Gotham has arrived and it's official. It is really good. The show has just begun, but it already knows its own identity and has a solid handle on its tone. Often it takes a new series weeks or even a couple of seasons to find its niche. However it's clear that the characters and various plotlines established in the pilot episode of Gotham, will patiently and confidently unfold over the course of the season or more.
Series creator Bruno Heller is doing an outstanding job of layering the world with corruption in every part of mob and police forces. The police prioritize which crimes are responded to by the highest bidder and in the world they operate in, it's almost understandable. Gordon's journey is engaging because it's clear that as the series progresses, he will have less and less places to turn. He already is butting heads with the underworld and even with his own first-responding officers at crime scenes. As of now Gordon can only trust his fiance and possibly his partner Bullock, while it's inevitable that eventually even those relationships will dissolve. Bullock makes it clear that he and the mob will blackmail Gordon if he gets too far out of line, with the suspected murder of the Penguin, Oswald Cobblepot.
One of the highlights of the series so far is Robin Lord Taylor's portrayal of Cobblepot. Everyone but Gordon thinks he is dead. Fish Mooney even makes it clear that she wishes he was alive so she could torture him further. Heller has gone in an interesting direction with his characterization of the young Penguin. Almost every interpretation of him portrays him as cold, yet calculating opponent. In both episodes, he has shown to be impulsively violent and sympathetic. He acknowledges that he has been foolish and needs to readjust his tactics, so we will be looking to see his maturation in the underworld. If this is an indication of how the villains could be reinterpreted, it will keep audiences on their toes for seasons to come. Setting the story in a time that even the source material has failed to explore, leaves the creators the freedom to play with viewer expectations of known personalities.
The title of the episode "Selina Kyle," should give a clue to how the series will unravel. The pilot episode was good, however one of the largest concerns was that it was too crammed full of familiar faces. This episode still centers around Gordon, but as he gets to know these characters, so does the viewer. This episode we are introduced to Selina Kyle.
Much in the way that Heller is positioning Cobblepot, Selina Kyle looks to be an anti-hero that fans will gravitate towards. Camren Bicondova is a revelation as the young Kyle, who again is witness to a horrific crime. A child trafficking ring is kidnapping homeless youth, including Kyle, in the dark back alleys of the city. Kyle has been the ear to the streets on crime so far. However, Heller gives her much more to do than simply be observant. She already possesses near supernatural cat-like agility and a marked ability to use her environment to her advantage. This is shown during her escape from her kidnappers and when she unjustly threatens a detective to get Gordon's attention. She is observant, crafty, and manipulative, all defining traits of her future incarnation. Gotham is such a well-realized, gritty city that it's easy to forget there are also those with almost super-human abilities. Kyle operates almost like a ninja and is capable of brutal violence, even at a young age. Look for the creative ways that the showrunners reveal character's trademark skill-sets over the course of the series with Kyle, Bruce Wayne, and other villains as well.
The creators of Gotham have chosen a new direction for the relationship between Alfred and Wayne that may shock some viewers. Almost every interpretation of the Batman mythos has skipped the period between the Waynes' murders and Bruce's return from his travels as an adult. While it is shocking to see Alfred shake the young Bruce while scolding, "You stupid little boy," for intentionally burning himself. Sean Pertwee balances out his harsh edge with an honest and palpable love for the troubled youth. He acknowledges that he doesn't know how to parent, but he will do it according to Thomas Wayne's wishes. Which makes knowing how Bruce ends up a tragedy in a sense, which in turn, adds to the quality and drama of the show.
There were other plot oriented details for Fish Mooney and Carmine Falcone, however we will let that play out in future episodes. Viewers and fans of both Gotham and Batman should be able to exhale, because the new show has a standard of quality that it has sustained in its second episode. What is most encouraging is that each character seems to have a firm role within the story and every moving part seems to have a function that will eventually be revealed; that is the hallmark of smart writing and showrunning. The episode left viewers on a small cliffhanger that will ultimately get Gordon more deeply entangled in the Gotham underworld. Can't wait to find out what happens next week. And that is the sign that the show has done its job.
Did you enjoy this week's episode? Get ready for a season full of known characters and unseen twists. Check out this season preview that highlights famous faces like Professor Pyg and Mr. Zsasz.
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Source: Point of Geeks