I haven’t been reserved in my thoughts on Gotham. At the end of the first season, I couldn’t bring myself to place it alongside DC’s other successes Arrow and The Flash. In its second season, Gotham has improved. While it’s not on the level of The Flash just yet, I actually prefer it to Arrow. My reasoning in preference boils down to one simple denominator. As the main character, Ben McKenzie’s Jim Gordon is a much more charismatic lead than Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen on Arrow. Mckenzie also has the benefit of starring alongside a more colorful supporting cast of characters.
Gotham’s sophomore vigor has come from the show’s ability to take weak elements of season one and improve on them. At the same time, it’s been consistent with maintaining what worked well last season. Speaking of which, last night marked the death of Gertrude Cobblepot at the hands of Theo Galavan. While the relationship between Gertrude and Penguin was not a strong suit of season one, it’s been used effectively over the last few episodes. Galavan used it as leverage for his own malicious intent and it’s worked. He’s now Mayor and Penguin no longer has the person who’s kept him somewhat morally intact. Desperate for revenge, Penguin orchestrates an assassination attempt at Galavan’s mayoral celebration.
Penguin’s war against Galavan must lead to a team up with Gordon at some point. Given what’s transpired between them earlier this season, it should be dynamite. I really liked their confrontation while Gordon was protecting Galavan. Penguin’s line about having made peace with the possibility of dying was very believable. Thanks to Tabitha Galavan, Gordon didn’t have to execute Penguin on Theo’s orders. Perhaps it was all too convenient but then again it opens the door for future endeavors. I do have to question Gordon’s outright declaration against Galavan. The dots that he connected to reach his conclusions felt really contrived. He’s already fought a war against Commissioner Loeb. Why would he make his intentions so clear with Galavan already installed as Mayor?
Gordon came off as recklessly incompetent for this entire episode. He and Bullock track down Butch in order to gain insight on Penguin and Galavan. I didn’t have any issue with their method of interrogating Butch because it made logical sense. Where I take issue is with the arrival of Zsazz demanding that Butch be handed over. In response, Gordon and Bullock decide to pick up machine guns and recklessly hip fire through ammunition. Not only did they possess no visual contact with Zsazz and crew, but there could have been innocent civilians outside. It just felt like an unnecessary shootout to fill the runtime. If Capt. Barnes ever hears about this, Gordon and Bullock should be fired immediately.
Once again, another member of the GCPD Strike Force is unceremoniously killed off this episode. I feel like these characters were only introduced so that primary characters could be kept safe. They haven’t been given any personality and their deaths have been had lackluster emotional impact. For Gotham to ascend to the next level, they need to create a better sense of danger. Given Maroni’s death during the finale of season one, Gotham isn’t afraid of being its own canon. They should utilize that to raise the stakes for the main characters.
The stakes have certainly been raised for Edward Nygma following last week’s shocking conclusion. As I stated last week, I haven’t figured out exactly how this character becomes the future Riddler. This episode helped enlighten me, as “Good Ed” is lead on a mystery by “Bad Ed” to discover the body of Ms. Kringle. I’m glad that we’ve finally gotten to see seeds of the Riddler beyond lazy quips and medical lingo. It’s still a little unclear whether or not both sides has fully merged but it appears that way. I have to hand it to the showrunners. They’ve taken a superfluous character from season one and made him one of the most fascinating characters on the entire show.
Speaking of superfluous, I am not looking forward to the foreshadowed love triangle between Bruce, Selina, and Silver. Once again, it just feels like filler to justify keeping Bruce on the show. I hate love triangles on principle alone when there’s no real reason for it. I did appreciate Selina coming to Bruce as a friend, but her confrontation with Silver was really hokey and clichéd. It’s provided Selina with a reason to be on the show but I hope we don’t get an eventual romantic relationship between her and Bruce. Since it hasn’t made evident that Gotham is 100 percent its own entity, it feels like too much too early.