And the streak of consecutive good episodes of Gotham ends at two. This week’s outing had a lot happening with the introduction of a major character in the Batman mythos, Bruce rediscovering his smile, another development in the slow-brewing gang war and a shocking cliffhanger that should surprise no one whose watched the show since its start, but this was a largely an episode you could easily skip.
Gordon brings Selina to his place — a questionable move considering Bullock’s pad would be far less obvious as no one would expect Bullock to have a pre-teen mouthing off — and finds Barbara’s “Dear Jim” letter. She explains she’s a mess and he doesn’t need that right now. I’ll go into this further later, but the writers clearly have no clue what to do with Barbara as the moment Gordon lets her in like she practically begged through the first half of the season, she runs off because it’s too hectic as if she had no clue a police detective’s life would be complicated and dangerous.
Montoya and Allen introduce Gordon to a young hotshot District Attorney, Harvey Dent (Nicholas D’Agosto) who has a theory on a businessman that could have played a role in the Wayne murders. Dent just needs Gordon’s permission to spread a story that a witness has been found that can connect the businessman to the murders. Gordon agrees and asks Alfred if Selina can crash at Wayne Manor for awhile. Indicating he may be the last person with sense on the show, Alfred wants none of it.
This leads to Bruce actually getting the best arc in an episode for the first time the series started. While it’s ridiculously forced to have young Bruce and Selina playing roommates already, it was a welcome shift in tone to have Bruce being nervous, smitten and acting like a kid with a crush. Selina can’t figure out the rich kid who wants to be more disciplined and focused, but more importantly, her arrival finally allows Bruce to revert to being a child again and not this manic junior detective. It makes Selina breaking into Wayne Manor a few weeks back look even worse in hindsight while hinting at a major lack of continuity.
Meanwhile, Gordon and Bullock try and track down Ian Hargrove (Leslie Odom Jr., Red Tails), a bomb maker who was broken out of police custody. Ian’s brother assures them that Ian doesn’t want to hurt anyone and is just mentally disturbed and badly in need of help. The show has gotten much stronger from having Bullock firmly on Team Gordon as Bullock is legitimately concerned about Gordon looking down about Barbara, but this episode frustratingly didn’t spend much time on this developing partnership, one of the few subplots the show got right from the start.
Turns out Hargrove really wasn’t evil. He was busted out of prison by some of Nikolai’s men. Nikolai, you’ll remember, got killed in Penguin’s Umbrella and Fish responded by aligning with his former men to help in her plot against Falcone. Gordon and Bullock track Hargrove down thanks to an actual beneficial assist from Nygma, who is thrilled to be of use. His second attempt at wowing them doesn’t pan out so well, but it was nice to see Nygma impress Bullock for a change.
Tonight’s music was the MVP, particularly in the Penguin scenes. The score had a decidedly dark, quirky edge to it and felt very appropriate for Gotham. Penguin has been featured in every episode, but this week felt more like he got the Selina Slot where he’s shown just to remind us he’s still there. He breaks in to Liza’s place and confirms that she’s Fish’s mole within Falcone’s camp. He won’t ruin her secret though and tells her not to spill that info to anyone. So basically, just keep doing what you’re doing. Good talk, Penguin.
D’Agosto gets to foreshadow his Two-Face destiny in a more subtle manner than tossing his double-sided coin on and on. D’Agosto seems to be a smart addition to the cast, but watching Gordon and Dent team up had me yearning for a Batman: The Long Halloween adaptation.
Hargrove’s issues and Gordon ripping him a new one are enough to convince Mayor James to open Arkham back up for the criminally insane so now the show has a dumping ground for all the nut-jobs before Batman arrives.
The episode wraps wasting time on the show’s biggest anchor. Gordon is leaving a message for Barbara who we see in bed as if contemplating the message. The writers intend to have this big dramatic OMG!!! shocking reveal of her in bed with Montoya, but it’s terribly anticlimactic. Gotham Barbara is solely defined by her relationships to Gordon or Montoya and since she’s not with Gordon it wasn’t a big surprise that she’s back with Montoya. I’m confused how hooking back up with Montoya, who is ALSO a cop will make life any easier for Barbara, a character the writers can’t help but make bizarrely inconsistent from week to week.
Next week is the mid-season finale. Maybe Gordon will learn his good buddy and new ally Montoya is sleeping with his girlfriend (BTW, is Barbara still paying the rent at the place Gordon’s staying at?). I’m hoping for more excitement with the gang wars as that’s the show’s most reliable storyline. What did you think of this one?