Caution: This review contains spoilers.
We’ve known for a while that there’s a war brewing in “Gotham,” which introduced some new players into the mix. The first is Harvey Dent (Nicholas D’Agosto), who makes use of a two-headed coin in his bets with juvenile delinquents, offering them second chances. He’s also assisting Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) in moving the Wayne murder case along. There’s a new baddie as well, Dick Lovecraft (a reference to author H.P. Lovecraft, one might say); the millionaire (Al Sapienza) may have been behind the Wayne murders, as he had a feud with Thomas Wayne.
As with previous chapters, “Gotham” suffers at times from actors who tend to overdo their scenes. It happens a bit with D’Agosto as Dent. It’s far better when there are more nuances and subtleties in the performances, as with someone as seasoned as Sean Pertwee (Alfred) or even the electrifying Robin Lord Taylor (Penguin). This chapter fairly well balanced, as it didn’t try to take on too many characters and too many plot points at once.
Meanwhile, Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) and Jim investigate the breakout of Ian Hargrove (Leslie Odom, Jr.), a bomb maker who was taken Fish Mooney’s crew (Jada Pinkett Smith). It’s a rather straightforward procedural segment with the expected purpose: Fish is targeting Falcone’s (John Doman) financial assets at the Gotham Armory as her revenge for Nikolai’s death. The very short exchanges between Fish and Penguin are so superb, especially with this new layer of Penguin having more power at his disposal.
Jim is distracted and in low spirits (he always looks serious though) because Barbara (Erin Richards) is gone. I’d speculated in an earlier post that Barbara would probably be the one to bail on the relationship. Interestingly enough, she appears to have gone back to Montoya. It’s sort of annoying as it just seems like a tactic to score some more points.
Perhaps the most enjoyable thread in this installment is Selina Kyle’s (Camren Bicondova) arrival at Wayne Manor. Alfred thinks that Jim’s idea is not good, as it might hurt Bruce (David Mazouz). It’s always great to see the Bruce and Alfred moments because of the interplay of Alfred’s protective instincts with his duty to follow Bruce’s wishes. Alfred generally is portrayed with a warm and at times sarcastic politeness in other versions of Batman, so it’s a relief to see a spin on things with the butler’s gruffness and underlying dangerous side.
Here Bruce wrestles with two problems: learning how to act around another kid and the stark reality that his weird training exercises won’t cut it in the rough streets of Gotham. Selina has also been a loner among children her age, so just as equally a learning experience for her. Ultimately, Selina and Bruce are able to connect in the innocent play of a food fight, a ruckus that Alfred can’t bring himself to interrupt. For now, Selina gets to reside at Wayne Manor.
That brings us to the mid-season finale, which appears to promise more fast-paced developments. In “Lovecraft,” Batkid and Catkid (sorry, I couldn’t resist) are on the run from the bad guys. Of course, that means we’ll probably get to see more of why Alfred is the perfect bodyguard for Bruce. Tune in tomorrow to find out!
“Gotham” airs Monday evenings at 8|7c on FOX.