Ten episodes in and Gotham is done for the first half of its first season with “Lovecraft.” Let’s dive right in.
The episode begins at Wayne Manor. Three people head toward the mansion, but run into the gardener instead. He’s killed by one of the three, the female in the group, who smears his blood onto her face.
Selina helps Bruce balance on a banister. How that will be applicable in the real world, I don’t know, especially given how Selina derided Bruce for his training, but I’ll get to that later. But it turns out that Selina has a test for Bruce: go with her to the midtown bridge. That’s where kids go to make out. Selina has a real one-track mind. She asks Bruce about all the work he’s doing on his parents. He’s just trying to understand why, but Selina says there’s no answer to that. It just happened. She then asks Bruce if he wants to kiss her. Seriously, Selina? Stop asking that question. I wonder if the girl has just never been kissed before.
But Bruce has some sense in his head and refuses. He’d like to- okay, not that much sense- but he can’t help but feel that Selina has some ulterior motive. Tell me about it. She might claim that you touched her inappropriately, Bruce. Plus, he doesn’t think she’d consider him a suitable romantic partner, so there would be no reason for her to want to kiss him. What kind of kid talks like this? Selina tells Bruce that she’s just trying to be nice, but Bruce certainly doesn’t get a nice vibe from Selina. Not that she’s a bad person, but she doesn’t seem to care for other people. Well, at least the boy’s not stupid. Selina, taking offense to this, essentially tells Bruce to piss off and climb the damn bridge on his own. Hey, the bridge was your idea, Selina.
Ugh. Let’s get away from all this awkward dialogue. There’s someone at the door. Alfred meets with the woman from before. This is Larissa Diaz, played by Lesley-Ann Brandt. Diaz was apparently in a terrible car crash, judging from the blood on her head. As the kids approach the stairs, Diaz takes one look and immediately recognizes Selina.
The ambush begins. Alfred tells the kids to run while he deals with the three intruders, and manages to hold his own. Bruce and Selina hide in a closet while the assailants continue their pursuit.
Bruce and Selina eventually end up outside. Selina urges Bruce to continue running, though Bruce doesn’t want to abandon Alfred. He doesn’t get much of a choice when the intruders continue after them. Alfred does manage to shoot and down one of the three.
Not long after this, Gordon is on the scene and tells Alfred that there are 50 cops searching for the kids. Alfred pins the blame for the attack on Gordon, saying that it’s because of Selina being there that led them to Wayne Manor. Gordon doesn’t buy that. Bullock enters with a photo of Selina Kyle that had been taken off of the dead assailant. Bullock recognizes Selina as one of the kids abducted by the child snatchers. So how and why in the hell is she now being attacked by assassins at Wayne Manor?
Yeah, Gordon never did tell Bullock about his arrangement. He spills about Selina Kyle being in the alley when Thomas and Martha Wayne were murdered. More than that, Harvey Dent is looking into Dick Lovecraft to find a connection and get him to reveal himself. And Gordon figured that Selina would be safe at Wayne Manor. Well, we know how that turned out. To say Bullock isn’t pleased would be an understatement. He’s pissed. Gordon didn’t tell Bullock because he knew that Bullock would try to stop him. Regardless of who said what, the kids are still missing, so Gordon will look into Lovecraft, while Bullock and Gordon go on the hunt for Bruce and Selina.
So thus begins the not-so-fun adventures of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle. I’ll put this out there now: I’m not a fan of this subplot. Bruce wants to head back since some officers could be at the manor, but Selina is focused on moving forward. Also, Bruce can’t help but wonder why someone would want to kill him? I’ll address this later. Selina relents and tells Bruce that the two will find a phone in the city.
Then we cut to Falcone Mansion. Penguin is brought before Falcone himself. Falcone is livid that someone knew about the armory. He blames it on Maroni and Penguin’s failure to report it, but Penguin insists that Maroni had nothing to do with this. If he did, Penguin would have said something about it. And since moles aren’t Maroni’s forte, this means that there’s a mole in Falcone’s ranks, but from where? Falcone already knows that Penguin is going to say Fish Mooney, but Penguin’s personal past with Fish makes Falcone doubt anything that Penguin has to say. Penguin, though, doesn’t get why Falcone still tolerates her, given how she’s still plotting to betray him. Even if that’s true, Fish makes Falcone a lot of money. Plus, she’s not the only powerful person who would want to screw over Falcone. Penguin decides to find the mole himself since this is dirty business.
Following this, Penguin has a talk with Gabriel, who figures that Penguin should just tell Falcone the truth. It’s not that easy. The key is timing and Liza is a ticking time-bomb.
Gordon goes to Dent. Lovecraft isn’t at his home and he hasn’t been by his office, which Allen and Montoya are watching. Despite the attack, Harvey calls this a win. They made Lovecraft panic and Harvey will get him to call off the assassins. Gordon still wonders how Lovecraft would know where to find Selina, given how he never told Harvey her name. So he couldn’t have done it. Plus, Harvey never mentioned Gordon’s name because they agreed not to use names out loud.
Ahem. Out loud. There’s your loophole. Harvey did, in fact, leak Gordon’s name to select sources. All for deep background, though. Not sure why Harvey would reveal this when he had to know it would put him in hot water. Gordon is furious and pins this on Harvey. Lovecraft probably hasn’t left Gotham yet, though. He has a series of condos that he keeps under his mistress’ name.
Bullock and Alfred talk to Kyle Massey, but he hasn’t seen Selina. That is, until Alfred slips him a nice $100 bill. Okay, now he might know something. Selina has a new fence some someone popped the old one. If they want more details, they should talk to Fish Mooney.
At the Falcone Mob Squad Dinner, the host gets things off to a great start by shooting Banion. Why? Banion was supposed to guard the armory. Maybe he looked the other way. Regardless, anyone else who crossed Falcone will wish for a quick death. He’s just doing this for the family. And to make up for loss profit, he’s increasing tariffs by 25 percent. When Falcone asks Fish for her opinion, she tells the others present that they are a family. They swim together or sink together. Trust goes both ways.
Bruce and Selina find a pay phone, but Bruce Wayne doesn’t carry change. He’s too cool for that. Selina doesn’t get why Alfred matters so much to Bruce, but it’s because he’s family. Selina eventually gives him a coin and she prepares to head off. She admits that the assassins came for her, not him. She just wanted to freak him out. Cruel as this is, Selina tells Bruce that she’s right about her: she’s not a nice person. That’s why she claimed he was the target- she just wanted to hang out. That’s a dick move, Selina. Anyway, Selina’s gonna split. Bruce stops her, saying that she has to testify once Detective Gordon finds his parents’ killer. Selina is a bit more cynical than that.
So she makes her way up a fire escape. Rather than do the sensible thing and just let the crazy girl go, Bruce follows her. She jumps across one rooftop and through Bruce initially hesitates, he jumps and lands atop the building right after her. Fine. Selina tells Bruce that if he wants to hang out with her, she has to go by his rules. I feel like she’s skipped a step somewhere.
Bruce still can’t call Alfred because he’s disappearing. Selina says that they have to be like smoke, and smoke doesn’t make phone calls. She takes him to an underground hangout that looks more like the hangout from the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film.
Butch, meanwhile, is nervous about Falcone. If he suspects Fish, why hasn’t he made a move. Hey, there are still 10 other people he could suspect. For now, Butch is going to stick to the plan and reach out to Saviano and Turski, neither of whom is pleased that their taxes have gone up.
Alfred and Bullock arrive. Bullock shows Butch the photo of Selina, but Butch stonewalls him. Hey, story time: Alfred once knew a fella named Butch. The guys called him Butch because he wasn’t. It was a wind-up name. In no time, Alfred puts Butch on the ground and holds a knife to his throat.
Fish then makes herself known and Bullock shows her the photo. She correctly guesses that Selina is the Lovecraft witness. Streets talk. Fish isn’t keen to helping out, but then Alfred points out that Bruce Wayne is also missing. Fish wants to lend a hand, but it’s none of her business. Then Alfred throws on the charm, telling Fish that petty self interest shouldn’t outweigh honor and compassion. Fish decides to make a few calls. Go Alfred!
Selina then helps Bruce into a dress. Okay, not really, but some new clothes.
And look, there’s Clare Foley again as Pamela Is-I mean, Ivy Pepper. Juvie caught her, so she’s been adopted upstate. Bruce recognizes Ivy as Mario Pepper’s daughter. Rather than stay incognito, Bruce introduces himself. Ivy isn’t thrilled to see the boy who she feels might have been responsible for her father’s death and mother’s suicide. Selina then must have realized that this scene needed a point, so she asks Ivy if she’s seen Clyde the fence. He’s working out of the factory on the narrows. With that, the two leave. Selina is scared of Ivy. I have no idea why.
Well, that scene was almost pointless.
Gordon enters one of the locations given to him by Harvey. Luckily, he finds Lovecraft at this one. He prepares to arrest Lovecraft for conspiracy to commit murder, but turns out that the same people hunting Selina Kyle are also after him. Hell, that’s the only reason he’s hiding. He knows too much. Lovecraft isn’t this big villain that Gordon thinks he is. The people who really run Gotham are laughing at Gordon because of his morals and ethics.
Lovecraft motions to his briefcase. Before the Waynes’ murder, there was a run on Wayne Enterprises’ stock, like someone knew something bad was coming. Lovecraft figured that he deserved a cut, so he started digging.
The remaining two assassins enter for Lovecraft. A fight breaks out with Copperhead getting the better of Gordon (and Gordon’s stunt double) and the other killer going after Lovecraft.
Gordon wakes up to a call from Bullock. Fish has a lead on Bruce and Selina’s location. They’re located at a spot called The Factory. Cat used a fence named Clyde. Gordon searches for Lovecraft, only to find him dead in his bathtub with a bullet through his skull…and Gordon’s firearm nearby.
Over at The Factory, Selina and Bruce speak with Clyde, played by Devin Harjes, who looks and sounds like a slightly larger version of The Count on Arrow. Selina’s got the goods for Clyde, including a fancy watch. Yeah, this is Bruce’s stuff. Selina wants $1,000 for the watch, but Clyde only offers $50. Quite a massive discount. Bruce feels the need to point out the actual value of his, well, valuables. Selina refuses any more offers and prepares to leave, but Clyde’s men grab the two. Selina better watch her step or Clyde’s foot soldiers will poke Bruce’s eyes out. Probably not as effective as scratching them out. Bruce and Selina are taken upstairs and locked in a room with no one to stand guard and watch them.
The two realize they may be able to escape through the windows up top and begin stacking any and everything that will help them get higher up.
At the same time, Copperhead and the other assassin arrive and deliver Clyde his money. In exchange, he presents the key to the room where the kids are being held.
One person is sent up to retrieve Bruce and Selina. Sure, that will work just fine. He’s knocked out and the kids head downstairs.
Bullock and Alfred arrive at The Factory, but immediately take on enemy fire. Bullock falls back to wait for backup, but Alfred rushes in. Soon enough, Gordon arrives.
They follow Alfred in while Bruce shows off his new skill to Copperhead. This skill involves the fine art of throwing beams. They all miss. She nabs Bruce, but doesn’t want to hurt him. He’s not on the contract. Before taking her leave, Copperhead gives Bruce some advice: don’t mistake bravery for good sense. Alfred and Bruce reunite.
Naturally, the mayor isn’t happy. I guess he decided to kick Captain Essen out for the moment while he reams out Gordon, because she’s nowhere to be seen. Mayor James is at a loss on what to tell the media about Lovecraft’s death. Gordon has a suggestion: tell the public that Lovecraft was a crook and killed by whoever he would have implicated if he lived to testify. No, Gordon. Just no. Mayor James doesn’t go along with this. After all, it was Gordon’s gun. On balance, he believes that Gordon didn’t kill him. His version of the story is that Lovecraft committed suicide due to Gordon’s relentless questioning. That’s what will people will hear.
When asked for his opinion, Dent goes along with Mayor James’ story. James still has to contend with Gordon. Dent knows how to walk the line. Gordon, however, doesn’t know where the edge is.
Mayor James then delivers the official version of Lovecraft’s suicide to the press.
Gordon has been reassigned as a security guard at Arkham Asylum. It’s either this or quit and Gordon won’t give Gotham’s power players that satisfaction. At least Bullock’s next partner may be easier than Gordon. And Nygma gives him a hug. At least it wasn’t the hand on the shoulder.
Alfred learned nothing from all of this because he still leaves the windows open. This allows Selina another chance to slip in and return Bruce’s stuff. Bruce offers for her to keep it, but she wants to keep things honest. Plus, she’s got something else.
God-damn it, Gotham!
Following this, Alfred enters and then he shuts the window. You idiots.
And Gordon heads into Arkham Asylum.
So that’s the end of the first half of Gotham’s first season. We’ve been introduced to a world before Batman, before Commissioner James Gordon, before much of what we associate with the Batman mythology. The unfortunate thing is that Gotham still doesn’t know how to strike a balance between the dramatic and campy affairs, resulting in episodes with muddled writing and odd character decisions.
I’ll gripe about the series more, but for now, this episode. Taking more focus away from the detectives meant that this episode had us spending more time with Bruce and Selina Kyle. Gordon mostly points fingers and plays catch-up while Bullock and Alfred are the ones who get leads on the missing kids.
This episode had a few characters forgetting things they should have been aware of due to what they previously encountered or heard about. Even though they weren’t after him, Bruce failed to see why assassins would come for him, even though the Goat just murdered the children of Gotham’s one-percent not that long ago. On that same note, neither he nor Alfred thought it necessary to keep all doors and windows closed at all times to prevent any unnecessary intrusions. Hell, this is how Selina entered Wayne Manor the first time. Why isn’t Bruce smarter at this point? He should know by now that he’s a target.
I appreciate that he doesn’t just follow Selina without question. She might be the best chance to find his parents’ killer, but he acknowledges rightly that she doesn’t care for people. The fact that Selina took offense to this just proved him right. I’m not sold on him chasing after Selina when she tried to slip. The girl is head over heels for Bruce. Chances are the two would cross paths again, anyway. Bruce’s occasional naïveté irks me more so because we’ve seen how meticulous and smart he can be when he really looks into something, such as his parents’ murder. Yes, the boy has lived a sheltered life, but he’s had his eyes opened to the harsh world around him. Start thinking smarter, Bruce.
May as well get these two done right now. I’m not a fan of the dialogue and interactions between Bruce and Selina Kyle. I wasn’t fully sold on the food fight from last week, either, but that felt more natural than Selina saying things like ‘kiddo.’ Seriously, whoever writes dialogue for Selina has someone much older in mind. If Selina was so bothered by Bruce saying she’s not a nice person, and then screw with him just so they could hang out, why even let him tag along with you? Selina should consider Bruce a non-issue since she’s got other things to worry about- like being hunted by assassins. When she talked about wanting to try and be nice, I got the feeling she only did it because she felt she had something to prove, not because she wanted to be nice. And returning Bruce’s items just felt like a way for the show to put them on good terms instead of her doing it out of the goodness of her cat heart.
Oh, and what’s up with her repeatedly asking if Bruce wants to kiss her? I’m surprised she hasn’t puckered up a lot more often. If people found the kiss between Bruce and Selina to be cute, fine. I just found it forced.
I’m not seeing any organic chemistry between these two. For as little time as we’ve seen them, Selina has mocked Bruce’s attempts at disciplining himself, saying that it would do him no good on the streets of Gotham. But then we see her teaching Bruce how to balance himself and that didn’t even do him any good against Copperhead. Make up your mind, Selina. If Selina is going to mock Bruce’s training, why even lend a hand when what she had to teach served him no better than him burning himself? I don’t care whether Bruce and Selina are still young- I’m not cutting the show any slack when they’re trying to force this relationship on viewers so soon. Putting the two of them together at this point in the show’s history wasn’t exactly a bright idea.
And that leads me into Gordon. You know, Gordon has every right to be upset at Harvey for leaking his name, but let’s go to the source. Gordon had to have known that putting Selina Kyle with a billionaire orphan could lead to danger. Hell, Alfred even told him that this could lead to danger. Gordon blames everyone but himself and while he might not have led assassins to Selina, he’s still the one who put her in Wayne Manor in the first place. In hindsight, I have to wonder whether it would have been a good idea for Gordon to keep Selina with him. He’s an officer of the law. A straight arrow, but still an officer, so chances are assassins might not have been as forthcoming, but I’m speculating. My point is that Gordon should have held himself accountable because he didn’t have to stick Selina with Alfred and Bruce. And, again, Gordon still no real reason to trust Selina yet. All he has is a composite sketch. Other than that, he’s no further along with the Wayne murder investigation than when it began.
And he’s not even the one who gets stuff done. He’s still one step behind while his partner and the butler get leads. In fact, Gordon’s own ego and sense of duty are what get him canned. I’m not saying that’s a good thing or that he should go along to get along, but telling the mayor to kiss your ass doesn’t do you any favors at all. I do have to wonder why Mayor James chose Arkham, of all places, to stash Gordon. It’s not even connected with the GCPD. It just seems like a way to put Gotham close to what will soon be a major rogues’ gallery.
Speaking of rogues, Dent isn’t as straight of an arrow as he’d have us believe. His leaking of Gordon’s name kicked off this assassination attempt and he’s willing to play by the rules, even if he’s ignoring a murder that’s being played to the public as a suicide. This seems like the sort of man who would be replaced with Harvey Dent.
Sticking with rogues, Ivy Pepper just appearing felt random. Until Selina asked about Clyde, the scene didn’t serve much purpose other than to remind us that Ivy’s father had been framed for the Wayne murders. The scene was oddly humorous because of how weird Ivy was, but if she hadn’t been in the episode, it wouldn’t take anything away from the episode. I’m surprised she didn’t have some potted plant with her. You know how Gotham loves its little winks and nods.
Bullock and Alfred have the most success getting leads on the kids and Alfred is becoming one of my favorites on the show. He’s more militant than past incarnations and I think that works in Bruce’s favor because we’ve seen Alfred be willing to help toughen him up. The fact that he could hold his own against the likes of Copperhead and Butch showed that you don’t F with the butler.
It is strange that Falcone wouldn’t be the least bit suspicious of Liza. As far as we can tell, she’s the newest person to join his ranks, so I would think he’d show more caution around her. Given everything that Penguin has told him, I have to wonder if Falcone has a long term plan to counter what Fish is planning.
So then, we’re ten episodes into Gotham and it still doesn’t know what kind of show it wants to be. The show isn’t terrible, but it isn’t great, either. And you can tell there’s potential buried underneath the sloppy writing: Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue still have great chemistry, Robin Lord Taylor’s performance as Penguin and Sean Pertwee’s job as Alfred are the standout roles. But a few good performances don’t cover up convoluted plots and a desire from the writers to remind us that this is a show about Batman. I’d rather see the detective aspect played up a bit more and it looked like the show was headed in that direction with “Spirit of the Goat.”
If you want an example of what Gotham could be like when it manages to succeed on most levels, ranging from writing to action and dialogue, watch “Penguin’s Umbrella.” And that’s still seven episodes in. While I enjoy some of the performances, a lot of the show comes up short. It’s still early on and a lot could change, but the show has stumbled a lot out of the gate. Whether as a fan of Batman or television in general, I can’t say that I enjoy the majority of Gotham.
I enjoy the majority of Arrow.
I enjoy the majority of The Walking Dead.
Hell, I even enjoy what little of The Flash series we’ve seen so far.
But Gotham still has a long way to go before it knows what kind of show it wants to be. If you love this show, that’s no problem. You’ve found more enjoyment in it than I have. But hey, maybe things will pick up in the second half of the season.