Oh show. What will I do with you?
When I originally decided to review Gotham I thought I would start with rewatching all the episodes and reviewing them until I was caught up. But Hulu torpedoed that idea by only having the last 5 episodes of the show up. And I wasn’t about to pay cash money to stream this shit off Amazon. I have other (probably Batman-related) things to spend my money on other than a (Batman-related) TV show.
Instead of picking a random episode and starting from there, I decided it would be best to start with the “Winter Premier” or whatever stupid fancy name they use to make the first episode back after the holidays sound way more important than it actually is.
After all that, this episode felt like I was watching a random episode. Thanks a lot, Gotham. Asses.
But before I begin the review, I have to say that I actually like Gotham. I thought I’d hate it. I DID hate it in the beginning, when I was trying to fit every little thing into the existing continuity. (And because I really don’t give two fucks about Batman before he is Batman. Can we fast forward to when he’s 32 and banging Catwoman on a rooftop, please?) Then I decided this show is an Elseworld, and I no longer care that shit doesn’t fit. It’s so much more enjoyable now! For a show that can’t decide if it’s a gritty crime drama or a tribute to the campiest of camp – it’s endearing and charming. I like it. No shame, fuckers! NO SHAME!
We start with Batman’s Pal Jimmy Gordon hanging out and watching a play with his new Arkham buddies. He’s kind of standing beside them, which probably isn’t the best way for the only authority figure around to go about staying safe in a dangerous environment, but whatevs. There’s also a Crazy Nurse Who Is Totally Not Crazy, Guys! hanging around.
The inmates are putting on a performance of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. I’d get into why and how this symbolizes the overarching themes of the show/episode, but I really don’t want to bore anyone with my brilliant take on this issue (This has nothing to do with me being a literal moron and having no desire to parse Shakespeare for fun. None at all!)
Jim stops a fight, then Hostile for No Reason Boss shows up to tell Jim that this is his fault for some reason – as if there would be no fights in a fucking hospital for the criminally insane if there was no Jim Gordon. Sounds legit. Leslie Thompkins appears to be attractive and to talk to Jim about how great he is. They think about fucking on top of the unconscious prisoner but decide that maybe fucking somewhere else would be better. Good call, guys. Creepy decaying mental hospital sex is really for disaffected suburban Goth kids who want to feel, like, alive and shit.
Later, Jim discovers that someone has been shocking the fuck out of the prisoners for some reason and now this one dude is about exciting as I am on a regular day (aka brain dead). Oops. Problem! Jim needs help figuring this whole thing out so he calls his bestest buddy Bullock to come and make every single moment he’s on screen a literal delight. Bullock is the best character on this show.
Eventually it’s deduced that someone on staff is doing this to the patients! Except it’s not staff! It’s the Crazy Nurse! She’s not a nurse! She’s an inmate! Let’s not talk about why she’s allowed to wander around Arkham in a fucking uniform with keys and a name tag! Because why wouldn’t you let the woman who killed a shitload of people when she was a nursing student wander around the asylum pretending to be a nurse? Crazy Nurse frees all the inmates and Jim plays the blustery dad card and tries to yell the incredibly violent criminals back into their cells. Doesn’t work. Crazy Nurse gets trampled and Jim and Leslie have to find another place to have arousing bodily contact.
But! BUT! – It wasn’t Crazy Nurse after all, not really. It’s the dude who is Hugo Strange but isn’t Hugo Strange. Discount Strange! He’s doing a Hannibal Lecter impression and saying Jim’s name like it tastes good on his tongue. He kills Dr. Lang and leaves Jim a love letter (don’t tell Leslie!) and escapes! Oh no! Next week (in two weeks) he’ll be all “Imma blow up this shit with these fucking electricity things, k?” And Jim will be all :SEETHE. INTENSE. ANGRY SPITTLE BREATHING THROUGH TEETH:
Elsewhere in Gotham: Selina takes Ivy to Barbara/Jim’s really fancy and nice apartment (in a CLOCK TOWER) because she’s going to die of consumption or whatever kids would die of in Dickens novels. Gotham doesn’t get a lot right about, well, anything, but they did get something right – Selina isn’t “nice.” She doesn’t give a fuck about being nice. But she is a good person. She’s empathetic. And she’s not going to let some weird plant kid with ratty hair die in the rain if she can help it. I love Selina. She can come live with me if she wants (I have cats!)
The Penguin…I don’t know. I can’t exactly figure out his thought process most of the time. I assume his thinking goes “NOTHING BAD CAN HAPPEN TO ME BECAUSE I AM AN IMPORTANT BATMAN CHARACTER AND I CANNOT DIE!” He’s playing Falcone and Maroni, which is great, but then he does fucking stupid things like try to raise taxes on fishermen without Maroni’s approval. Anyone with half a god damned brain cell could have told him that was going to blow up in his face (and make his hair look weirder than it does). I knew it was going to happen and I’m dumb! Stupid, even! But he does it. And it blows up in his face. And he gets the worst black eye makeup job in the history of television. Bask in that shit because it is not seen outside community dinner theater.
Fish talks to some friend of Butch who gets killed by Butch because loyalty or something that sounds like honor/smart business decisions to mobsters. I would like to point out two things:
- When Fish is talking to Butch and there are three girls dancing off-beat in the background, one of those women is wearing what looks like the Bow Bra made famous in Beyonce’s “7-11” video
- When Butch pulls up to kill his friend and then drives away after the murder, the music (old song blasting as dude drives away in an old car) reminded me of the X-Files episode “Home”. (If you don’t know that episode, you may not want to. One of the most fucked up – and best – episodes of that show.)
I suppose I should mention Barbara before I end this. I don’t know which Monday Night Fox TV Show characters I hate more – Barbara from Gotham or Katrina from Sleepy Hollow. I hate that. I hate that I hate these women. But this is what fucking happens when you create (or in Barbara’s case, adapt) a character to exist solely as a love interest for a male character. She runs out of shit to do when she is not making life hard for the hero. Then she ends up doing things that are fucking stupid – like doing drugs with her ex/current lover…who is a cop…in a Gotham hotel room…after she told the male character she was leaving him because she didn’t feel safe…in GOTHAM. She’ll also do shit like not being able to tell there is a CHILD on the other end of the phone when she calls her estranged boyfriend simply because she needs to be mad at the Hero in the next episode so he will experience Man Pain and Drama. And, Gotham, I say this with love – when two named female characters WHO ARE LOVERS cannot make it through a three minute scene about their relationship without passing the Bechdel test, you may want to rethink how you are dealing with your female characters.
Ok! Off to do something that isn’t this. I will leave you with one of the dumbest lines from the show – Bullock, in referring to Jim working for Dr. Lang, calls Dr. Lang the “king of all cheese grinders.”