Review: Gotham: ‘Under the Knife’

Coming up on the homestretch, I’m starting to really feel like this show may make it after all.

Continuing on last week’s storylines, this week the show is continuing to build to its season finale with a more continuous narrative. Some parts of it I’m still on the fence about, but there’s at least a feeling that the show is trying to get things done now that I genuinely appreciate.

GothamTitle

A lot of this week is built around running on the momentum from last week’s episode – the Ogre is still loose, Bruce and Selina still have their investigation, and Oswald’s out for blood. Fish, meanwhile, may have checked out of this season early. I could very well be wrong, but they left her off in a place where, factored with the reports that Smith wouldn’t be back next season, they could leave it on a cliffhanger.

For as many issues as I’ve had with how this show’s incorporated Bruce overall, I think teaming him with Selina is probably one of the better decisions they could have incorporated. Yeah, it’s not a particularly subtle nod to their futures, but the fact is, Alfred aside, Bruce just doesn’t feel like he connects that well with a lot of other characters on this show.

"Yeah, they're gonna be staring. It's only gonna get more awkward about twenty years from now when we're both in skin-tight animal-themed costumes."

“Yeah, they’re gonna be staring. It’s only gonna get more awkward about twenty years from now when we’re both in skin-tight animal-themed costumes.”

With Selina, he actually encounters some pushback. It gives him something to work off of and lets him feel more like a character instead of just a narrative device to tie this into its source material. It also helps that, as the show’s gone on, Mazouz and Bicondova have developed a good dynamic together. The writing isn’t always the greatest for them (while I liked the ethical debate over last week, the entire charity ball felt like a convenient play to their futures again) they still make a good effort with it.

Gordon, meanwhile, I’m a bit uncertain on at this point. I still like how this storyline started, running on the idea that Gordon’s attempts to game his way up the ladder would have consequences. This week, however, the internal conflict is (admittedly justifiably) put in the backseat for the more immediate hunt for the Ogre. A storyline which, so far, isn’t bad, but does feel like it’s going down the checklist for serial killer narratives.

Given the Ogre’s tendency to target the loved ones of those who investigate him, the show used this opportunity to bring back a storyline that had been left hanging for a while now.

"Dear Abbie So, stop me if you've gotten a letter like this before..."

“Dear Abbie
So, stop me if you’ve gotten a letter like this before…”

I’m…still not sure how I feel about the decision to bring Barbara back in this fashion. On the one hand, she’s at least somewhat relevant to the story now instead of just grumbling about the things Gordon is or isn’t doing on the job. On the other, though I doubt they plan to kill her, the fact is, she is being brought back in to be a target for a serial killer.

Honestly, unless they pull a serious hat trick with her in the remaining episodes, she’s probably going to remain a series shortcoming for its first season.

Meanwhile, after having spent most of the season as either a running humor source of an on-the-nose reference, the showrunners decided to let Nygma do a little more this week. It’s not a bad change-up for the character, actually. I mean, yeah, thanks to the backstory, we know this is only the first step on a path towards evil, but it will be interesting to see if the rest of his fall plays out as unintentionally as the first step did.

"Just keep driving. Don't look back. After all, who's going to suspect the eccentric, quiet guy at the office? No one, that's who!"

“Just keep driving. Don’t look back. After all, who’s going to suspect the eccentric, quiet guy at the office? No one, that’s who!”

As for Oswald, they’re taking a gradual build here. I have to admit, with Fish out of the way, I’m growing to like his antagonistic rivalry with Maroni. Taylor and Zayas have found a good mix of playing jovial while channeling urges to wring one another’s necks that makes the moments when they’re pretending to get along much more entertaining to watch.

All the same, I’m hoping Oswald makes a move before the season’s out. The antagonism is fun, but with the ramp-up going on elsewhere, some blood is going to need to be spilled before we step away from them for the season.

With this, we’re now two episodes away from the end. It looks more than likely the showrunners want this one to go out with a bang. How successful they will be at that…well, we’ll find out soon enough.

I’ll be back soon with a look at the penultimate episode of the season, The Anvil and the Hammer.

Till then.

Pros:

-Show is finally developing a good use of Bruce

-Continuing momentum has potential to build to a strong finale

Cons:

-While Barbara is at least a bit more relevant again…did it have to be like this?

-Nygma’s plot is in an alright spot now, but I grow concerned about how this could go from here

Rating: 3.5/5

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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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Guyinthe3rdrow

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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