This review contains spoilers.
2.2 Knock, Knock
Holy school bus petrol bomb, Batman! This week’s Gotham is one of the show’s best episodes yet. We’ve been encouraged to think of these opening three episodes of season two as a trilogy, and with that in mind Knock, Knock makes for a stellar second act.
Once again stealing the show is Cameron Monaghan’s proto-Joker, Jerome. He’s now incredibly comfortable in the role and continues to impress with every return that he makes. Although the rest of the Maniax – save for Barbara – are irritatingly underdeveloped, Monaghan has stepped into the unhinged ringleader role with some real gusto.
His performance this week – particularly that piece to camera at the end – really was Joker-worthy. He echoed Mark Hamill’s vocal dexterity throughout, and his ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet’ moment at the end was pure Jack Nicholson (‘wait’ll they get a load of me’ is what it really brought to mind).
The writing was strong, too. In particular, the theatrical schemes of the Maniax felt like pure comic book recreations. With a press-baiting dead body dropping and an outright attack on the GCPD both playing out according to plan over the course of the episode, this gang are beginning to feel like a real threat.
Of particular note was the GCPD attack sequence. This unflinchingly violent scene reminded us of the mob war scenes from the latter part of season one, and Knock, Knock makes for another example of Gotham at its grimly entrancing best. Barmy crooks against helpless cops – with anarchy and ‘good PR’ as their only aims – this felt like proper Batman material, didn’t it?
Also, it’s great to see the Maniax story played over multiple episodes – allowing more time for the personal beats between Jim and Barbara (now infinitely more interesting than last year) – rather than simply rushing to a standard-issue shoot-out denouement. Instead, this week, nothing was made easy for the GCPD, with Commissioner Essen’s death and the shooting of a snitch-in-the-making helping to add a sense of stakes to proceedings.
The Wayne Manor side strand was quietly moving this week, too. Alfred’s decision to smash up Thomas Wayne’s computer in a bid to protect Master Bruce – and in turn getting himself temporarily sacked – was a tad out-of-character, but Mr Pennyworth’s recruitment of Lucius Fox gave us some of the best dialogue Gotham has ever produced. And we’re not just saying that so Sean Pertwee won’t tuck us up, like a kipper.
This episode wasn’t quite perfect. The Riddler and Kringle side strand is really wearing thin at this stage. The sooner that Nygma gives into his charismatic villainous persona, the better. We’re bored of the awkward romance now.
Also in our ‘against’ column – did they need to put Bullock in retirement if he was going to return in week two? Odd one, that. But still, we’re looking forward to having Donal Logue back in the fold properly from week three onwards.
For the most part, though, this was a very strong episode. We’re looking forward to seeing what Jerome has up his sleeve in next week’s outing, The Last Laugh. They couldn’t be writing him out, could they? We hope not.
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