Gotham Premier Spoiler Recap

9/23/2014 Stephen Colbert 0 Comments


I had a fairly positive reaction to last night's Gotham premier, although I did find issue with several aspects.  The show as a whole has immense potential and several characters were introduced and a chain of events was triggered that will clearly guide at least a portion of the first season.

I already provided my spoiler free review of the first episode, so below I have recapped most of the characters and significant events of the first episode.

Jim Gordon - Not a fan of Jim's introduction.  He just sort of apparates to resolve a contrived circumstance at Gotham PD HQ.  This first episode should have taken a step back and had him come in on a train, a la Batman: Year One.  He's supposed to be this fresh new blood to the Gotham PD, but he doesn't seem fresh or new.  Characters say things like "Oh, he's the new guy?", but he's not significantly contrasted against any other characters.  Unfortunately, this episode should be the most fresh his character is to the environment, so that's a missed opportunity.  His character is shaping up to be tough and principled, but he was fairly flat this first episode.

Harvey Bullock - He's well written, but way less gritty in performance than he should be.  He's also more of a crooked cop than a morally questionable cop.  He's not an anti-hero and doesn't even operate in a gray area.  He wanted off the Wayne case, he works with Fish Mooney, and he bows to Carmine Falcone.  His character might have a bit of a redemption arc in store, but he's definitely not off on the right foot.

Fish Mooney - Fish is surprisingly fresh and exciting for a new character.  It's fairly clear that Fox is mostly trying to include some more female screen time, considering it's a very male dominated show, but Fish Mooney works.  She's smooth, yet brutal.  I was expecting to dislike her a lot, but I found her to be an overall pleasant surprise.  She obviously has a larger role to play throughout the season as well, as she's in the middle of the Wayne's murder and the double frame job of Mario Pepper, and the Gotham PD.

Oswald Cobblepot - Oswald Cobblepot's origins is a lot more interesting than I anticipated, and could be a strong back-story for the first season.  I hope it's not a primary focus, as I'd rather his character arc is drawn out over several seasons, with the first season focusing more on Fish Mooney and Carmine Falcone, but I definitely want to see more Cobblepot.

Bruce Wayne - Nothing surprising here.  I like the subtle intensity of David Mazouz.  I hope we only check in on him every few episodes, because the more he's on screen, the more it's a Batman origins instead of a Gotham origins, but I won't complain if he's in a handful of episodes.

Alfred - This interpretation is hardcore.  Sean Pertwee is intense, and sets the tone right from the beginning when he sternly tells Bruce to "keep your head up" as they walk away from the Wayne murder scene.  His more gruff take on Alfred will definitely be fresh after some of the softer interpretations we've seen.  Like Bruce Wayne, though, he needs to stay in the background most of the time.

Montoya and Allen - Nothing new here.  They're crooked cops.  So far they are mostly just plot devices.

Barbara Gordon - Yes, Jim Gordon's wife (still fiance in the first episode) is also named Barbara.  Some people thought this was supposed to be a Batgirl reference of some sort, but Jim's wife and daughter are both Barbara Gordon.  Not such a huge fan of this character.  She has some mysterious dark past, but I already want to avoid whatever that story is.

Edward Nigma - This cameo was pretty cool.  I hope they are able to avoid teasing him every episode, and instead, drag his story out over several seasons, but he's very eccentric and definitely lays a great foundation for the man that eventually becomes The Riddler.

Ivy Pepper - So far, the young Poison Ivy is mostly irrelevant, but the seeds of a surprisingly fresh origins story have been planted.  Like most of the other villains, I hope they take several seasons before they harvest her story (see what I did there?).

Selina Kyle - The young Catwoman reminds me of Scrat from Ice Age. Like Ivy, she's mostly irrelivant, but she is used to tie together some of the loose narrative and provide some connective tissue.  I feel like she's supposed to serve as a lense through which we get to see Gotham from the streets up, so it'll be interesting how they use her.  Once again, I hope it's sparingly.

Joker tease - There's a brief tease of a stand-up comedian telling a joke to Fish Mooney as he auditions for her club.  It was sort of funny.  Rumor has it, each episode will tease a different character that might become Joker eventually.  I hope it's not every episode, and I hope we don't see a Joker origins unless the show lasts long enough to also introduce Batman (like, at least 5 seasons from now).  Joker can't exist without Batman, and vice-versa.

Carmine Falcone - To me, Falcone stole the show.  He is Gotham.  His monologue was amazing, and John Domain is one of the few actors that nailed his character.  Hopefully the show primarily focuses on him and organized crime and keeps the super villain origins stories in the background.  He really sums up the way Gotham functions when he says "If [Fish] wants to kill policemen, she has to ask permission.  There are rules...  You can't have Organized crime without law and order."  Hopefully that serves as a synopsis for the whole show.

Episode 1 Recap:

Outside of character introductions, not a whole lot happened.  The Waynes were murdered, and Harvey and Jim are put on the case.  Hopefully this arc leads into something bigger instead of taking the entire season.

It appears that Fish Mooney ordered the hit, but she definitely set up Mario Pepper, leading to Mario getting shot by Bullock, and thereby framing the police department for killing the wrong guy—and serving as a likely catalyst to push Ivy Pepper to become Poison Ivy.

When Gordon and Bullock go against the grain and threaten Fish Mooney for answers, Carmine Falcone steps in to explain how Gotham works and that "there are rules."  Carmine clearly runs the entire city, he's in charge of both the criminals and the cops.

Jim Gordon promised Bruce and Alfred that he'll clean up the Gotham PD from the inside and find the true killer of Thomas and Martha Wayne.  This obviously painted a target on his head for anyone that answers to Falcone.  AKA: Everone.

During all this, Oswald Cobblepot appears to be trying to move his way up the ranks of Gotham's organized crime, until he's caught crossing Fish.  Falcone orders Jim to prove he's compliant by killing Cobblepot, but Jim fakes Penguin's execution.

Since he's likely thought to be dead, I imagine Cobblepot is going to begin forming his own criminal empire, which is probably going to grow to the point of challenging Carmine's control of Gotham down the road (ushering in a new type of villain in the process).

So long ass this show can avoid getting bogged down by easter eggs and DC references and teases, there's an excellent future for this show.  The plot threads are drawn, the universe is built, and the characters are established, so hopefully the coming episodes will have way less exposition and give us some quality crime drama.

Gotham airs Mondays at 8/7c on Fox

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