More small steps this week, but I am at least getting what I asked for. Bullock has been a point of contention, as I like Donal Logue, but he can only do so much with a character so underwritten. Not every problem with him is solved this week, but we are now getting a read on the guy. The things we learn may amount to small character beats that feel familiar enough, but Gotham is a show that wants to play into the pulpiness of it all. It is not a show taking bold new steps, but instead combining lots of ideas into something that can hopefully become its own successful something on a weekly basis. Still, along with some movement in one of the main story arcs, we have some good work to outweigh circular dialogue and some unnecessary moments in an episode diabolical enough to title itself, “Spirit of the Goat.”
With unnecessary moments in mind, did we really need to see Cat in this episode? No. Was the Bruce/Alfred stuff important? Not really, but it was thankfully quite brief. And is Nygma suddenly becoming less irritating and more interesting, because of some office crush he has? Well, if the character needs something to do, I can only assume it will end in heartbreak and move along his turn to the dark side. All of these aspects seem like ways to, I guess, flesh out the world of Gotham more, but they still end up feeling shoehorned in. It is a shame, as I can only imagine my enthusiasm for the series seems less and less apparent as the weeks go by, despite having an appreciation for the good stuff that has been developing lately.
Speaking of which, Bullock gets more to do this episode, as I referenced at the top. The episode begins with a flashback to the days when he seemed to care about doing his job. We learn about a case that got to him, as it resulted in his old partner, Detective Dix (Dan Hedaya), getting injured, following the halting of a killer on the loose. Clearly this effected Bullock (likely among other things over the ten years following these events), but the episode goes one step further by informing us how Bullock is now paying the bills for an unknowing Dix, who is now living in an elderly facility. These little details are some nice steps forward. Surely one could glean some of the reasons Bullock acts the way he does, without being explicitly told, but at the same time, it is nice to see this information be presented.
The case-of-the-week is actually pretty solid, as it has some neat turns that do not end up moving into supernatural territory, which I was kind of afraid of. Instead, we get the return-of-a-killer-thought-dead type plot, but the reason as to why things are happening the way they are gets a bonus twist that may have been apparent to some, but is fairly clever, given what we have seen of Gotham. It is easy enough to create some sort of killer that has a process and could have shared it or left notes behind or something, but involving a hypnotherapist with her own understanding of some kind of lesson/treatment for Gotham City is neat enough to make me appreciate the concept. And the case is perhaps not even closed yet, given how Bullock was busy explaining things, before being interrupted by the other big thing going on in this episode.
As much as I have not been a fan of Barbara and the MCU, at least plenty of movement takes place, which ultimately results in the MCU looking like giant idiots in front of everyone, making me especially happy. For weeks now, we have had to deal with Montoya and Allen being super suspicious of Gordon for no apparent reason, only to get to the point of arresting the man, because some bum is apparently a credible eye witness. Seeing Oswald enter the GCPD was worth me suffering through Renee/Barbara drama, as secrets are now revealed and it puts Jimmy & the Bulls, and the rest of the gang in a whole new ball park. Last time we had a big reveal, it was from my excitement to see an unannounced Penguin show up at Gordon’s home. This time we have him showing up in front of everybody. It is the kind of closer that works for me, as I once again do not know what will happen next.
With the sense of stakes being a constant issue, given how most of the recurring villains will most likely live week after week and because Gordon is in no immediate danger, at least creating decent enough turns in the story puts Gotham in a place where I can keep coming back to the show and wondering where things will go now. If this is a series that will go on for at least a couple years, story movement is much better than nothing. Sure, I still want more from Gordon (despite the solid work from Ben McKenzie), yes better writing will benefit the series tremendously, but getting a series of events that twist the entire story around frequently enough is keeping me interested.
“Spirit of the Goat” is better than last week’s effort. We stay away from the mob stuff for a little bit, keep the side characters to a minimum, and get some development for one of the show’s key characters. Some of the series’ irritating elements are present as well, but for the most part, I am happy to see progress being made, even if that is coming in small steps.
From Det. Jim Gordon’s Police Files:
- A whole episode focused on the Goat, and no one mentions the term ‘Chupacabra’?
- Dan Hedaya wants you to know the golden rule of Gotham City, because he says it twice! #NoHeroes
- Seriously, the MCU must be made up of nothing but idiots.
- The less “Bath Time with Oswald” scenes, the better.
- Edward Nygma’s word of the day: Lateral.
- Jimmy & The Bulls really beat the hell out of the Goat killer.
- Susan Misner plays Dr. Marks, a far cry crazier than her bored housewife on The Americans (returning this January!).
- I like Jim trying to get Bullock to understand that he was telling the truth at the end about Oswald, only for that to blow up in his face.
- This week’s Classic Gordon Clip.