This Gotham review contains spoilers
Gotham Season 4 Episode 8
Never in my life would I think there would be a TV series where two members of the old school Legion of Doom would be featured in an underground fight club. But listen, Gotham is one of the most disjointed and chaotic shows on TV and its utter disregard for structure makes the series so much damn fun.
I mean, when the show tries to find a consistent direction like the Ra’s Al Ghul nonsense or the Azrael dreck from a few seasons back, Gotham becomes paint by numbers and predictable. But this season, when the series throws copious amounts of guano against the wall to see what sticks, the show becomes a potpourri of chaotic wonder that is just audaciously disjointed.
Let’s take this week’s episode of Gotham for example. The A story is a Gotham Central realistic crime drama of the power struggle between Harvey Bullock and James Gordon. Gordon is promoted to captain, taking the job from his best friend and partner Bullock. Bullock is still reeling from the machinations of Professor Pyg. The porcine killer tricked Bullock into shooting his own cops and this week, Bullock must honor his wounded comrades by presenting them with the bullets pulled out of their own bodies.
This is some real hardcore crime drama (well, except for the dude in the pig mask). The friendship between Bullock and Gordon is one of the indelible foundations of Gotham so it’s pretty seismic to see such a wedge form between two of Gotham City’s only good cops.
It is also revealed that Gordon’s promotion took place because of the plotting of one Sofia Falcone. Falcone’s planning runs counter to the wishes of her new pal Penguin so there are layers to this noir drama. Sofia has become quite the fatale and her relationship with Penguin has opened some fun story doors.
At first, the Falcone/Cobblepot bond seemed forced, but with Sofia pushing Gordon into a new role, things have gone in an interesting direction. Now, the questions to ask are how will Gordon and the fallen and very drunk Bullock reconcile and what will Penguin do when he makes a move on Sofia? Because believe me, Penguin suspects.
Penguin has lots to do this week as he took on a young ward and yeah, that just sounds weird. While hanging at Sofia’s orphanage, Penguin meets a bullied mute boy and trains the lil’ lad in the fine art of vengeance. By episode’s end, the doe eyed wee one knows how to stab folks in the heart and gleefully waits future lessons in murder and mayhem. Well, that’s certainly different. Things aren’t all Romper Room for Oswald though as he discovers that over in the Narrows, his ex-BFF Edward Nygma is mocking him in the Gotham fight club.
As we all know, if there’s one thing Penguin hates it’s being mocked, so he sends Selena, Tabitha, and Barbara to take care of business and bring Riddler in. Now this is where things gets nuts as Barbara runs into Lee Thompkins and her new Morticia Addams persona. Tabitha reunites with Butch turned Solomon Grundy, and Selena stays on mission and takes down Nygma. From there, all parties agree that for some reason, Tabitha will take on Grundy and the winner gets Nygma.
All hell breaks loose, Butch begins to regain his memory of his beloved Tabby and Firefly shows up before things go all sorts of crazy pants. Lee takes down Firefly, Cherry, the leader of the Fight Club, is killed and somehow, Lee Thompkins Is named leader of the Narrows’ underworld. Holy chaos, Batman, that’s a poop load of moving parts. Somehow, Gotham keeps it all (almost) coherent and uses all these disparate characters in a tapestry of comic book craziness that gets more entertaining as it gets more incoherent.
But one has to ask, why do 170 pound thugs think they have a chance against Grundy in the ring? But Tabitha does and manages to take down her former lover bear while Barbara and Lee develop a weird sort of mutual respect as some sort of Gordon ex-girlfriend club and Lee goes from brilliant doctor to gothed out proprietor of an illegal fight club. Oh Gotham, you barely coherent scamp, you.
The weird thing is the show gets stronger without Bruce Wayne, I just don’t care about the rebel without a cause Bruce and the season gets more entertaining when it isn’t trying to find unique directions for Bruce, because the only direction he should be going in is training to be Batman. That means no side missions to Nada Parbat, no needless new love interests, and no binge drinking for frack sakes. I would rather watch a confused Solomon Grundy lumber around than watch a buzzed Bruce Wayne cutting a rug.
So lots of new intrigues this week as Gotham takes little bits and pieces of the DC Universe, sticks them in a blender, and just lets it spin. It’s a guilty pleasure and it’s a load of yucks as Gotham continues to take glee in being a really fun mess.