the first half, as anyone who’s reading these will attest, I found the character to be pretty bland. This was more a fault of the writers than Ben McKenzie, cause he was doing the best he could with some lackluster material.

Now in the back half, he’s finally gotten more to do and it’s made for some interesting developments. Compared to his boy scout image from the first half, it’s fascinating to see how Gordon’s learning the ways of Gotham has lead him, of all people, to acts like blackmailing his superiors to advance.

This week they help take this new Gordon and ground it with a touch of the first half so we can be sure the man’s not becoming a total bastard – a development that would be interesting, but not really Jim Gordon. He’s still content with holding his superiors by the short hairs, but under it all, he still wants to do the good thing – and this week, that really gets turned against him.

"So Jim, explain to me again how this isn't gonna turn into another standard crime procedural?"

“So Jim, explain to me again how this isn’t gonna turn into another standard crime procedural?”

Most of this week’s story was honestly pretty standard Gordon boilerplate – something they’re gonna have to branch out of next season – but the reveal at the end of it made it worth the trip on this one. Gordon finding out even playing dirty has pushback is a nice reveal and one I suspect we’ll see more of by the end of this season.

In terms of the other plots, only one hasn’t really suffered this week from the extended hiatus. That was in part thanks to the fact that, like Gordon’s story, Oswald’s went into the break on something of a conclusive note. Still things to explore, but it hit a lull where it could take a month off and pick up new and fresh after.

Meanwhile, the storylines for Bruce and Fish took a hard hit from Fox’s repeated stops and starts. It’s certainly not a case of the stories not having anything to do, because both have a fair amount going on in them this week – thankfully so in Bruce’s case, even if he’s still mainly riding sidecar for other characters. Unfortunately, theirs are stories that have been taking a longer road to get where they are and didn’t leave themselves on conclusive notes when the show went on break.

That said, I'd still make the case for cutting Bruce a little slack as a character. He's barely into puberty and he's already witnessed three murders. That's...that's a lot to hit a kid with.

That said, I’d still make the case for cutting Bruce a little slack as a character. He’s barely into puberty and he’s already witnessed three murders.
That’s…that’s a lot to hit a kid with.

As a result, we’re coming back with these plots not feeling like they have quite the momentum that they should.

I realize this may seem like a bizarre topic to base an episode around, but the fact is, this is how the network wants to present it. If they decide to throw needless gaps in and it hurts the flow, I can’t not call them on it. As it is, this is mostly an alright episode. Gordon’s plot provides some interesting revelations, Oswald’s setting up his next play, Fish’s storyline ends on an interesting cliffhanger, and Bruce may be at a crossroads soon. But thanks to taking a month off in between, a lot of these reveals don’t have quite the impact that it feels like they should.

With three episodes left, I’m hoping the elements presented here are signs of a good finale at least, cause with what we have, I can see things coming to a head nicely here.

"Now could you be a sport and press 'Play' on the Huey Lewis CD? Thanks."

“Now could you be a sport and press ‘Play’ on the Huey Lewis CD? Thanks.”

We’ll have to see if Under the Knife brings things back around next week.

Till then.

Pros:

-Some good reveals at the end of this week’s episode

-Good to see the show going into the backlash over Gordon’s power play

Cons:

-Network breaks put a damper on a story that has been trying to slowly build momentum

-This may be the first time this season where Oswald’s story was kind of forgettable

Rating: 3/5

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This is what happens when a man takes a degree in English and the excessive analytic skills therein and chooses to use them for... ...is this evil? I'm not sure. But there are monsters and potentially robots, so there's potential for evil. ...we'll get back to you on that.

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