Series Issues: Gotham 1×04 – Arkham

(Source: FOX Networks)

(Source: FOX Networks)

Spoilers lurk about…

The bad news first. The cliffhanger from last week’s episode is deluded quite fast. Barbara Kean falls for the “old friend” routine. I think anyone would’ve been able to read it in Jim Gordon’s face. Do not let this guy in. Specially Barbara, who should know this was the lamest of improvisations. But with a fake name and a new suit, Oswald Cobblepot is suddenly an old friend of Jim’s from the office. This was a disservice to the character and the intelligence of Barbara.

Now there was something good in Gotham 1×04: Arkham this week.

Oswald wants to help Jim. Well, actually he wants to help himself to a little revenge and he thinks Jim can help with that. Or perhaps he’s a bit delusional in what exactly he’s doing. Robin Lord Taylor is that good at playing the character, and by the far the most complex and interesting villain to watch. On a sidenote, Robin Lord Taylor plays “Sam” the first character who gets his throat cut at Terminus on The Walking Dead’s Season 5 premiere.

But back to Gotham, where Cobblepot is indeed working up the ladder of organized crime. A hit on Maroni leaves a lot of bodies but one living witness. Oswald has managed to hide himself in one of the freezers (a nod to his future temperature of choice) and secure a bag away from the hit. His reward is getting promoted to restaurant manager.

Yes, there’s a baddie of the week. A guy with a tube that produces a spike. That’s it? Hey look at my tube, he tells one of his victims’ bodyguards and he does. And presses the button. And gets killed.  And that’s it? Wait, this is a dangerous guy? We are aware that other people have guns, right? I hear bullets come out of those.

Meanwhile, Fish Mooney is auditioning singers. Or killers. Not quite sure which. When she gets her top two, she goes for the knockout rounds. Which means to fight each other. I’m not quite sure what the whole point of this was, except getting a singer that can deliver a punch or two. I’m a bit confused with what was gained.

Bruce gets another visit from Gordon as he’s worried that the killings of the spike-tube-guy (hey there’s a guy with a tube, get out gun BANG, let’s grab some donuts) are about to trigger a gang war. Specially since the next victim is burned to a crisp in the middle of the courtyard of Arkham Asylum.

Best shot in the series by far is the iconic sign above the gate entrance to the place. I must confess that was really nice to see, and straight out of the comics. I wish it would’ve been a better murder… Wait, did I just wrote that? Okey, sorry. Not to go all dark on my readership but it’s supposed to be Arkham Asylum. We have to do it justice. Even if it’s creepy justice.

Bruce goes amateur detective as he receives another visit from Gordon and claims that the Arkham project was his parents’ legacy. Unfortunately the two different projects right now are backed by Maroni and Falcone. The major, once again played by Richard Kind, is backing the plan from Falcone until tube-spike-killer guy, who seems to be in Maroni’s payroll, tries to kill him. Saved by Gordon and Bullock, who actually have guns, the major is still shaken and splits the district in two, giving both gangsters their share.

Other than the Arkham Asylum featured in the plot, I didn’t quite see a threat there. Someone tell me how did tube-spike guy took out the officers in the three police cars. Were the officers unarmed? Did they chose not to intervene while the first guy got killed?

For the real entertaining plot, we find out the Penguin – Oswald Cobblepot almost ready to jump into a Tim Burton movie, is the man pulling the strings. He meets his robber crew and offers them poisoned canolis. Anybody else thinking these guys were not the brightest of bulbs? Well… I guess that’s why they got the job.

Gordon finally draws a line in the sand and explains to Barb- actually, he doesn’t. He just tells her he’s going to keep secrets from her. Barbara comes back with an ultimatum: “Let me in or let me go.” She has a point. This is the time in which Gordon finally confronts her about Montoya and learns that the two women have a past. This is a fight in which nobody wins and both of them walk away. Listen, I know we want drama but this scene was awkward and just didn’t work for me. I just don’t buy them as a couple to begin with. A little more realistic and natural-looking interaction would be better.

Overall… I could’ve fast forward through some scenes. But some are not to be missed.

Highs:

  • Oswald Cobblepot, slowly making his own nest and yes, pun intended. The scene in which we realize that he was the man who orchestrated the hit on Maroni was great. He’s the best thing on the show so far.
  • Arkham Asylum looking how it should be, scary and familiar all at once.
  • Fish Mooney auditioning her singers, looking for one with an attitude and killer instinct. Looked cool and was something different, but…

Lows:

  • Lame bad guy, lame weapon. A tube with a spike that comes out and stabs you at a close distance. Switchblades already exist. Guns already exists. Every criminal and cop in Gotham carries a gun, right?
  • Barbara Kean doesn’t suspect a thing when “Peter Humbolt” appears at her door and Gordon gets a deer-in-the-headlights look. Really? She even goes to fetch Oswald a drink. Can we make these characters more believable, please?
  • Fish Mooney auditioning her singers. What was the point of that? Getting a singer and then seeing if they can beat up someone is like getting a typical sofa bed. It either makes a lousy bed or a lousy sofa and bed. All this to say, Fish ended up with a half-ass singer that can be a half-ass killer too.
  • No comment on Bruce and Alfred this episode. Nothing lost, nothing gained.

That will do for now.

(Source: FOX Networks)

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