The eyes have it in this week’s goofy installment that in 44 brief minutes managed to ruin all of the hard earned goodwill the show had slowly earned over the last month. Yep, we’re back to bad, bad “Gotham” with some soap opera-esque antics, eye rolling inducing out of character moments and no Leslie. For those on the fence viewers wondering if the show was starting to hit its stride and was worth watching weekly again, tonight’s episode effectively killed those hopes and marked a far safer jumping off point.
Lemme get the good out of the way as that will be far easier to sum up.
A five-man team of bank robbers is terrorizing the city. This week, Gordon and Bullock aren’t homicide detectives and are trying to find some clues to this gang, led by a jokingly charismatic man wearing a red hood. To help facilitate their escape from the GCPD, the Red Hood tosses out some money to create a traffic jam.
The Red Hood is amazed the bank guard couldn’t hit him even after shooting five shots, attributing the guard’s shoddy aim to his intimidating hood. He gets the bright idea that since he’s wearing the hood, he should be in charge. One of his fellow crooks agrees in theory with that proclamation and shoots him to claim the hood.
Gordon and Bullock track the robbers down thanks to an eyewitness and find the Red Hood gang keeps shedding their ranks in a murderous power struggle. Gordon and Bullock find the second Red Hood, named Destro (as a G.I. Joe fan, I found that cute), suffering from a gunshot after another member wanted the hood to impress his girlfriend. Gordon tries to guide the audience along with the writers by saying that as long as someone is wearing the hood, the Red Hood Gang can live on forever. Or until he becomes The Joker. Your pick.
At the final bank the gang planned to rob, in revenge for Destro not being able to get a loan to set up his bakery, all three remaining members are gunned down. It was simple, understated and let Gordon and Bullock simply do some investigative work in tracking down some criminals.
In the other decent storyline, Alfred’s friend and fellow soldier, Reggie (David O’Hara) drops by Wayne Manor for a visit. He reminisces with Alfred over their wartime experiences and helps Bruce learn how to fight dirty. Alfred begins to worry that Reggie will take Bruce down a dark path or reveal too much information on Alfred’s past and tells him to leave. Before he goes, Reggie steals some stuff and when confronted by Alfred, stabs his old friend. Bruce finds a bloody Alfred just in time to prevent another tragedy. This was a nice bit of suspense as the show has strayed so far from regular comic book continuity there was no telling if they’d do something as bold as kill of Alfred. But the actual reasons for Reggie’s visit is on the other side of the spectrum. Grab a seat, this is gonna take awhile.
Reggie is working with the shady branch of Wayne Enterprises, who are somehow concerned that Bruce is a dangerous threat to their EVIL schemes. Reggie somehow decides to grow a conscious and tells the board members that Bruce is just a good kid. They weren’t impressed so the plan to kill Bruce Wayne is still a go. On one hand, this is giving Bruce a better storyline than his remedial “How to be a vigilante” experiences he had been stuck with most of the season, but this shady Wayne board feels more like soap opera villains than a credible threat to Bruce and Alfred.
For our needless Penguin subplot of the week, Penguin is still struggling to get business roaring at his club. The problem is only exacerbated when the bartenders tell him they’re out of booze. Butch — Fish’s former right-hand man now Zsasz puppet — explains that Maroni runs all the booze in this section of Gotham, but he’ll help Penguin since he invested a lot of blood, sweat and tears with Fish making it successful. The Penguin/Butch pairing has potential, but they weren’t needed this week.
Kat checks in on somewhat suicidal Barbara. Apparently Barbara is ready to have her own space again and offers Ivy and Kat anything from her closet that will fit. Barbara tells Kat her beauty can be a weapon and she can use it to get whatever she wants. Huh? So last week stoner Barbara was chasing after Gordon and now she’s turning into Fish trying to turn a pre-teen into a weapon? The writers have no clue what to do with Barbara and they just need to kill off her character. She’s too damaged and inconsistently written to be of any use at this point.
And a small, but slightly annoying bit with the Red Hood subplot. After the shootout and police are continuing their investigation, a teen picks up the hood, which bizarrely was just left unattended. Would it have been too much trouble to just show a the kid at home cutting out his own red hood??
Lastly, time for the most insane storyline this season. Fish Mooney has negotiated a meeting with the prison boss. Instead of finding a barricaded, caged door, she’s taken to an office where a man clad in a suit tells her he’s been authorized by Dr. Dollmaker to handle Fish’s demands. Fish is a bit freaked out over the involuntary prison organ donors she passed en route to the meeting, but immediately starts barking out demands as if she were in a position of power. When she learns the doctor wants her eyes, Fish takes a spoon, yanks her left out and squishes it.
This scene was actively terrible and a laughably out of character action by Fish, who has always just talked her way out of situations. It seemed way too early in the negotiation process for Fish to just decide to take an eye out. And this is somehow the action of the would-be ruler of Gotham’s underground??
Not gonna lie, this one was rough to sit through. Every time “Gotham” seems to have turned the corner, we get another episode like this that makes you realize it’s never going to be anything more than the most maddeningly inconsistent and frustrating of all the comic book based TV shows around and expecting a turnaround at this point is just wishful thinking.