Gotham, Season 1, Episode 2: 'Selina Kyle' Review

9/30/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

After Gotham's Season 1 premier started to make me worry about this show, episode 2 continues to encourage my worries.  There's definitely a few bright spots, but it appears more and more like the writers are more interested in telling the less exciting version of this story, and more excited in riding the coattails of years of Batman lore.

Season 1, Episode 2: "Selina Kyle," delves a little more into the story of the girl that would become Catwoman. As Homeless children are disappearing around the city,  Detectives Gordon and Bullock are on the case, and the apathy and corruption of Gotham's city leadership becomes increasingly evident.

This show is developing a very schizophrenic approcach to the universe.  It's like some characters and sets are plucked right out of a Schumacher movie, while others lean a lot more towards the Nolan side.  There's nothing wrong with the show being campy, or gritty, but it straddles this weird line that I don't think works very well.

I'm sure there's a way for the show to to work with that blend of styles, because Arrow accomplishes something very similar, but the current approach with Gotham takes the edge off of the grittier cop drama, and makes the campy parts feel out of place.

Plot-wise, Gotham feels like it's picking up on all the wrong threads.  It's not that there's no good story.  Carmine Falcone and Oswald Cobblepot both have excellent arcs, and Jim Gordon should have a good arc, but they all seem half baked in order to focus on classic Batman branding.

Bruce Wayne's story is interesting, but his involvement overshadows anything else going on, and Fish Mooney's story would make a great side-plot, but is so central that it feels watered down and stretched out.

Again, Oswald Cobblepot is an excellently executed character.  His story is engaging, and Robin Lord Taylor's performance is one of the highlights of the show.  I feel like what his character has in store will do a lot to elevate some of the other plot threads, yet his development is too slow, and he gets very little screen time.

The longer it takes to flesh out Cobblepot, the longer it will be before Fish Mooney or Carmine Falcone is very relevant, so the slow pacing with the Penguin's development is really holding the show back.

The dynamic between Harvey and Jim is also problematic.  Harvey Bullock is a straight up crooked cop.  He's not an edgy cop that makes morally and legally gray decisions for the sake of the greater good.  He's lazy and on the take.  Obviously they need to have opportunity for character growth, but there's not very far they can take his character.  He's almost entirely lacking in any sort of edge, either.  Donal Logue's performance  reminds me more of The Dude than Dirty Harry.

Jim is ok.  I don't hate him, but I'm not rooting for him.  His development is almost non-existent.  He's more of a plot device they can use to explore all the Gotham criminals, where he should be the protagonist.  Barbara is really the one that takes action in their relationship, but her character is nearly intolerable when she's on screen.

Although I didn't love the pilot, I was definitely hopeful for the direction of the show, but after this episode, everything seems to be trending in a direction that I am far less excited about.  There is a lot of potential in the future of this show, and they have definitely laid the groundwork for what could make an excellent first season, but the priorities of the cast and crew really make me question if the show will turn around.

I'm going to do my best to not bring up Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. whenever I talk about Gotham, because I don't care to feed fanboy fueds, but I find the show has a lot of the same problems as the first season of AoS, but--the problem is--AoS participated in a larger shared universe, making its mistakes more excusable, because it was connected to something larger.  Gotham (supposedly) doesn't have that benefit, so I'm fairly hard pressed finding a good reason to continue watching this show.

It's not uncommon for comic book properties to have a rough start on TV.  Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. both took some time to find their footing, so I'll definitely be patient with Gotham.  Because of the nature of TV, the creators won't have the opportunity to adjust to audience reaction for several episodes, so the second half of this season will be very telling as to what we can expect from the show going forward.

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