Gotham: The Balloonman review S1, Ep. 3

Gotham has its first appearance of a vigilante, but this one has a unique way of dealing with the city’s corruption.

We open with a crooked businessman looking to escape a mob of reporters. He leaves out a side door only to get cornered by a mysterious masked man who cuffs him to a weather balloon, which sends him flying in the air.

Gordon and Bullock are debating the incident, but for some odd reason, Bullock is taking the moral high ground this time insisting that a shady businessman got what he deserved. This is from the same character who’s in bed with the mob?? Terrific, so now Bullock is going to be written inconsistent from week to week.

gotham-balloonman-selina and gordonBefore they can investigate this week’s case, it’s time for “Gordon and his Weekly Chat with The Kids.” Selina gets the spotlight as Gordon takes her to the scene of the Waynes’ murder so she can sorta tell him she saw who killed Thomas and Martha without saying anything that would wrap up the season’s big mystery. Gordon has a completely different attitude with Selina this week fully disregarding her credibility even though she helped him nab The Dollmaker’s goons last week. The writers really needed to get together as the characters are not lining up with their actions from week to week.

Continuing our weekly check-in with all the principal cast, Fish is greeted by Montoya and Allen. They’re curious about what happened to Oswald and Fish tips them off that Gordon killed Oswald. Allen and Montoya are the worst detectives ever. They get one tip and run with it simply off of hearsay, no substantial evidence necessary. So of course they promptly confront Gordon asking if he killed Oswald. Montoya and Allen scenes are quickly becoming fast-forward bait.

Oswald has made his way back to Gotham, but he gets made by one of Fish’s goons who is happy to report the news to his boss. This leads us to our obligatory Penguin is a psycho murderer scene. The show feels like it’s written with certain episode benchmarks that must be clicked off (Gordon and Bruce/Selina, a riff with Gordon/Bullock, Fish preening, Gordon/Barbara and clueless Montoya/Allen and Penguin murder scene) and there’s only so much time for an actual story to develop each episode.

gotham-balloonman-montoya and allenAt Wayne Manor, Alfred is teaching Bruce how to fence, but they knock over the police files on the Wayne murder case. Bruce is searching for clues because (spoiler) he’s gonna be Batman. These weekly foreshadowing of Bruce becoming Batman are becoming redundant and frustrating because there won’t be any real payoff on “Gotham.” I know the writers feel he’s essential, but Gordon has to be the show’s focal point and Bruce at this stage, doesn’t have to appear on every episode.

Bullock and Gordon are clashing on Lt. Cranston, another crooked GCPD cop. This time the tension seems forced and it’s probably because it’s been a weekly staple. An episode with them on the same page would help freshen the dynamic between the two.

Gotham-The-BalloonmanCranston is shaking down a drug dealer when he’s confronted by The Balloonman and he goes for a flight. I was confused though. Did Cranston not have his gun on him? Bullock and Gordon track down the balloon supplier and learn there’s more balloons out there.

Meanwhile, Montoya used her old key to get into Barbara’s apartment. To give her an edge and some semblance of a subplot, Barbara is getting high. Montoya warns Barbara that Gordon is shady and killed Oswald and she doesn’t want Gordon to hurt her. Montoya kisses Barbara, but she wants none of it and tells her ex-girlfriend to get out. This subplot is really contrived and is such a weak way to tie Montoya into the Gordon/Barbara storyline.

The Ballonman has struck again. This time, against a pedophile and his latest actions are rallying Gotham’s citizens eager to see who he’ll take down next. Gordon and Bullock track down the balloon supplier’s teen employee. He’s not The Balloonman, but tells them the balloons and the victims will eventually come plummeting back to Earth. Cue Cranston’s falling body landing on a woman in an absurd scene. We don’t see the collision, but we hear the squish. That was a near horror movie scene and the show keeps flirting with these unnecessarily semi-gory scenes.

gotham-balloonman-ben-mckenzie-as gordonGordon and Bullock find the real Balloonman, but not before he pulls a gun on Bullock. Balloonman has a pointed conversation with Gordon about how the corruption in Gotham has overrun the city and it needs people to stand against it. This was a rare case where the writers subtly worked in the need for someone to do what Gordon can’t without just making us wait until Batman arrives and not surprisingly, it was one of the series’ best moments. Balloonman tries to snare Bullock, but gets caught in his own trap. Gordon jumps after him and Bullock wants Gordon to jump and let Balloonman fly off to his ironic death, but Gordon convinces him to shoot the balloon so BM can be brought to justice. While being carted off, BM promises there will be more vigilantes. Yeah, in another 15 years or so, but who’s counting?

Bruce watches the news report on a The Balloonman and the newscaster utters this embarrassingly bad bit of dialogue: ‘Now The Balloonman is gone, who will defend the people of Gotham??’ Ugh.

Gordon and Barbara are having some quiet time. Barbara is hinting that Gordon can tell her anything, including killing Oswald, but she’s satisfied with his answer for now. Before they get to enjoy their quiet time, there’s a knock on the door and surprise, surprise, it’s Oswald.

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Next week could prove interesting, especially once Bullock or Fish learn Oswald is back.

What this episode did right: No needless Edward Nygma scene. It’ll mean more when he shows up again instead of a random cameo.
What this episode did wrong: Still too much young Bruce, focus on too many subplots when Gordon should just be able to carry an episode.


  • keith

    I agree with you, but something tells me you dont like it. Im fine with bullock being that way. he is a slob and a crooked cop.. but even thugs care about old lady losing their pension. What if his auntie got scamed out of some dough. I been around thugs. Thugs are inconsistent folks man lol. Just look at the scene where cobblebots new boss did a Hail Mary while saying preists shouldnt be killed… at least not in public. The duality of man i guess.

    Now where i alllll the way agree with you, im sick of motoyan and allen already. They suck bring the show to screeching halt when we know bullock and jim are better smarter cops then them on their best day. I am not homophomic but is toya this way in the books? seems unneeded and really messes of a character i love in the animated series who i saw as a good hero cop. this chick as montoya is good looking enough with the roughness of a GCPC but if they say want to kill her and barabara off in a twist, I wont mind. Has barabara had clothes on any episode. I guess having her being a ex drug addict seems fitting. She just seems to lay on her but, looks depressed and worry the hell out of jim. yet again good looking but not needed. I need a 2 week break of her and her ex buddy. they should only appear for every other episode. How is that arrow writers got this right away? action more of it and keep buidling? The balloon man the horror humor was nice. I can take a small break from Kat as well. But keep feeding me fish, cobblepot (great humor and horror with this one), and falcone, our weekly crooked cop reveal, and what donal whats to say out his angry slob of a mouth lol

  • keith

    my wife thinks it is demented and kind of hates the extra violence. I feel the same way with all of thoseblack people image destroying reality shows she watches lol

  • I suppose, but the mob is doing far worse to the city than one small-scale corrupt businessman and Bullock seems perfectly fine with that.

    I don’t remember if she was initially created as a lesbian, but Montoya has definitely been one in the comics for years so that’s not something new.

    Putting her in a relationship with Barbara is a new, unneeded wrinkle for the show though and it’s that lame annoying connection you’ll see like the two black guys are brothers, the two black people on a show have to end up with each other that annoys me. Giving Montoya a separate relationship would make her a more fleshed-out character instead of another appendage on the Gordon personal life subplot.

    “Arrow” didn’t have everything perfect right away, but the creators got the kinks out fairly quickly so there’s hope that “Gotham” will do the same, but with the limited scope of the series, I have a lot more doubts.

  • It’s a bit gory for an 8 p.m. show especially considering it’s not really needed.

  • keith

    so are you amped for flash and arrow’s return. im just mad that i cant get the shows on tv. Thank God for the CW app. I have to be in on those shows are I may miss an episode. I have Dish and I think they dont have the ability to carry the tween/hero station

  • Man, that would be enough reason to drop Dish for me! 😉

    Yeah, I’m very psyched for them. Looking forward to seeing how these seasons will turn out!