In the latest Gotham recap, Selina “Call Me Cat” Kyle moves in with Bruce Wayne, Harvey Dent is introduced and the crime of the week is a rather dull endeavor….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
They can’t all be good.
Last week, “Gotham” landed on Monday night’s doorstep with a resounding thud, which was disappointing considering the back-to-back weeks of fantastic episodes that really felt like a watershed moment for the fledgling series. Then last two weeks have then catapulted back to the weak procedural, crime of the week drama that mired this show in monotony for many of the first six or seven episodes. Not to beat the drum on this fact, but “Gotham” is slated for a 22-episode freshman season. In today’s high impact, dramatic world many similar series are doing this in 13-episodes or maybe 16 if they’re really pushing it.
I’m betting when “Gotham” ends its freshman run, I could easily pick out six to seven episodes that were almost throwaways. Episodes that didn’t bother to move the plot along very much and the “crime of the week” format got old, stale or just plain stupid. Unfortunately that’s where we end up with this week’s episode of “Gotham” titled “Harvey Dent”, which is meant to introduce us to the titular character who will one day become Two-Face, but his screen time is so limited when the hour was over I was asking “Harvey who?”.
There wasn’t much meat on the bone this week, but let’s salvage through the wreckage to see what happened (or didn’t happen) in this week’s episode of “Gotham”.
The episode picks up with Jim Gordon arriving home with Selina “Call Me Cat” Kyle in tow. She’s decided to cooperate and identify the man responsible for killing Thomas and Martha Wayne because anything is better than going back to those children’s homes she keeps breaking out of every week. When Jim arrives to his palatial apartment (that belongs to Barbara), he finds a “Dear Jim” letter (in Barbara’s apartment) that she’s leaving him (thus leaving her own apartment).
Needless to say I’ve had issues with the Barbara character all season long. She’s been given no actual story of her own and the only time we see her are those rare moments when Gordon needs a hug or something. She cries and drinks a lot apparently and the only way to spice things up was to introduce the fact that in a past life she was a lesbian with Officer Montoya from the Major Crimes Unit. So it’s even more frustrating when she pens a note to Jim saying goodbye for all the problems she’s causing!
Let me run this back — Barbara is blaming herself for getting in Jim’s way so she has to go. I thought my head was going to explode like something out of “Scanners” when he read that aloud. Oh and the big reveal at the end of the episode when Jim finally gets around to calling his wayward girlfriend is the fact that she’s gone back to her lesbian ways and end up in bed with Montoya again. So scandalous.
I think the problem with the Barbara character is she was implanted in this show already dangling off of Jim’s arm. Maybe if they had to go through the dating ritual or there was some plot explaining how they got together, this might all mean more, but right now I can’t think of a more vapid character on all of television that Barbara Keen.
Back to the actual story tonight….
Jim’s plan for Selina “Call Me Cat” Kyle is to get her to describe the Wayne murderer to a police sketch artist and then stash her at Wayne Manor where she will live for the time being because it’s safe there, far away from the reach of whoever actually killed the wealthy Gothamites. There’s no need to explore the chances that a 12 or 13-year old girl would be remanded to a house where the only parent is a British butler, who has no actual relation to the kid living there, but that’s just nitpicking.
This week we met Assistant District Attorney Harvey Dent for the first time. Dent is a very famous character in the Batman canon of characters, mostly notable for one day becoming the vile gangster known as Two-Face. Here he’s just a prosecutor who looks about two weeks out of law school. He’s one of the good guys trying to clean up Gotham. You know how we find out? Because he tells us he’s one of the good guys trying to clean up Gotham.
It’s these over the head tactics that make “Gotham” so frustrating sometimes. Like Edward Nygma popping on the screen and immediately for no reason whatsoever uttering the words “do you want to hear a riddle?”. Besides Dent’s do-gooder status being established, he’s flipping a coin with two heads on it in the first few seconds we meet him. A general groan should go up from the audience at this point.
Dent wants to work with Gordon to bring down the people who killed the Waynes, but the problem is he’s not looking at Falcone or Maroni for the crime. No, he’s interested in a guy named Dick Lovecraft (some writer discovered this was his porn name and decided to make it a character, has to be). Dick Lovecraft is a billionaire, who had dealings with Falcone, Maroni and butted heads quite often with Thomas Wayne over different projects, most notably the Arkham deal that went through a few weeks ago. On a positive note, Lovecraft was played by Al Sapienza, better known to fans of “The Sopranos” as Mikey Palmice.
The not so subtle camera angles used on Dent show him constantly with one side of his face in the shadows, as if to suggest that he already has Two Faces. Get it? He tries to rattle Lovecraft’s cage by telling him they have a witness in the Wayne murder case and it all leads back to him. The crafty billionaire doesn’t blink so Dent flips out and grabs the guy before proclaiming that he’s going to rip him to shreds. So yeah, no actual character progression here. Dent goes from mild-mannered, coin flipping hero wanna-be to a throat grabbing psycho in 2.1 seconds. Good to know.
Later when he sees Jim at the precinct, Harvey raves about how he’s got Lovecraft on the run and he’s sure this is his man. My guess is Lovecraft definitely isn’t the guy and Dent will end up looking like a goof.
Let’s Blow Stuff Up
The crime of the week this week was extremely mundane and almost forgettable so here’s a brief rundown.
A man known for making bombs is kidnapped from a prisoner transport by a group of Russian thugs, who were loyal to Nikolai (the Russian gangster hooking up with Fish and quietly plotting against Falcone). They use him to blow up some ammunition factories to get their hands on an even more dangerous explosive, which they in turn use to go after a long time hidden safe where Falcone hides his billions.
Gordon and Bullock foil the crime, but not before Fish Mooney blows up the final truck with all the Russians inside and a ton of Falcone’s money. Her motivation was to hurt Falcone, not actually get the money for herself.
The subplot to this story was the fact that the mad bomber — Ian Hargrove — was a mentally ill prisoner receiving no actual treatment at Blackgate Prison. His escape and use as a tool for even more dangerous people leads the Mayor to re-open Arkham Asylum, where the criminally insane can get the proper mental treatment they need as opposed to just being locked up in prison.
Oswald’s appearance this episode was for the sole reason to flush out the mole that was working in Carmine Falcone’s operation. Since the reveal a few weeks back that Oswald has always been on Falcone’s payroll, the chances he’s taking to back up his boss have been pretty evident. This week he’s searching for the person who has been hiding out in Falcone’s operation as a mole for Fish Mooney.
Oswald quickly ascertains it must be Liza, the 20-something debutant that suddenly can’t get enough time with the aging mobster. When he stops by her place for a visit (while she’s not at home), he finds a slip on her bed and after sniffing it intensely (yeah that happened) he determines the scent is lilacs. A bit later Oswald pops up at Fish Mooney’s club with no warning, smells her, confirms it’s lilacs and leaves again. Again, heavy handed story telling but I guess it works.
So Oswald goes back to Liza’s and confronts her about being the inside (wo)man at Falcone’s operation. He’s about to call the boss when she cops to the crime and sobs at the prospect of being outed. This girl would be the worst undercover agent in the history of the world.
Instead of turning her over, Oswald instead decides to instruct Liza to keep doing what she’s doing, working over Falcone and working for Fish Mooney. But of course Liza now owes him a favor, which he will most certainly cash in sooner or later.
Over at stately Wayne manor, Selina “Call Me Cat” Kyle is settling into her new digs, much to the chagrin of Alfred the butler, who doesn’t like this little scamp running around his house and demanding food at ungodly hours like 10am. He wants her gone, but he can’t help but notice Bruce has perked up quite a bit since she’s arrived.
Bruce is also working on his UFC debut by honing his boxing skills and staying underwater for as long as he possibly can because he knows one day he’ll have to fight for his life. Selina mocks the poor kid because she knows all the technical boxing and breathing skill won’t do squat on the street when somebody pulls a gun or a knife on him.
Bruce spends the rest of the episode chasing her around like a lost puppy dog and at one point Selina “Call Me Cat” Kyle even offers him a food fighting game where the reward is a kiss, if only he can hit her with a dinner roll. It’s a little unsettling watching the flirtations of pre-teens, but I get the point that they are laying the groundwork for a long and difficult relationship between Bruce and Selina that will last well into adult hood.
When Alfred realizes that Bruce is finally starting to act like a kid again with Selina “Call Me Cat” Kyle around, he opts to allow the girl to stay at Wayne Manor where he will apparently raise both of them while still calling a 12-year old boy “master”.
Again, a frustrating lack of direction episode that makes two in a row for “Gotham”. Not even the introduction of an iconic character like Harvey Dent could stop this train from derailing about 10 minutes into the episode. Hopefully, things pick up again next week and we return to the plot and story that were making “Gotham” a must see television show. One can only hope.
Make sure to come back for the next episode of “Gotham” on Monday night at 8pm ET on FOX.