Gotham is back with its fourth episode of the season. The show is a success and FOX has just approved an additional six episodes to extend its first season. It shows the confidence that the network has in the story that series creator, Bruno Heller, has planned out. This week's episode "Arkham," lays out the political racketeering that went into re-opening the famed mental institution, while all sides move closer to an all-out mob war.
The episode opens with the Penguin at Gordon's front door. From that point, we see him transform multiple times. The way Robin Lord Taylor manipulates his character's mannerisms, voice, and even nationality, to whatever environment he is in illustrates how slithery he is. Whether he is dealing with Det. Gordon, Barbara, a mob boss, or his kitchen manager, he plays to their individual weaknesses, that he is able to detect innately. Once again the writers are using him as the connective tissue between the mob and police, which will continue to keep his presence relevant. Not only that, but they have begun him on his entrepreneurial ways by giving him a sudden promotion to restaurant manager. In the Batman mythology, the Penguin goes on to own nightclubs and casinos, so its a fun nod for fans. More importantly, he has begun to manipulate Maroni into the beginnings of full-on mob war with Falcone.
We see the gears for conflict beginning to turn as Fish Mooney auditions singers, with the gift of seduction and a violent streak. She is looking to craft a weapon. Presumably Mooney is looking to mold a spy to infiltrate mobster Carmine Falcone's inner circle. Meanwhile Gordon is dealing with the stress of Oswald Cobblepot, the Penguin, returning to the city. Not only is Cobblepot's arrival putting his life in jeopardy with the mob, his wife has become suspicious of his morality, which is affecting his relationship. Barbara has previously called the newspaper about details of Gordon's cases, so his reluctance share further information is credible however. Gordon is now finding the walls closing in on himself, as he has less and less people that he can confide it.
The drama and connections between the characters is what carries the episode, not Easter eggs from the comic books and winks at the audience. It is encouraging that this largely expository episode manages to be as gripping as a car chase, without much notable action. The detective and procedural aspects could be more complex however. There was another seemingly random killer on the loose, but it wasn't the main thrust of the episode, which is extremely encouraging. It seems that clues and connections come to Gordon lightning fast. Taking the time to show his deductive reasoning skills in a fuller and more clever way, could strengthen the show as well.
The biggest new connection to the Batman mythology in the episode is the early history of Arkham Asylum. It is being used as political leverage between the city and the mob. It was the Wayne's plan to restore Arkham and use it as a beacon of hope, to show that anyone can be rehabilitated. Yet another very clever way to give the show a fitting place in Batman's history.
They also use Arkham Asylum as an opportunity to have Gordon come up for another chat with Bruce Wayne and Alfred. The conversations between Bruce and Gordon are distracting because they don't seem very plausible. He frankly shares with Wayne all the behind-the-scenes knowledge of corruption, of both the city and the police force. It seems a little haphazard to tell a kid all the details of the city, that are getting grown men killed. Besides, Wayne would be smart enough to read between the lines if he wasn't being spoken to directly. Bruce is the only person that Gordon confides in, including his wife, which comes across as an oddly irrational place to vent. However it does make sense in the narrative, despite the scenes being awkward.
[Gotham](series:1127075) is still operating in a high gear. In last week's episode there were some troubling signs, but they seemed to have steered clear of them and maintained the show's mature tone. The tension looks to grow next week as this episode didn't end on a cliff-hanger, but on a clever character reveal. The world of Gotham is expanding, as the noose tightens around each character's neck. We can't wait for next week's episode and that is what you are looking to get out of a quality show.
Source: Point of Geeks