A Look at Gotham- Season 1, Episode 9: “Harvey Dent”

Remember how Selina Kyle barely had any screen time in the episode named after her? Well, here’s her time to shine. Welcome to “Harvey Dent.”

Harvey Dent- Gordon tells Selina that she needs to describe the Wayne killer to a sketch artist

The episode begins with Gordon bringing Selina Kyle to Barbara’s. Not his own place, though. That would make sense. While Selina ponders why Barbara would be worried about Falcone, Gordon tells her that she’s going to be of great use. A sketch artist is coming soon, so she can describe the killer to them. In the meantime, she won’t be going back to juvie against her will. Chances are she’d just break out again, anyway. But Selina won’t be staying at Barbara’s, either. Instead, she’ll be at Wayne Manor.

Harvey Dent- Ian Hargrove, played by Leslie Odom Jr., is transported

We then head to Blackgate Penitentiary, where prisoner Ian Hargrove, played by Leslie Odom Jr., is being transported. Hargrove, we learn, is a genius bomb maker and blew up a dozen buildings, including the commissary last month. Before he’s put into the transport vehicle, he slips some matches out of his mouth before his hands are covered. How no one saw that happen, I don’t know.

Harvey Dent- Alfred does not want Selina Kyle to stay at Wayne Manor

Gordon shows the completed sketch to Bruce and Alfred. Gordon believes that Selina is telling the truth. Why he’s done this, when she’s given him little to no reason to trust her, I don’t know. Anyway, Alfred is not a fan of a common street criminal like Selina staying at Wayne Manor with Bruce. Understandable. And Gordon has no idea how long Selina will be staying, either. He says no, but Bruce is in favor of it, saying that Selina may be the best chance to find his parents’ killer.

Alfred is still skeptical and Gordon gets why, but he’s still making progress. He, Montoya and Allen are meeting with, and run with me on this, a trustworthy assistant district attorney. In Gotham of all places! If things go according to plan, Selina would need to testify. Witnesses flee all the time, but the ones that stick it out usually care about the victim. Elsewhere in the manor, Bruce and Selina officially meet.

Harvey Dent- Ian Hargrove in transport

Back with Ian Hargrove, one of the transporting officers notices Ian fiddling with his gloves. As the officer goes to see what Ian has in his hand, the vehicle is intercepted by a truck. The vehicle swerves and crashes into a car. Armed men emerge, kill the officers and free Ian.

Harvey Dent- Assistant District Attorney Harvey Dent, played by Nicholas D'Agosto, offers kid a second chance

And then it happens. Outside the steps of a court building, a kid receives a pep talk. The man giving the advice is Assistant District Attorney Harvey Dent, played by Dr. Ethan Haas himself, Nicholas D’Agosto. Harvey is offering the kid a chance to reform himself, at the flip of a coin. If the kid wins, he can walk free, but it’s the slammer for him if he loses. And if he wins, he must make a promise to God that he’ll go back to school and get his life together. Harvey flips and the coin comes up heads. Well done, kid.

Jim meets Harvey and asks what happens if a kid ever guesses wrong. The kids always pick heads, for some reason. Lucky for them, Harvey carries a two-head sided coin. Whatever works.

Harvey Dent- Harvey's proposal to Gordon, Montoya and Allen

Harvey is shown the sketch, but there’s still no identifying the perp so far. Harvey lets Gordon know that this won’t be enough for a trial. The witness would be useless in court, but the idea is valuable. He shows Jim, Montoya and Allen a photo of Dick Lovecraft- a billionaire who made his money from property ownership, as well as dabbing with chemicals. Whether it’s the mob or Wayne Enterprises, Lovecraft has dealt with them all. After Thomas and Martha Wayne were killed, Lovecraft doubled his fortune, part of it coming from the Arkham deal. Before Thomas’ death, Lovecraft clashed with him many times over deals and politics. They just had two different visions for Gotham. Did you hear what I just said? The men had two different visions for Gotham! Almost like two sides of a coin.

Though there’s no concrete proof yet, Harvey would bet his career that Lovecraft is involved. His plan is to use the witness to go after him. Sure, Selina can’t connect Lovecraft to the murder, but that doesn’t mean a story about a secret eye witness can’t be leaked. This, Harvey feels, would blow a case open and eventually connect the dots to Lovecraft. From there, Lovecraft would get nervous and so would everyone around him.

Soon enough, people will talk. Gordon thinks this is a risky plan, especially if Lovecraft isn’t actually involved. Plus, he doesn’t want to make Selina a target. Probably shouldn’t have shacked her up with a billionaire orphan, Gordon. Harvey recognizes the risk, but sees it as a win-win situation since they’ll have rattled Lovecraft’s cages. They don’t even have to file papers. No names, either. Just a story.

Harvey Dent- Bullock tells Gordon about Ian Hargrove's escape

When Gordon arrives at GCPD, Bullock informs him about the escaped prisoner. Turns out Ian Hargrove was ruled criminally insane as well. Bullock finds it all odd that someone busted Ian out since he never used accomplices before. Gordon suggests finding out who Hargrove talked to inside and outside of Blackgate, but Ian had been isolated from the general population and only had one visitor during his two years there: his brother, John, who is being brought in for questioning.

Harvey Dent- Alfred doesn't run a bloody hotel

Alfred teaches Bruce to box. While the continuity from last week’s episode is nice, this scene won’t end up having a payoff. I’ll explain that later. Selina finds the whole act foolish and wants foot, but she slept through breakfast and lunch won’t be until noon. Bruce tells Selina that Alfred will be glad to whip her up something, but Alfred will do no such thing because he doesn’t run a bloody hotel. He has a point. But regardless, Selina shows herself around. Bruce warns Alfred to be nice to their guest. Alfred promises to be nicer, but not before picking on Bruce for fancying his new girlfriend.

Harvey Dent- Penguin literally sniffs around

Penguin enters Liza’s apartment and literally sniffs around for clues. He finds a framed photo of Liza and Falcone, goes through her purse and sniffs both her perfume and towel. Upon hearing some noise, he leaves and heads upstairs. Liza returns and notices something is amiss, but when she checks in the hallway, she finds no one there.

Harvey Dent- Gordon and Bullock speaking with John Hargrove, played by Luke Forbes

After some more shots of skyscrapers, we cut to Gordon and Bullock speaking with John Hargrove, played by Luke Forbes. John doesn’t know where Ian is, but he defends his brother, saying he’s not a killer. He only blew up munitions factories and offices- any place that made guns, bullets or missiles. Not the best way to get a point across, but Ian thought he was doing the right thing, until he ended up also killing two janitors one time. However, Ian felt guilty about that. He even turned himself into the police and pleaded guilty. We learn that Ian has had a history of mental problems. He’s not a bad man, just sick. So there’s still the question of who would free him?

Harvey Dent- Officers eat snacks

As this conversation takes place, Ian prepares a bomb and sticks on a GGC Metalwork lapel. From there, one of the shooters delivers the basket, filled with sweets, to the Gotham Munitions Factory. The officers, none the wiser, accept the basket and feast until one of them hears something ticking. Seconds later, Ian watches his work explode.

Harvey Dent- Bruce plays 20 questions with Selina

Next, the show must assume we didn’t think the explosion would hit the front page, because we come back to the front page of the Gotham Gazette. In big bold letters, the banner headline reads “EXPLOSION ROCKS GOTHAM!” Honestly, this is something I would expect from the 1989 Tim Burton Batman film. But anyway, Bruce is reading about last night’s explosion. Selina is still uneasy about being there. Bruce, the suave man that he is, begins to poke into Selina’s life by asking her what it’s like to live alone on the streets. Selina’s not digging this line of inquiry.

She turns it on him and asks why he’s not in school. You know, that’s a good question! But for better or worse, Bruce is working on his creating his own curriculum to work at a pace and study what he likes. Selina is skeptical. After all, Bruce is a billionaire, so what’s there to learn? Bruce isn’t a fan of Selina’s attitude and turns it back to her past. Where are her parents? Selina snaps- telling Bruce that she’s not an orphan and she’s got family all over. She’s probably right. I’m sure if you searched Gotham hard enough, you could find a few stray cats just roaming.

Harvey Dent- Captain Essen and the detectives discuss the explosion

Captain Essen is none too pleased about the five dead guards. With the entire office destroyed, there’s little that forensics could analyze from the crime scene. Plus, cameras were destroyed, so there goes the security footage. What Gordon and Bullock do know is that the perps made off with a compound called HMS. Military grade stuff that’s ten times more powerful than C4. Essen must already be tired of these routine cases, so she simply tells the detectives to get to it. Well, I give her this, she’s to the point.

Gordon then gets a call from Alfred: he’s not a fan of the little minx and doesn’t think this arrangement will work out. Gordon just tells him to hold tight for a bit longer.

Harvey Dent- Penguin literally sniffs all over Fish

At Fish’s, Butch arrives with two cell phones in tow. Oswald enters. He was in the neighborhood and wanted to stop by. After all, he’s just trying to be friendly. And how does he show friendship? Getting a good whiff of whatever Fish has. And then he’s off. Fish pays it no mind. She has better things to worry about.

Harvey Dent- Bullock notices something off with Gordon

Bullock delivers another Box O’ Evidence. This one has all of Hargrove’s contacts and phone records before he entered Blackgate. Bullock notices that something is off with his partner, so Gordon tells him that Barbara left. Bullock believes it’s all a ploy. Barbara will return.

Harvey Dent- Nygma talks about video games

And then Nygma out of nowhere. He asks the detectives if they play video games. He adores them because they offer so many challenges and puzzles, sort of like detective work. Moving on, he did get a chance to analyze the shrapnel and found a damaged name plate that belongs to abandoned metal factory.

Harvey Dent- Ian Hargrove tells Gordon and Bullock that the Russians have plans for Falcone

We then cut to said metal factory, where Ian is preparing another bomb. Gordon and Bullock show up in no time at all. Ian doesn’t put up a fight. He tells the detectives that he’d been kidnapped by Russians and told that if he didn’t make bombs for them, his family would be killed. Why the bombs? The Russians have big plans for Falcone.

But then the Russians return and a shootout commences. It lasts long enough for the Russians to snatch Ian and leave.

Harvey Dent- Selina Kyle has the most amazing mother

Selina tries to slip out of Wayne Manor and I’m honestly wishing that she did, but Bruce stops her. He apologizes for all of his questions. When Selina spots a photo of Martha Wayne, Bruce beats himself up for not doing anything to stop the shooter. Selina tells him that there’s little he could have done. She then talks about her mother. She’s in show-business and makes millions, but it’s really a cover for her secret government job. Once she’s done, she’ll return for her daughter. This Selina Kyle is not a good liar. She asks Bruce if he’s ever kissed a girl and would he want to kiss her. Given the places Selina must have been prior to being stuck at Wayne Manor, I don’t think that’d be a wise decision for Bruce. Or anyone, really.

Harvey Dent- Mayor James not pleased about the bombings

Mayor James is furious at the GCPD. He’s getting nonstop phone calls about a potential terrorist.   Gordon isn’t taking this. In fact, he blames Mayor James. Why? Because he put the mentally ill at Blackgate, even though there’s no facility there to help them.

Harvey Dent- Dick Lovecraft, played by Al Sapienza, speaks with Harvey

Harvey- remember him? This episode is named after him- informs Dick Lovecraft, played by Al Sapienza, and his team of lawyers that he plans to bring charges against him. Lovecraft isn’t worried. After all, Harvey can’t prove fraud, but Harvey is going after more than that: conspiracy to commit murder. He plays his eye witness card, yet Lovecraft remains strong. Harvey then snaps in a brief flash of anger. Then he’s cool again. It’s almost like there are two sides to Harvey or something.

Harvey Dent- Bullock and Gordon look at rap sheet of Gregor Kasyanov, played by Steve Cirbus

Back at GCPD, Gordon and Bllock look over the rap sheet of one of the Russians: Gregor Kasyanov, played by Steve Cirbus, worked for Nikolai before his death. They figure he’s working for someone else, but that someone could be anyone if they have money and a beef with Falcone. Now who could one of those people be?

Harvey Dent- Fish meets with Russians

Right. Fish. She meets up with Gregor and preps him for his hit tomorrow.

Harvey Dent- Selina thinks little of Bruce's training

Bruce practices holding his breath underwater while fully clothed. Selina watches and wonders why he would do such a thing. His response is that he’s building self-discipline and willpower, though Selina believes such things won’t work in Gotham City. To make it in Gotham, you’ve gotta be mean! Bruce, Selina says, is just a nice boy. She must not have seen Bruce’s exploits on Saved By the Gotham Bell last week.

Harvey Dent- Nygma tells Jim and Harvey about explosives

Nygma works with explosives while listening to a trivia show on the radio. When he receives explosive results, he returns to Gordon and Bullock with what he’s discovered: the Russians are dealing with a highly volatile explosive that’s hard to manufacture and can only be used once. It would be used to penetrate iron. Gordon guesses something like a bank vault, but Nygma shoots that down. Iron hasn’t been used for bank vaults for at least a century. Steel is the preferred metal. Bullock figures that such a location would be the Gotham Armory, which had recently been purchased by a private investment group.

Harvey Dent- Ian and Russians at Gotham Armory

At the Gotham Armory, Ian sets off his bomb and the vault door soon falls down. Inside is a boat load of money that the Russians soon load into their truck.

Harvey Dent- Explosion

Soon, the police arrive and the Russians find themselves surrounded. Gordon tells Ian that his family is safe. He inches his way toward the police but a “Final Countdown” ring tone gets everyone’s attention. Seconds later, the getaway truck explodes.

Harvey Dent- Food fight

Bruce and Selina eat, though Selina gets more joy lobbing bagels at Bruce’s head. If Bruce hits her, Selina will let him kiss her. A little early to be playing up this friendship, isn’t it, Gotham? Also, Selina, no one wants to kiss you that badly. A food fight breaks out to that Pirates of the Caribbean-esque tune while Alfred watches the spectacle and does not intervene. Convenient enough, he gets a phone call from Gordon. Alfred still isn’t a fan of Selina, but hey, she’s a breath of fresh air.

Harvey Dent- Penguin confronts Liza

Liza enters her apartment and finds Penguin waiting there. He’s onto the fact that she’s a spy for Fish. Sure, he can’t prove it, but the suspicion alone is worth considering. When he offers to call Falcone, Liza stops him. Penguin has a deal: she’ll keep working for Fish and keep her mouth shut, or she’ll die.

Harvey Dent- Harvey tells Gordon about Lovecraft

Harvey- yeah, you know this guy, right?- shows up at the GCPD to update Gordon. He tells Gordon that Lovecraft was scared and that he’s involved with the murder. Not entirely true, but sure, whatever makes Harvey smile. Though Gordon is still on board, he wants to be sure that he and Harvey move on this together.

Gordon then learns from Bullock that Ian Hargrove is on his way to Gotham. Under a directive from Mayor James, all of Blackgate’s inmates will be shipped to Arkham for the help they need.

Harvey Dent- Mayor's press conference

We then cut to Mayor James speaking at a press conference. Gotham has been rocked by terror, but now Arkham will be converted into a facility for the city’s criminally insane. Better start installing a revolving door while you’re at it, Mayor.

Fish is happy with the Russians gone. No more loose strings. The point wasn’t to steal money- it was to hurt Falcone.

Gordon calls Barbara. He needs her.

Harvey Dent- Barbara and Montoya

But Barbara needs Montoya more. Why? I don’t know, nor do I care.

Well, that happened. After being on a bit of an upswing, beginning with “Spirit of the Goat,” Gotham slipped back into mediocre territory with “Harvey Dent.” The bombing subplot and Fish’s involvement with it were not interesting, Bruce and Selina’s conversations felt like they had been written for people much older than them, the end reveal with Barbara and Montoya was not at all interesting, and Harvey Dent may as well have been called Two-Face with all the foreshadowing.

You know, let me just get Harvey out of the way. This episode made the same mistake that “Selina Kyle” made: the title character is barely in their episode. I think Harvey may have had less screen time here than Selina did in the second episode. Hell, Selina appeared more than Harvey and her subplot with Bruce wasn’t even that interesting.

The trouble I’ve found with Gotham is that the show doesn’t seem to know what to do with some of the main Batman villains before they actually ended up as part of Batman’s rogues’ gallery. Oswald is called “Penguin” in the first episode, even though there’s no reason to call him that yet. Selina likes to be called “Cat,” even though few people actually address her as such. Nygma talks in riddles and asks questions- and apparently likes playing video games.

Harvey Dent- Harvey and his coin

Harvey Dent is a giant offender here. The coin flips, the talks of making bets, the brief flash of anger- to the common viewer, these may not mean as much. And I understand that not everyone who watches Gotham is a Batman fan with previous knowledge of the source material. But this seems more like the show wants to remind us who Harvey Dent will eventually become. Though I like Nicholas D’Agosto as an actor, I wish he’d been given a more subtle approach to playing Dent. Here, it’s about as subtle as a train wreck. I’d much prefer that just be a straight laced Harvey Dent for now. Heck, don’t even give him his trademark coin yet. Make it a habit he picks up over time. That would at least be some sort of development.

Harvey Dent- Subtlety

And is it really necessary to have scenes where half of his face is in light, the other in darkness? That just seems so amateurish, in my opinion. We know. There are two sides to Harvey Dent. I would like it if Gotham just gave us villain who started off normal and didn’t try to spoon feed us winks and nods. I can’t see all of these people becoming villains before Bruce dons the cowl for the first time. There are exceptions. If Penguin became a mob boss before Batman came around, given his slow rise, that wouldn’t seem too out of place.

Harvey Dent- Bruce and Selina meet

And on that note, let’s move onto Bruce and Selina. I get the feeling this episode wanted Bruce to just move on with his life because neither he nor Alfred acknowledge last week’s events. Selina calls Bruce a nice boy, but just last week, we saw Bruce standing up for himself. Some continuity would be nice. The fighting lessons seem to be there just for follow-up. Also, why the hell isn’t Bruce in school? Alfred made such a big deal out of him going to school and making friends, so now he’s fine with him making his own curriculum? What the hell? Why even put Bruce in school if you’re not going to have him stick with it?

The dialogue and moments between Bruce and Selina were awkward, and not in a charming way. Bruce is a bit too intrusive with his questions and Selina is a closed book. Bruce has good intentions, but he’s too forward and Selina Kyle isn’t one to open up to someone she barely knows. It’s a rocky start and I’m not expecting sparks to fly between the two of them, but I wish that the two had been written better for this episode. I wouldn’t have minded seeing Bruce back at school and confronting his issues head on. That was a lot more satisfying than this.

Harvey Dent- Alfred watches food fight

Side-note, I understand Alfred’s reasoning for not trusting Selina or wanting her around, but I appreciate that he’s open to her staying after seeing she makes Bruce happy. And I did get a kick out of his snarky remarks to Selina.

What I want to know is why the hell Gordon seems so trusting of Selina? After all, she hasn’t given him anything that he couldn’t figure out himself and there’s no telling yet whether the sketch will lead to an arrest. So why would he even trust her in the first place? Gordon, did you forget that she tricked you into crawling down a sewer that smells of poo gas?

Honestly, the rest of this episode was entirely forgettable. I didn’t find the bombing subplot or Hargrove that compelling. The only worthwhile thing to come out of it was the reopening of Arkham. Penguin felt a bit more cartoonish this week in a way that I’m surprised Fish didn’t find at all suspicious. Barbara going back to Montoya- I don’t care about that, either. I already don’t care about Barbara as a character and this last minute reveal is less shocking and more mundane.

So “Harvey Dent” puts its title character in the backseat and saddles him with a list of things to check for so we know he’s Harvey Dent. In his place, we get a mediocre plot, some not too inspiring scenes between Bruce and Selina and a stinger that was more of a groaner. It really says something when I find the best scene of the episode to be Nygma talking about video games and creepily placing his hands on Gordon and Bullock. This conversation added nothing to the episode, but I did get a laugh out of it.

I couldn’t be bothered to say anything else in this episode was memorable- that’s a problem. A problem I hope Gotham fixes as it still struggles to find itself.

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One thought on “A Look at Gotham- Season 1, Episode 9: “Harvey Dent”

  1. This episode should have been called: Bruce is Horny. Hardly any Harvey Dent, two scenes with no significance to the plot and intrigue built by the previous episodes. He wants to pin Lovecraft with assumptions and that led to a scared old man and a crazy young lawyer. I didn’t particularly like this episode.

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