I was excited about this week’s episode. I was riding on a high of enjoying last week’s show and the title for this week gave me hope for a story that delved into some of the cooler, creepier aspects of the asylum. And then I watched the show. I am really trying to be objective here, but I did not enjoy this episode at all. The show had built a little momentum with last week’s episode, but it all came crashing to halt this week.
The core of the plot focused on Arkham, which is referring to both the abandoned asylum and the property surrounding it. Apparently, the Waynes were working on plans to revitalize the area by building low-cost housing for Gotham’s lower class as well as remodeling the asylum in order to give help to those in need. Currently, the future of the Arkham area is being fought over by both Falcone and Maroni, the primary organized crime families of Gotham. Falcone wants to carry out the Wayne’s plans while Maroni wants to raze the area and build a waste disposal facility. A hitman is taking out members of Gotham city counsel in attempts to sway the vote. Gordon and Bullock are on the case and also have to protect the mayor from the hitman. Eventually, the mayor announces that both plans are being carried out and the Arkham area is being split between both plans with Falcone doing his part and Maroni his part. In the background of this activity, we see Barb and Gordon arguing and splitting up, Cobblepot moving up through the ranks in the Maroni family, and Fish making a play for more power. Bruce makes a quick appearance to have a nightmare and express interest in the Arkham situation.
If that paragraph seemed confusing and messy, yeah, that’s how the show felt too.
The hitman mentioned his employer, but we never find out who this is or why the hits are being carried out on both sides of the mob combat and extending to the mayor as well. Plus, he was not a very intimidating killer. His weapon of choice was rather complicated. Unique hitmen are not a new concept to the comic book world, but their signature styles are usually more evident. If Gotham continues in a bad guy of the week style, the villains won’t get much screen time, so they need to jump off the screen at us. This guy in a trench coat with a stabby thingy did not.
The background plot of Fish continuing to make her move against Falcone was just a chore to slog through. I hate every moment of screen time that Fish gets. In this buffet of her scenery mastication, she is auditioning a new singer which she says will be used as a weapon. This is not explained, but she’s probably aiming to use the girl to take down Falcone. After two half-hearted songs, Fish takes the girls into an alley (or maybe out to the docks) and makes them brawl. It is no surprise that the “edgy” singer in fishnets wins.
Oswald’s story shows him backing down from the brutal killer he was in previous episodes and switching between being a snitch to Gordon and solidifying his position in the Maroni network. I like seeing the evolution of the Penguin into a crime lord, as that is always how I’ve viewed the “realistic” version of that villain. But we have yet to see a consistent growth of the character. I’d rather see a slower path of development with more time devoted to why he is making these choices. And whatever happened to his mother? That’s a lost are of character development.
Speaking of Oswald’s growth in the Maroni network, I enjoy seeing Maroni played by Batista (no relation) from Dexter. But he doesn’t really come across as the typical Italian mob boss. Also, I didn’t realize this guy was Maroni. He showed up in the last episode and it was clear that he was the boss, but I didn’t catch the fact that he was Maroni. Maybe that was just me.
And then we have Gordon. The show is about Gordon. The focus is on his development as a character and, in this version of the mythos, how he helps mold Bruce Wayne. In this episode, I think his character has taken a step backwards. We see him defending a huge compromise as well as losing his cool when dealing with Barb. He also seemed to channel the Bale Batman voice. It is absolutely acceptable to throw roadblocks at a character and see how he reacts. A crucial part of character development is how he deals with difficult times. But I don’t think this episode was a strong example of the main character dealing with difficulty. It’s way too early in the run of the show. We need more foundation for Gordon before we start pushing him to extremes.
Maybe I’m being completely unfair. I will absolutely change my opinion if you guys can point out something I missed or explain a view of the show that I did not take. We are only four episodes into a show that, in my opinion, has had a rough start. The show cannot afford an episode like this one that slows the pace and throws difficulties at the characters. We need more foundational elements and some better attention-grabbing moments.