Review: Gotham – Season 2, Episode 1 “Damned If You Do…”

Here I go 

Here I go

Here I go again

Girls what’s my weakness? 

BAD TV!
The official Hulu name of this episode is “Rise of Villains: Damned If You Do…” but I’m not going to bother with that because It’s my fucking blog and I don’t have to.

The Misadventures of Jimmy G

This season starts out featuring Jim Gordon: Traffic Cop. I honestly had no idea why Jim was a traffic cop since we ended last season with him and Falcone giving each other “No, YOU’RE the best!” blow jobs on Barbara’s balcony. Then I remembered that Loeb was on Maroni’s side (WHO WAS SHOT IN THE HEAD, BTW) and so he’s…mad at Jim? Still in power after the horse he backed fucking ate a bullet for being a sexist? Whatever, all we need to know is that he wasn’t immediately thrown on his ass by the powers that be and he demoted both Jim and Harvey. Harvey quit – he went to tend bar (and we’re treated to Harvey wiping the bar down by lifting a drunk’s head, cleaning under it, and setting his head back down. That’s fucking funny.)

There’s a dude calling himself Zaardon the Soul Reaper (please put him in a comic) who drinks some sort of magical dragon serum presented by the Big Bad for the season. Of course he decides to start shooting shit right in front of everyone’s favorite traffic cop. Jim stops him and hauls him off to jail, but not before he shoves his lazy partner for being lazy and carrying a sandwich. This gives Loeb a JoyBoner because now he can fire Gordon – and he does. Jimmy storms out of the precinct, but not before he threatens Loeb (again) because Jim’s entire character is FUCK THE MAN AND FUCK THE SYSTEM AND FUCK…OTHER THINGS THAT NEED FUCKING!!!

How can Jim be fired? Wasn’t he elected the union rep last season? Also – we already tried the “make Jim not a cop!” thing when he was a security guard at Arkham for a few episodes last season.

Jim is still with Leslie (who everyone insists on calling “Lee” which is terrible.) She doesn’t do a whole hell of a lot this episode but wander around with strangely messy hair. Gordon doesn’t have anything left, but he knows that someone can help him – Penguin. Ok. The one “moral man” in all of Gotham thinks it’s a good idea to ask for a favor from a guy who threw a woman off a roof last season AND sparked a gang war – the result of which indirectly lead Jim to being demoted to traffic cop. Sure! That guy’s solid, Jim! Ask for that favor!!!

Jim goes to see Penguin and sees that Selina has somehow worked her way up from “street kid” to “important enough to sit at Penguin’s table during business meetings.” She doesn’t even have to leave when Jim wants to talk to Penguin, even though everyone else does. Poor Selina. They probably felt they needed to give her something to do in this episode since they’ve taken away her position as Bruce’s love interest by introducing Silver St. Cloud. Yes, 14-year-olds need love triangles! Good idea, show!!

When Jim asks Penguin to get Loeb fired so he can be a cop again, Penguin automatically asks Jim to do him a “favor” by shaking down a guy who owes him money. Jim’s like. “NO! WHY WOULD YOU EVER THINK I WOULD DO YOU A FAVOR?? I’M THE LAST HONEST MAN IN GOTHAM!!” Everyone rolls their eyes and waits for Jim to do the favor.

If this were a different show (read: a better show), Jim would be able to get Loeb ousted and get himself reinstated without having to resort to asking for the help of a dangerous criminal. He’d figure out a way to do it within the law – maybe by doing detective work and relying on people like Harvey to help him. But this is not that show.

Jim goes to have a nice heart-to-heart with Harvey, who is happy to bitch about the GCPD and get Jim nice and drunk. Harvey tells him that Jim is too good to work for Penguin because the guilt would eat him up inside! (It didn’t last season, but, ok.) When they say goodbye, they give each other the Bro Forehead, which is a name I just made up for when dudes put their foreheads together and talk about how much they love each other while keeping enough space between them so no one thinks they’re gay. It’s ok to be gay, guys. And it’s ok for straight dudes to hug their friends and tell them that they’re awesome. You won’t catch the Gay Flu by showing affection.

Instead of doing detective work to get rid of Loeb, Jim walks all the way to Wayne Room to tell Bruce (AGAIN) that he can’t keep the promise of solving the Wayne murders. Alfred’s like, “….is your finger broken? Can’t dial a phone for any particular reason?”

Bruce, who I will discuss at length later, is all, “You know, if you need to do something shitty to get your job back, that’s totes ok. I know that’s weird coming from a kid, but I’m a really smart home-schooled kid who developed his own curriculum – just like Jaden Smith! How could I be wrong?” and Jim is all, “You DO have money that you didn’t have to do anything to earn, and if the modern political system teaches us anything it’s that the rich are naturally better than normal people, so you must be right!” and decides to do that favor for Penguin. Basically, Jim is a grown man who decided to ask a teenage boy for his opinion on an extremely important matter. That’s not weird at all!

Jim goes to get the money and shit goes sideways – there’s more of those weird camera-up-Jim’s-nose-while-running shots and shooting and fighting. As he runs, he kills the other underboss. He shoots him twice but the next time they show him it looks like he’s been Carried. Jim looks like he feels kind of bad maybe?

Pictured: The dude Jim killed

Later, in what is actually a pretty funny scene, the Penguin and Zsasz go to kill Loeb (who looks strangely like Rick Perry.) They make a severed head talk, they do a bad cop/hilarious crazy cop routine where Zsasz keeps begging to kill the commissioner. Instead of killing him, the Penguin strikes a deal – Loeb will retire.

Side note – the Penguin said there were no skeletons in Loeb’s closet. Wasn’t it his daughter who was living at that farmhouse and making jewelry from dead birds because she went crazy and killed her mother? He was hiding her because of the scandal? And now he has no skeletons?

At the retirement ceremony, a man named Theo Galavan gives a speech. He’s the guy who gave Zaaron the “dragon’s blood” in the cold open and, if the Internet rumor mill is to be believed, he’s Ra’s Al Ghul in disguise. I really hope that’s not true. He’s also the guy who rigged it so Zaardon would be in Arkham with the dragon’s blood turned to knockout gas and spewed from his mouth, rendering the other inmates unconscious and facilitating their capture. He wants to unleash the villans on Gotham! It would be shocking if we didn’t already know that this season is all about the villains.

Once Loeb is out, Essen is in, and she instantly hands Jim his badge back. Shortest. Unemployment. Ever.

Later, Jim stares into the mirror as Bruce’s voice over about a true calling plays and the music swells. DRAMA!!!!

Barbarella

The biggest surprise of the episode is Barbara. Last season she was in a contest for “WORST CHARACTER ON TV” with Katrina from Sleepy Hollow. And then all of a sudden she became the most interesting. She continues that here – she has run out of fucks and is no longer wooden and shitty. Locked in Arkham, she ropes a guy into being her bodyguard while wearing a STRIPED PRISON DRESS, she gets her “prison boyfriend” to get her a rotary phone (LOL LOL LOL – what did you do – run the cord down the hall from the guard’s office?) and then is 100% on board with ruining Gotham for fun. Let’s give her a hand.

BUT – and you knew there would be a but – I’m not sure if I like where I think this is going. She’s automatically connecting with Jerome (Joker) but…isn’t he like 15? And she’s old enough to be Jim’s age-appropriate girlfriend? Like, he’s under 18 and she’s a grown woman? Ick.

Also, I have a feeling they’re pivoting her into a Harley Quinn role. Gotham has never been true to source material (Ivy Pepper, anyone?) so they could plausibly do this, especially since it seems like they’ve set up a pseudo Suicide Squad in breaking all these villains out of Arkham. The question is – do we WANT this to happen? I’m undecided.

Riddler

The Riddler is still dealing with that horrible Nice Guy(tm) plot where he loves a girl who doesn’t want him. Added bonus – killing her boyfriend caused him to get a split personality! The Riddler with a split personality. When Two-Face has just been made a regular on the show. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Bruce

Bruce. Bruce, Bruce, BRUCE. What the fuck? I mean, just, WHAT THE EVERLOVING FUCK?

Bruce has discovered that Wayne Room is attached to Wayne Cave. Unfortunately, there’s a steel door with a keypad lock on it. Instead of showing Bruce using that brain he’ll one day be famous for, he smashes the keypad like Homer Simpson in need of a dialing wand and pulls at his hair. The show doesn’t even show him really TRYING to unlock the door – there’s no “Alfred, I tried everything – my birthday, their anniversary, my mother’s birthday and nothing!” It’s just “SMASH SMASH SMASH! IT WON’T OPEN!! I’LL MAKE A BOMB!!”

Yes. He decides that the only way through a door located in the bedrock underneath his house is to BUILD A BOMB AND BLOW IT UP. He doesn’t get a blow torch and cut his way through. He doesn’t hack the keypad to run all the number possibilities on the lock at an advanced speed, therefore cracking the code, HE BUILDS A BOMB. WITH FERTILIZER.

When Alfred sees him with the fertilizer, he says “Hey, maybe you don’t want to go in there because I think that it might be you dad’s secret sex dungeon and you really don’t want to know what your dad shoved up his ass for fun. Besides, you don’t know how to make a bomb?” and Bruce replies with, “I READ A BOOK, ALFRED.”

Upon hearing that line, my husband and I did this:

That was the funniest fucking line and I don’t think it was supposed to be.

Alfred tells Bruce that he needs more fertilizer while Bruce is carrying a 10-pound bag of it. He tells him that he needs 10 MORE 10-POUND BAGS OF FERTILIZER. Now, I have no idea how many bags of fertilizer it would take to make a bomb, and I’m not going to google it because I don’t want to explain that to the NSA (Hi, NSA!!!) but…11 bags??? A 110 POUND FERTILIZER BOMB UNDER YOUR HOUSE???

They blow the door and high-five like weirdos (which was adorable) and then Alfred lets Bruce, a 13-year-old boy, walk down the potentially unstable passageway carved into the rock to see if their bomb worked. It did. Thomas Wayne has an office under the Manor, and even though he’s only been dead about a year, there are enough spider webs covering his shit to make it look like something out of Indiana Jones.

Bruce finds a letter that Thomas wrote before his death. In it, he praises Bruce for being smart enough to crack the keypad code. The code was BRUCE. IT WAS HIS OWN FUCKING NAME. SAY HELLO TO THE WORLD’S GREATEST DETECTIVE, THE ONE WHO COULDN’T FIGURE OUT THAT THE 5-DIGIT CODE TO HIS FATHER’S STUDY WAS HIS OWN NAME.

Bruce reads the rest of his father’s letter. In it, he tells Bruce that he can’t have both the truth and happiness. I’m sorry, did this become the motherfucking X-Files? Suddenly we’re on a mission to find the Truth (capital T)? And we can’t have any happiness while uncovering said Truth? GOD FORBID ANYONE BE HAPPY EVEN FOR A FUCKING SECOND.

Jesus Christ, this show.

I will say that the other reviews of this show (AV Club, io9) seemed to like this episode much more than I did. I think they were so shocked by Barbara not sucking they ignored the fact that other dumb shit happened.

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