News Editor Laura and Staff Writer Ardo chat about Gotham.
L: For an episode titled “Selina Kyle,” we didn’t see nearly as much of her as I would have thought!
A: This episode was pretty fun but, of course, I had my issues.
L: It worked okay for me until the last ten minutes or so, which were so stuffed full of conveniences it took away from a lot of the mystery. What worked or didn’t for you?
A: Right off the bat (hahaha. Puns!), I liked the absurdity in our villains—which is what the Batman Rogues are known for or will be known for. I loved the first scene with the uniformed cop, Bullock, and Gordon. It balances the dark, corrupt soul of Gotham with humour. In fact, I loved a lot of the Bullock/Gordon interactions and thought that Bullock had terrible advice regarding women. It actually cracked me up. I also love the way Penguin was depicted here. He went from sweet, polite, well mannered man to a psycho-murder in the same minute which, again, is very Gotham.
L: I definitely enjoy the Bullock-Gordon interactions! I find it interesting that Jim is still such a passive character. He’s reactive rather than proactive . . . which may be a deliberate choice mirroring his inability to hold back the swell of darkness in Gotham down the line, and why Batman feels he’s needed to take a more active role, solving problems before they happen instead of after.
Also, I enjoyed every second Cobblepot was onscreen! I can’t wait to see how they’ll end up bringing him back into the plot.
A: I had issues with Fish Mooney in this episode that I thought would be improved after the first. It feels like Pinkett-Smith is over playing the character in the scenes where she’s pretending to not be the snake and double crosser she is. I know Pinkett-Smith can act and the idea of the character makes sense but right now it’s just not working for me.
L: I agree. There’s a whole lot of scenery chewing going on there. Very VILLAINY INTENSIFIES. As for Falcone, I could give or take the old white mob boss who we know will be around in another twenty years to lock horns with Bruce. Yawn. Which actually leads me to wonder how they plan to create a show around a protagonist who’s doomed, eventually, to failure? We all know that Gotham began toppling when the Waynes were murdered, and we’re ostensibly seeing how it happens through this show. Yet we’re still going to want to root for Gordon, and Barbara, and Renee, and the Good Guys, even though we know this is a fight they’re not going to win.
How about this week’s Big Bad? I was sort of surprised to hear the Dollmaker get namedropped.
A: Honestly, I wasn’t even paying attention to the villains. They were selling kids oversees? I was too interested in Harvey/Gordon. I did love the gag they did with the guy with the gouged out eyes and the gun mishap. I laughed.
L: I still don’t know how Selina managed to both hide and sneak away from the villain on the bus. First of all, pushing down between those seats would make a lot of noise. Secondly, the other guy was standing right by the door! How did they not see or hear her?
A: Hahaha. I agree. Also, do you know how much it takes to GOUGE SOMEONE’S EYES OUT OF THEIR SOCKETS??? 1) it’s particularly brutal for mini Catwoman so I’m surprised that it wasn’t shown on screen to establish her character, but also the emotional repercussions of doing it weren’t shown. 2) WHERE WAS THE BLOOD ON HER HANDS PEOPLE??
L: It was a nice callback to her advice to that other kid on the bus! Also, I don’t even remember how Gordon figured out where they were OR how he got there so damn fast. TV MAGIC.
Speaking of discrepancies, I got really distracted when Penguin’s new landlord called that car a truck. THAT IS NOT A TRUCK THAT IS A SEDAN. YOU have a truck, sir. And not an over-abundance of common sense or self-preservation. Although Oswald sure is polite, when he’s not straight-up murdering you.
A: Only you would focus on that discrepancy! What do you think of Alfred as the guardian of an emotionally traumatized young boy? I think we’re watching the origins of the Joker lol (that would be an awesome twist honestly).
L: :O You mean only I care about details. I think the choice they’re making with Alfred is easily the most interesting thing going for them right now. Like, sure, okay, Cobblepot is teased about the way he walks and so he becomes a criminal mastermind . . . I guess . . .
Like, GET OVER IT, Cobblepot. Crack a slate over someone’s head but maybe stop murdering them.
. . . but that’s not unsual in his origin. Young Bruce is basically already telling Alfred YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO, I AM THE NIGHT. Selina is already a scrappy street urchin, and Gordon is the Platonic Ideal of the Good Cop. So much, so usual.
But this is a new take on Alfred, and I’ll be interested to see where it goes. I don’t know if I think it’s working yet, exactly, but I do think a childless man who had previously simply been a servant (if also the next in line as guardian, which . . . what?) very likely would find himself overwhelmed by suddenly being handed a child as complicated as Bruce in a situation as strange as this one.
But, seriously, Al. Get that kid some help, will you?
A: In the comics (I think in Earth 2? WWAC commentators will correct me!) and that horrible animated show, Beware The Batman, we’ve seen a more hard ass, ass kicking, former soldier (?) Alfred versus the one we’ve come to know as the standard (like in the Nolan films). However, there’s a difference between showing us a man who doesn’t know how to raise a kid who’s also his boss to the guy we see in this show who blatantly said:
Alfred: “No shrink.”
Gordon: “Uhhh why? This kid is clearly screwed up?”
Alfred: “BECAUSE MASTER WAYNE LEFT SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS! I CANNOT DEVIATE! NOT EVEN REGARDING CLEARLY COMMON SENSE MATTERS! ARE YOU MAD???”
Gordon: “Dude. Are you sure you’re supposed to be looking after this kid?” *inches closer to Bruce. Shields him from a potentially damaging upbringing*
Honestly, I saw that scene as really bad writing and just a sloppy way of sidestepping the therapy discussion. As I said on twitter, people aren’t simple. Therapy and a nice environment doesn’t always lead to healthy or “fixed” people. Bruce has lost his parents in a brutal way that he witnessed. I think no matter what they did, the show could still justify his path to Batman because not everyone responds to the same thing or to traditional methods.
L: Plot contrivances and conveniences! Great Scott! Maybe this is their way of paying homage to the original TV series. I can’t wait for someone to pull out a can of SHARK REPELLENT at some point, before realizing they’ve been fatally duped.
Well, looks like next week should have some fallout with Renee and Barbara! I know you’re looking forward to more Oswald. Any other hopes for the upcoming ep?
A: Well, Laura. I have proposed a road trip spin-off show featuring Harvey Bullock and Bruce Wayne (aka Mini Batman), so hopefully that’ll get off the ground. Realistic expectations? I’m also eager for more Cobblepot and how his very not dead self could affect our Gordon. Maybe Fish Mooney could be played down a little more? Is that too much to ask?
L: There you have it, folks! For me, I hope that Richard Kind’s mayor turns out to be wearing one of those super-lifelike Mission: Impossible masks, and rips it off mid-speech to become MR. FREEZE, because I need me some cold-based puns in my life.
Gordon: Your Honor! You’re behind all this?
Freeze: I’m sorry, was that too cold????!?
. . . okay maybe I’m not so hot at the puns.