Gotham: LoveCraft review

Get ready for spoilers galore and plenty of Bruce and Selina in our review of the Gotham midseason finale.

This Gotham review contains spoilers.

“She was grabbed by the child snatchers and now she’s getting attacked by assassins at Wayne freakin’ Manor?”

Harvey Bullock’s incredulous outburst mirrored my own, to tell you the truth. You see, the problem with Gotham isn’t what everyone thought it would be. “Why should anyone care about Gotham City before Batman?” is the usual question asked. Before Gotham hit the air, I could have given you plenty of reasons. Hell, I probably still could. But, you see, this show has very different ideas about what should actually be focused on.

If it wasn’t apparent enough from the previous nine episodes, what Gotham is doing is taking an iconic story and reducing it to a series of ridiculous coincidences in the interest of making connections that need not be there in the first place. They have yet to demonstrate a reason why Selina Kyle needs to be a major part of this show, let alone indicate why her history with Bruce Wayne should begin a decade before either of them had a costume. Doubling down on it for multiple episodes, by not only making Selina a witness to the Wayne murder, but having her live with Bruce for a short period (not to mention the fact that, of course she knew Poison Ivy as a child) does noone, the folks on screen, the writers, the audience, any favors at all.

Ad – content continues below

What, exactly, is all this meant to accomplish? To remind the audience that this is a Batman show? To make absolutely certain that we know who Bruce Wayne grows up to be? Is the legend of Batman in any way enhanced by learning things like, “actually, it was Catwoman who taught him how to balance on things and jump across rooftops?”

If you answered “yes” to that question, then Gotham is for you. Otherwise, well, I really don’t know what any of this is intended to accomplish. This isn’t about sacred cows, either. It’s about watching Gotham fall into the same traps that all prequels seem to fall into: that of assigning weight and significance to events based solely on an audience’s foreknowledge of them. It was lazy when George Lucas did it, and it’s lazy here.

For a midseason finale, “LoveCraft” is remarkably pedestrian. Other than putting the focus on Bruce and Selina (and thereby giving anyone who wants it an extra dose of awkward Bat-foreshadowing), “LoveCraft” treads water, re-establishing once again that the city is hopelessly corrupt, that Jim Gordon won’t buckle under (even when it means his job…let alone his life), and that his partner has different ideas about how things should be done. The show has, on at least two occasions, generated some genuine tension in regards to Jim Gordon’s path (if not his fate), but that is completely impossible when the two characters in question are Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle.

I suppose it’s a plus that I’ve almost forgotten which side the Penguin is playing during any given episode. His lies are so effortless that I can’t even begin to sort out whose interests he’s serving. I’m sure this is the intent. In particular, Robin Lord-Taylor’s scenes with John Doman’s Carmine Falcone held some weight, aided by some smart music cues. I do wish they would stick more to doing what works.

Speaking of things that work, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of watching Sean Pertwee kick ass. For yet another week, Alfred gets all the best lines, from his shit-talking to Butch to his sweet-talking of Fish. At this point, an Alfred Pennyworth: Royal Marine TV series would probably hold more appeal for me than slogging through another week where we have “characters” like Ivy Pepper foisted on us.

At the very least, they gave us a Harvey Dent who doesn’t display his “other side” this week, nor does he flip a coin. I kinda wish this was his intro. These actors are all good enough to sell these characters on their own merits, they don’t need pop culture shorthand to do it.

Ad – content continues below

So, Dick Lovecraft, the latest red herring in the Wayne murders is now dead. This is unsurprising. But, it does make this the second time Al Sapienza has died on a DC Comics TV show (he was the ill-fated Detective Chyre in The Flash pilot) in the space of three months. Surely this is a record, no? Maybe this will free him up to bring Chyre back to life over on The Flash.

Of course, we close things out with Gordon transfered to guard duty at…where else? Arkham Asylum. It’s amazing that a city so corrupt was able to get an enormous mental health facility up and running in such a short period of time. I may need a short stay there, myself, if things don’t improve. It’s too bad, as things were looking up the last few episodes, but “LoveCraft” just couldn’t get it done.

Gotham Central

Aside from the fact that this entire episode was basically the show reminding you that Bruce Wayne will become Batman, I didn’t catch anything. There were a couple of other fun nods, though. Selina’s “street kid” hideout looks like the place that the Foot Clan recruited teenagers back in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. This probably isn’t intentional, but I’d like to pretend it was.

Falcone’s dispatching of a trusted aide over dinner called to mind Al Capone with a baseball bat in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all news updates related to the world of geek. And Google+, if that’s your thing!

Ad – content continues below


2 out of 5