Gotham Season 1, Episode 8, 'The Mask' Review

11/13/2014 Stephen Colbert 0 Comments


This is a review for Season 1, Episode 8 Gotham.  There will be spoilers.

Gotham is still taking the long way around, but the ship is righting.  Slowly.  The show still suffers from too many separate plot points, a disjointed attitude, and a hamfisted way of referencing the comics, but it's a little better.

Episode 8, 'The Mask,' introduces yet another fully aged Batman villain, Black Mask.  Richard Sionis (Roman Sionis in the comics) runs a firm where he has a fight club style battle royale to initiate new employees.

Once again, this show has stolen lore from future Batman, and used it as part of what is shaping up to be a Batman origins story.  So if Batman's origins use the source material from his career, what is a fully grown Bruce Wayne going to do in this version?  Not fight Black Mask, for one.

Nit picks with the adaptation aside, the show is slowly bringing Gordon and Bullock more into focus.  Unfortunately, Ben McKenzie's Jim Gordon doesn't have an identity yet.  The character isn't anchored to anything, so his emotions and motives seem to fluctuate scene to scene.

Donal Logue's Bullock, on the other hand, is becoming much more stable and is a far more likable character at this point.  Hopefully he can serve as the anchor Gordon needs to being a little stability to that section of the show.

Robyn Lord Taylor's penguin is still excellent, but the past few episodes have limited most of his interaction to his mother, who makes me uncomfortable whenever she is on screen.  The role seems like it was written with Helena Bonham Carter in mind, and is just jarring and awkward whenever she is on screen.  Her interactions with Penguin don't really serve the plot either, so it seems like they are just trying to showcase the actors/characters, and I'm not really a fan.

Alfred and Bruce's story, on the other hand, has picked up very well.  I've been irritated with how much of a focal point Bruce Wayne is in this show, and I still don't like that direction, but at least their story is much improved.

Bruce is returning to school, where he is bullied over his loss of his parents.  Upon being driven to the edge, he realizes that he needs to learn how to fight, as his bully is much larger than him.  Sean Pertwee's Alfred really shines here.  Not only does he teach Bruce how to fight, but he psychologically terrorizes the bully so he won't say anything.

Otherwise, this episode is just another procedural monster of the week episode.  Falcone, Maroni, the GCPD, and Gordon are all set on a 4 way showdown, but the burn is slow.  Possibly too slow.  Despite the massive improvement in the show, it is now merely pretty good, instead of terrible.

It's clear the show is actually going somewhere now, so it's easier to tune in week to week, knowing that the show isn't going to just waste another hour of my time waiting for something to happen.

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