Gotham finds itself gripped by a vigilante joining the scene, and while “The Balloonman” may not conjure up fear and superstition in quite the same way as Gotham’s future vigilante, he certainly gets the job done in memorable style.
Structurally, Gotham’s second episode very much follows the pattern of the first, with a central A-plot giving the episode something to centre on, while the various other plot strands bubble away alongside it. However, while this third episode is familiar in some ways (Police aren’t bothered, Gordon’s the only one who cares until its in everyone’s interest), the fact that its a vigilante on the scene immediately gives events more of a hook, especially hitting home with young Bruce as he follows the Balloonman’s exploits. The foreshadowing works strongly as the man he’s going to become is teased, and this adds something to the scenes with Bruce and Alfred that I thought the second episode perhaps lacked. Here, with the vigilante angle, it feels like they’re more integrated into what’s happening in the rest of the episode.
The rest of the various plot strands continue to rumble on nicely and, even at this early stage, I’m sure we’re going to get a pretty strong pay off when things hit the fan. There’s a whole feeling in the show that something big is coming, and its nicely portended visually with storm clouds often visible in Gotham’s sky. Whether its the simmering war between Fish Mooney and Carmine Falcone, or teasing whatever secret Barbara’s keeping from Gordon, there’s no doubt the show is building to something big in episodes to come. Something I like to see in a show like this, as I get the strong sense that this is a creative team that have thought about what’s going to happen.
Of course, one of the real highlights continues to be Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin. Only three episodes in, and I’m thoroughly enjoying seeing him pick himself backup after his fall from grace in the pilot. With so many of the other characters writing him off as a joke in the pilot, I suspect they’re going to live to regret it.