Instead of an in-depth review of every moment, I highlight two things I liked and did not like about the latest episode of Gotham. (SPOILERS) At the end, I'll give my final thoughts (also known as the TL:DR version) ,give you a completely random ranking and leave you with a question. Okay, that's enough of an intro, let's get to it:
POSITIVE: PENGUIN'S INSANITY
I've always enjoyed the Penguin and how he's been portrayed by actor Robin Lord Taylor. But after he became "King of Gotham" by making Fish sleep with the fishes (get it? Because he pushed her into the ocean!) I was worried that Penguin had no room to grow.
My fears were quickly relieved by this week's episode. We've known for a while now that Penguin is manipulative, prone to violence and has some serious mommy issues. Now that Galavant the Bloody has his mom, all of his characteristics have become more intense. The Penguin that became the crime boss will either have to get stronger or go back to carrying an umbrella. This is a nice character arc, and edges him closer to the Penguin we've traditionally seen in Arkham games and comics. (Except for the cockney accent) Plus, cutting Butch's hand? That was a gangster move.
NEGATIVE: RIDDLER'S CHEESY "SANITY"
Remember how the first season of Gotham had episodes with side plots that go nowhere? We get the unfortunate return to that with the Nygma scenes. Plain and simple, the Riddler did not need to be in this episode. When Nygma appeared in Season 1 he was, at the very least, either helping to solve cases or having weird interactions that helped us understand why he would descend into madness. But in this episode, all Nygma did was confirm that he and Kringle were in a relationship: something that could have been conveyed in one scene of dialogue.
Gotham writers, we fans have great memories. We're going to remember where we left with Nygma. What's the point of bringing him on if you're not adding anything to his character? Especially in light of some other elements (the knife, penguin's plight, the maniax) that would be much more interesting to explore and get more time with. You can leave people out of episodes. Speaking of which:
POSITIVE: NO BRUCE WAYNE TODAY
Bruce's plotline and his character arc have been strong this season. So when they left him out of this episode: I was completely fine. Again, when we go back to season 1, Bruce was mainly there to angst, cry and scream at Jim Gordon about his parents. Nowadays, his motivations are clear and simple. Get stronger. See what's on that jacked up computer. Maybe find Selena? All of which would have been out of place in this episode.
See writers? See how much I remembered about Bruce even though you just name checked him once at the end? Season 2 feels better because we're not shoving in Penguin, Riddler, Bruce, Robin, Killer Croc and Man-bat into each episode without solid reasons. Less is more, and it definitely was with Bruce in episode 5.
NEGATIVE: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT DO WITH FIREFLY
I love the decision to make "Firefly" a woman...but that's pretty much the only thing I liked about the Gotham version of this character. I honestly don't know what to make of Bridgit's origin story. The set-up felt like she was Cinderella who also happened to be a pyromaniac. (Think about it: abusive family, forced to clean the house, the phrase "cinder"...) How many times are going to work the "timid character goes crazy" angle? We've been through it with Barbara, Nygma, Penguin, Scarecrow...
I would have accepted that Bridgit was a pyromaniac that made a mistake (killing the cop) that lead to a downward spiral. This forced arson plot line makes her into this weak-willed character-which is a shame since this show has so many strong female villains. Firefly frustrated me most when we got to the scene where she climbs up the ladder. Three things:
1. Looks like she got over that leg burn pretty quickly as I didn't see her show any pain in running or climbing up that ladder.
2. I don't know how heavy her arson equipment is, but I think it would make climbing the ladder go a little slower.
3. Both facts above make it unbelievable that the police DID NOT CATCH HER.
I called this episode "Bugging Me" because it brought back some of Gotham's Season 1 Issues: plot lines that go nowhere (in the individual episode), weird character origins, and writers forgetting important things that happened not ten minutes earlier (seriously, Bridgit has at least second degree burns on that leg!) All of that said, Penguin's interesting character moments and the choice to leave some main characters out stopped this episode from becoming too frustrating.
3 Captured Fireflies out of the 6 currently flying around my backyard.
Audience Question: Would you like to see Butch get a hook hand, umbrella hand, or laser hand? Let me know!