Gotham Season 1 Episode 2
Reviewed by Alan
With this second episode, Gotham quickly moves to build on the strengths of its pilot with Gordon’s position as the one honest cop in the precinct quickly starting to wear on him (possibly even quicker than I might have expected, thanks to the events towards the end of the pilot). Key elements that were put in place continue to get attention, as lots of different plot strands get their time to shine in the episode, and we’re given much more focus on the young Catwoman who was glimpsed last week.
Of course, given the episode title, its no surprise that we see a lot more of Selina Kyle this week. While only a teenager, she’s still recognisable as the future Catwoman, thanks to her tendency to climb high places, and her goggles that evoke the ears she’ll wear in years to come (while also being a nice visual nod to some of the more recent Catwoman outfits in the comics). And she seems pretty well served here, with a plot designed to showcase her resourcefulness while also bringing her onto Gordon’s radar and establishing a relationship between the two characters while moving on the main story.
My big complaint of the previous week, the continual ramming in of comic book cameos, was much toned down this week. Edward Nygma (the Riddler to you and me) still seems pretty forced, but its early days yet so I have to assume he’ll get some focus in the episodes to come.
What this episode does well is progressing the various plot strands while also looking after its plot of the week. Homeless people are going missing, and in corrupt Gotham, there’s precious few who care. As an A-plot, its a familiar one, but it works well to showcase Selina (or Cat as she prefers to be called, incase anyone hasn’t figured out she’s going to be Catwoman). On top of this, we’re treated to a variety of B-plots. We have a great scene between Jada Pinkett Smith’s Fish Mooney and John Doman’s Carmine Falcone as we see the sides being set for the inevitable gang war.
Bruce Wayne and Alfred perhaps felt less necessary this week, however seeing Alfred’s struggling in the aftermath of Thomas’ and Martha’s murders with Bruce is interesting, if perhaps not entirely pitched quite right. Alfred’s anger and concern didn’t feel quite balanced correctly, although that’s perhaps down to the episode juggling a lot. Personally I’d like a bit more focus on Alfred trying to cope and being a non-parent thrown into that role. It shows promise from what we see in episode two, although finding a way to better integrate Bruce and Alfred into the rest of what’s going on may prove tricky.
The real highlight of the episode with Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin (or perhaps I shouldn’t call him that). If we assume the endgame is in line with the comics and the Penguin becoming one of the big players in Gotham, its fun to see him starting out at the bottom. In that regard, he and Selina present probably two of the most intriguing characters in the show.
Overall the episode does a good job of building momentum in the show, which is key in these early days with so many plot arcs being put into place. This episode makes me think that this is a show that wants to put effort into moving these forward and not just focus on the storyline of the week though, and that’s a good thing.
Gotham airs Monday night at 9pm on Channel 5.