Holy mid-season finale, Batman! To get straight to the point – this week’s Gotham episode wasn’t one of my favourites. I’m not trying to slam the series on the whole (indeed, I’ve been enjoying it for the most part), but Worse Than A Crime lacked a certain pizzazz, in my eyes.
It’s difficult to put a finger on exactly why it didn’t ignite my interest, but I guess I just wanted a little bit more excitement after ten episodes of build-up. Finally, the showdown between Bruce Wayne and The Order Of Saint Dumas (TOoSD) has come to pass, but, in terms of actual action and violence, it didn’t amount to much.
Despite Bruce’s stellar Batman-like behaviour last week, Worse Than A Crime spent a sizeable chunk of its running time depicting Silver St Cloud messing around with him just like she used to. And, at the end of the episode, Bruce revealed that he knew she was still up to her old tricks, snogged her again, and left her with Galavan… leaving us to wonder exactly what the point of all that was. To kill time, perhaps?
Similarly, a lot of this episode was dedicated to bringing Jim, Alfred, Lucius, Bullock, Cat, Penguin and his goons together in order to storm Galavan’s headquarters. But after all that, they successfully took down the awaiting army of TOoSD monks in about a minute.
As this eleventh episode of the season drew to a close, I was hoping for a thrilling ending to careen onto our screens like a metaphorical Batmobile of awesomeness, justifying the lengthy build-up period that preceded it. Instead, an unremarkable conclusion followed thirty minutes of wheel-spin, making for an unconvincing episode on the whole.
Admittedly, Jim shooting Galavan was an interesting choice, but that could have been a lot more shocking if it hadn’t been foreshadowed so blatantly. Is Leigh’s only role in the series to warn Jim before he does something stupid? And is Jim destined to always do the stupid thing anyway?
Just like Jim and Leigh, other parts of Gotham are beginning to feel like they’re stuck in holding patterns, too. For example – are Nygma and Penguin just going to act weird, play piano, and occasionally interfere when the main plot requires it, from now on? On the goodies side of the fence, will Jim and Bullock deny Barnes’ demands in literally every episode?
Will Bruce make a last-minute escape from death at the hands of a villain multiple times every season? And how many times will Alfred arrive to save him just in the knick of time? I hope I’m just being a negative Nancy here, because I really don’t want Gotham to stagnate after the leaps and bounds that it’s made since its launch in 2014.
But with episodes like this – when everyone behaves exactly like you’d expect them to – there’s no sense of originality to keep us engaged. There’s nothing new for the cast to wrestle with, either. And this lot can be excellent when they’re given good material.
I want to see Penguin and Nygma be unpredictable and frightening. I want to wonder what’s going on in Jim’s head, and not have it spelled out for me repeatedly. And, having seen him toyed with by Jerome and Galavan already this season, I certainly don’t want Bruce Wayne to continue being a helpless child in need of rescuing by grown-ups.
Perhaps, now that Galavan and the majority of his TOoSD followers are out of the picture (for the time being), Gotham can deliver something a little more interesting when it comes back after Christmas.
That Mr Freeze tease was rather promising, for instance, as was the suggestion that Hugo Strange is experimenting on thought-dead characters like Fish and Galavan. That should be interesting when it comes to fruition. Is it too much to hope that Cameron Monaghan could be in a stasis tube somewhere, too?
Also – how on Earth is Jim going to weasle his way out of this one? It doesn’t get much worse than abducting the Mayor – with the help of a known mob boss – and killing him before letting him stand trial, does it?
I’ll see you after Christmas, then, when hopefully I’ll have nicer things to say. Have a good one!