Gotham: Pax Penguina review S4 Ep1

Pax Penguina got Gotham’s fourth season off to a rough start. There were some promising elements, but overall this was a disappointment on many levels.

The most irritating development was Penguin is legitimizing crime in the city. Now to commit crimes, Gotham’s underworld has to see him for a permit. By itself, that’s an interesting concept, but it quickly gets terrible when all the top Gotham officials go along with it.

Once again, Gotham is resorting to its old faithful plot of Jim Gordon being the only incorruptible authority figure. It was very annoying listening to Bullock trying to rationalize the permits. The show has advanced so much more from Bullock constantly compromising and willing to turn a blind eye to crime as necessary.

Gotham Pax Penguina review - Gordon and Bullock in bank

Gordon getting beaten down by some of his fellow officers also felt stupid. The writers seem to think that putting Gordon against everyone else makes him more heroic and likable. Compared to these guys he is, but fixing Gordon’s personality — making him less headstrong and irrational — would accomplish more than making everyone else trash. That goes for the new director of Arkham Asylum, who lets some thugs take Jonathan Crane in hopes of using his fear gas.

Maybe this whole Pax Penguina thing is annoying because this would have been the ideal storyline to use last year. You know, when Penguin was mayor and could make this policy a law. Instead, he pined after Ed and never got all that interested in crime prevention or solidifying his criminal base. Now it feels like too little too late.

Gotham Pax Penguina review - frozen Riddler

The new Iceberg Lounge was also underwhelming. Granted, I wasn’t expecting a club on a yacht or an ice-domed palace, but a new location would have been nice. The former Sirens building got plenty of use last season when Barbara and Tabitha were running it.

I’m still torn on Bruce being in Batman Homecoming mode already. It seems like it defeats the purpose of the series to have him becoming Batman already. That would be like Clark putting on a cape and blue sweatshirt in the fourth season of Smallville. Maybe the move to Thursdays is the first step towards cancellation and the writers are panicking to keep viewers? Being pitted against Thursday Night Football probably won’t help the ratings for Bruce and Gordon. But for Batman? Maybe.

Gotham Pax Penguina review - Bruce and Selina

To the writers’ credit, Bruce’s scenes were the strongest this episode. Even his wink wink disappearing act on Gordon. Bruce’s reconciliation with Selina was well done as their relationship remains the most engaging of the series. Selina is underway with training as well. Since that keeps Tabitha in leather clad outfits, I won’t complain.

Back to Bruce. David Mazouz is definitely getting older and his screen presence has improved every season. While I’m not quite ready to see him become Batman yet there is another Bat-character he would be perfect for … and he agrees as well.

 

For some quickly explained reason, Ivy gets annoyed with Penguin. The ensuing fray exposes him to the fear gas triggering his greatest fear — Ed coming after him. Seems like there’s an easy fix for that and it doesn’t include sticking his Popsicle in the middle of the lounge.

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Bruce felt pretty good about leading Gordon to take down the fear gas crooks. But he’s definitely got to work on his costumed presence. And his need to be a Marvel movie hero constantly taking off his mask. OK, he’s still learning to be a hero. Hopefully he’s a quick learner as Crane has overcome his fear of scarecrows and has become The Scarecrow.

I’m curious what Gotham can do with Scarecrow that we didn’t already see done so masterfully in Batman Begins. If nothing else, the rise of Batman, Catwoman and Scarecrow should make Gotham enjoyable, but the tiresome GCPD antics are quickly becoming stale.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/FOX

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