“A Dark Knight: They Who Hide Behind Masks” had a lot of build-up, but not much in terms of delivery. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad episode; in fact, I think this is an essential episode to the plots of Gotham season four. Many of the characters interacted and pushed their development further toward bigger storylines coming down the line. Less action and big drama, it’s more about moving pieces on the chess board. Hours that push the development are needed in the long run; however, it’s not that thrilling to watch.
James Gordon’s plot is the perfect example of this. As we left off in the second episode, he was going down to Miami to bring Carmine Falcone back to Gotham City. There were no fights, debates or twist where Falcone caused trouble for Jim. What we got, on the other hand, is a civil conversation with the former mob leader and Gordon sharing some thoughtful times with Sofia Falcone, Carmine’s daughter. Sure, this execution was done to establish the partnership between Gordon and Sofia, especially now since she’s returned to Gotham City to become a mob leader. The problem is that the pace was incredibly slow.
A lot of time was devoted to this plot, but due to how it was presented, the progression felt like it was at a snail’s pace. The decisions made about scenery, camera angles and colour tones were chosen to heighten the sereneness of Miami. I liked that it showed the stark contrast to Gotham City, which is dark, grimy and evil – it’s quite the opposite of Falcone’s home. But, spending lots of time watching Gordon and Sofia on the beach listening to water or the calming of the trees, it stalled the momentum. We got the backstory we needed and Sofia arriving in Gotham City – I just wish it felt like we got there sooner.
The Riddler is free and he’s…not at full strength. I’m glad the writers removed him from the iceblock after three episodes; it’s a shame to keep Edward Nygma trapped in ice. He is one of the most charismatic characters on Gotham and the decision to affect his mind will be an interesting move. His brain is his strongest asset and without the ability, he isn’t at full super-villain strength. I’m surprised that he wasn’t able to solve even the easiest of riddles. The “What’s black and white and red all over?” is a standard riddle – even children know this one. He should’ve known that one from heart.
Is anyone going to miss Myrtle Jenkins? Even though she was a tad annoying, there was something about her being the obsessed Riddler-fan-turned-sidekick that sounded like fun. It’s almost like Harley Quinn-inspired; she went evil to protect her “true love” villain. Sadly, this seems like her only (and last) episode. We got a lot of backstory for someone who was quickly killed off by Zsasz – it now seems pointless in hindsight. It would’ve been better if it were a random person than someone so deeply connected to Edward’s past.
Bruce needs some serious acting lessons after “A Dark Knight: They Who Hide Behind Masks”. His persona on the boat is one thing, but the auction house is another story! It’s like he had split personalities – he became an overzealous rich guy so quickly. Why did Penguin and Barbara not realize something was up? Bruce acted like he was drunk, which is total opposite to his subdued and stoic attitude. Oswald was so happy to get Bruce’s money; he’s either too dense or he didn’t care. And Barbara…her instincts were completely off.
Bruce and Selina wearing their early costumes together was amazing. The cat and the bat together again! It’s a shame their storylines are heading in different directions. However, the scene in Bruce’s study where Selina asked for Bruce’s help is a testament to their unique relationship. I mean, she was planning to steal from him regardless, but she needed a favor and asked him anyway. Even though a lot has happened to them, they’ll always connect again.
Ra’s al Ghul being Barbara’s mysterious benefactor isn’t surprising. We saw him appear a bit before, and he was also the only person who had legitimate access to the Lazarus Pits. Barbara died. Ra’s al Ghul can bring people back from the dead. It made sense that he would be the one. But, even with all that power, why does he want the blade? And why is he fine with it in Bruce’s hands? This must tie to the bigger over story for Gotham Season 4A. I love a good mystery with the Gotham villains.