Gotham: Harvey Dent review S1, Ep. 9

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.

Gotham - Harvey Dent - Bruce and SelinaMontoya 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.

Gotham - Harvey Dent - Bruce and AlfredMeanwhile, 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.

Gotham - Harvey Dent - Montoya, Allen and DentTonight’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.

Barbara and Montoya Gotham kissing

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?

  • keith

    i only finished 1/4 but I hate barb. more later

  • You and me both, buddy.

  • keith

    This was a good bruce and “kat”(ugh) episode. This version of alfred is growing on me. sometimes its hard to follow the accent but he is quite humorous in a way. As much as I may like it.. the barb and toya thing is soooooo stupid. so like you say one who hunts the big criminals and the other goofball who trys to hunt crooked police(when the whole damn office is corrupt) isnt even safer. Yeah Jim is hot and in the thick of things, but she would have been better to be introduce in season 3. I need her to vanish off season 2 or a GOOOOOD BIT OF IT

  • Yeah, they were definitely the highlight of the episode. I’m warming up to Alfred too.

    I agree especially since the show can’t figure out what the heck to do with her. Bringing her in later could have made her much more relevant.

  • keith

    She apparently is some rich bi sexually ( or just gay, she need to stop fooling herself lol) smack head that hard working people get put in a daze and want to take care of this useless waste of space. On another note.. the clash of modern/past days gone by is still fun. The streets look like the 70’s/90s. The cops are 60/70 ish. Mobsters are from the 60’s to current… and when nyma says you all like video games.. I was like huh… then jim cell phone rung lol. It may drive some “batty” but it is a strange touch consistency there. Same way with the cartoon though.. Gotham where a guy with baseball running numbers is just as common as guy who make high tech bombs… and deadly metal spikes… why the hell wont they just say f it im moving lol. Do any one in the comics just say alright.. I cant take this ish any more?

  • Sorry. This got caught in the spam filter.

    It is an interesting clash of styles with the designs! Gotham is kinda like New York — some fantastic parts and then some not so great parts. Batman normally spends his time in that part while he has to play Bruce Wayne in the rich parts.

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