Previously, on Gotham: “Pilot”
Gordon and Bullock investigate a child trafficking ring that is preying on Gotham’s most vulnerable, the kids on the street. Meanwhile Cobblepot (Penguin) reemerges outside of the city and begins to make his way back to Gotham with some high jinxes as he goes.
So here we are at episode two. Lets hope it is a good one and they can build off of what they started on in episode one. The show opens with Bruce in the study looking at a burning candle. Nice right? Wrong! He then proceeds to burn himself with the candle. The fan boy in me is saying… ”OK, he is attempting to train himself to deal with fear and pain. Something Batman needs to do with all the punishment he takes.” The clinician in me is saying… “Self harm is not a good thing, and this kid needs to see a counselor.” Classic case of grieving by attempting to help deal with the pain of losing someone you love. Alfred comes in and yells excessively loud at Bruce (PTSD style) and then composes himself and hugs him telling him it will be alright.
So children being harmed sets the mood of the episode, which I felt overall was pretty good towards the end. The beginning, unfortunately, is lackluster and falls into some of the traps it had shown in episode one. But towards the end of the episode, the show hit its mark and showed us what the show could really be and, like my golf game in which I hit that one great shot, causes me to think I can come back for one more round. I feel that the showrunners could work the kinks out and give us a Gotham crime drama that can be everything that we want it to be. It just needs to get out of its own way. Here’s hoping.
- The episode hit its stride halfway through and stayed at a constant pace until the end. I can even say I really enjoyed it at that point. It makes me want to stick around and see if they can build off of the writing and pacing.
- Again, the city was up front and personal. It was really beautifully shot and sets the mood well. (And did anyone else see the building with the big green Q on the side of it?)
- The pacing toward the middle of the episode got really good.
- The speech by Mayor Aubrey James (Richard Kind) and the following scenes with him and Captain Sarah Essen (Zabryna Guevara) were well done and added a little light humor to an otherwise awful situation. He says the best line of the episode as he lays into the Captain about the kids on the bus. (See the episode recap for more details.)
- Finally, Ms. Kyle did a really good job, and I like that she is BAMF even at this young of an age. She has just enough attitude to work but also has empathy where it is needed. So this is where Arya was going on that ship! I think the actress did just enough with what she was given to make her scenes work.
What did not work:
- OK, can we stop with the hero fighting against the system already? The acting and the situations are not very good. Gordon, with his grumpy self, fighting everyone is getting old quickly, and it is only the second episode! (The beginning of the episode with the cop that was supposed to be guarding the crime scene… yikes that was bad!) I hope this stops because, if not, it is going to turn a lot of people off! So stop already.
- Mooney’s scenes are really not very good. She seems to chew up the scenes and overacts most of the time. The only really good scene for her was when she was watching her “exercise doll” getting beat up and in that scene she did not even have any dialogue. I hope it gets better, but I have a feeling they are going to keep her character very much in your face, and it does not work.
- Alfred needs to practice some anger management techniques. He is so over the top with his “anger storming” it is comical. I hope this is just a case of overacting and it will get handled as the show progresses. It does take me out of the scene and what is going on at the time. Just breathe, Alfred.
- Bruce in the study burning himself with a candle. Alfred comes in and finds him committing self harm and first yells at him (“How could you, you stupid little boy!?”) but then hugs him and apologizes to him.
- Selina is in an alley with some other kids trying to keep warm next to a barrel fire. When a dark delivery type truck pulls up and a VERY cheery librarian skips out the door and greets the kids. My spidey sense would have been tingling from the jump. Who has ever seen a cheery librarian!?!? She and another VERY cheery man offer them some sandwiches, soap, cookies, and candy. OK now, kids… if a stranger asks you if you would like some soap and candy, what do you say? No! Stranger danger! But I guess the magic phrase of “Who here wants candy?” is too much to pass up. Well, I guess not everyone. Cat sees right through the nonsense and says “Not I, said the cat” as two of the other happy kids got stabbed in the back with a very big stick pin. Got to hate that! But then a homeless guy jumps up from his box (Where did he come from?) and attempts to help but “Oh, fudge!” he got shot and one of the kids runs for their life. The show did buck one stereotype… the black guy did not die/get captured this time! He did get thrown through a window, though. Brother can’t catch a break!
- Gordon and Bullock show up at the crime scene and begin their investigation. Selina, of course, watches as they banter back and forth about how things work in Gotham and how things should work in Gotham.
- At the police station, the young man who was thrown through the restaurant window is giving his statement, which neither Gordon nor Bullock believe, because he says the kidnappers used a pin to subdue the hungry children. Yes, the pin was the part they got stuck on. Plus, Bullock said “That’s a scab, not proof!” LOL!!!
- Next, we find Penguin—oh, I mean Cobblepot—walking on the highway on his way out of Gotham. He is picked up by two college-aged boys who, from the start, begin making fun of him. Not the best idea as they call him by his favorite descriptor and get a beer bottle in the throat! I say they should not have been drinking and driving anyway.
- So Gordon and Bullock are in the chief’s office, and she is talking to Gordon; telling him to get with the program. Essentially telling him if he does not “bend he will break.“ Not good for our hero. And then we have stocker boy (Nygma) skulking around the hallway; listening to the conversation. He is asked to come in before he really is obvious, and he uses his most professional terminology and says the two kidnappers were using, wait for it… a very powerful knockout drug. Very nice! We did get an Arkham reference, though.
- Next scene is at Mooney’s place, and we see her meeting with Carmine Falcone. He proceeds to ask 20 questions about Cobblepot and the Wayne murder. She tells him not to worry about other people; that he was number one and others were number two for a reason. Falcone said he “does not lose sleep over his enemies but that it was his friends that keep him awake.” Mooney, of course, says she is loyal and that he is a father to her. He then says let’s forget about it then, and has her “boy she keeps around for exercise” beat in front of everyone in her club. Why did she look so distressed if her “boy” meant nothing to her?
- Now we get to see Cobblepot’s mother (or Granny off of The Addams Family). And yes, she is a freaky as he is. Allen and Montoya seem to be doing some digging into his supposed death. And boy did Penguin look dapper in that picture his mom loved to show everyone!
- Skipping the scene where Mooney talks about killing people with her teeth.
- Next, we have Cobblepot acquiring a place to live. And lying about knowing what a Hemi is.
- Then we find out our kidnapped kids are being kept in a dark room with a “moon door!” Sweet!
- Back at Mooney’s place, Harvey and Jim are trying not to get strung up again and asking about any information she may know concerning missing street kids. She says she has heard of kids being taken but has no idea why. It was not like they were beautiful girls or anything. Should we believe her, folks?
- The next scene is all about Gordon confiding in his fiancé, Barbara, and her going and returning that trust by calling the newspaper and telling them what he said. Not a very good sign for a soon to be married couple.
- And, of course, that does not bold well for Gotham PD who is now on the front page of the paper.
- Next we find the librarian and guy next door meeting in a pharmaceutical store; talking about moving the “merch” out of the location due to the “white hot heat” that the news article has brought down on the store owner. Funny how he did not like the guy next door calling the kidnapped children “merch” because “they are children dammit.” It gets better when he says, if the cops do show up, he can get rid of the “evidence” quickly. How quickly his humanity slips away. Oh, and I bet he means making the kids fly! And I hope everyone caught the mastermind behind these kidnappings was the Dollmaker. They tried to slip it in, but we caught it. Sneaky writers!
- So Gordon and Bullock show up at the shady pharmaceutical store and go and question the criminals inside. The librarian gets tired of the silly questions, and chaos ensues. The librarian and the guy next door get away, and the other stupid criminals get caught. We do see, kind of, someone fly, though. Robin (not the boy wonder) would be happy!
- Next scene, Mayor James gives his press conference presenting our heroes and his plan to rid the city of their “street kid” problem. And he talks about the perfect place to put them… you know, the kind of place that will love them.
- The after the press conference meeting went well. We find out the cute undamaged kids go to foster homes and the others get to go “down state.” And for those of you who do not know… down state means prison.
- Gordon then meets with Alfred, who visits the police station to ask him to meet with Bruce to help him stop using candles to burn permanent scars on his body to match his heart.
- Selina is in line to be carted off on a bus to one of the mayor’s “Final Solutions”, and she asks to speak to Gordon. The officer tells her it will have to wait. Selina then shares a little juvenile incarcerated knowledge cat-style on her seat mate, who was having a hard time being carted away to who-knows-where. Then the librarian boards the bus. Selina, of course, recognizes her and tries to escape and is greeted gangster-style with a pistol in the face. Bad librarian; no one wants a black mark.
- Probably one of the funniest scenes in the episode was Mayor James talking about his busload full of the “little bastards” he had just saved from the streets being taken by the kidnappers. Too funny.
- Then probably the second funniest scene in the episode is with our pharmacy worker being beaten with an actual phone book! Do they make those anymore? Or just for official police business? The worker, of course, gives them a clue that does not make sense unless you think people are eating kids.
- Next scene, kids are off-loaded from the bus, and Selina plays cat-and-mouse with the librarian.
- Gordon is able to figure out the clue (no kid-eating scheme going on here), and they head off to find the “bastards”—I mean kids.
Selina then shows she practices what she preaches and does a job on one of the bad guys’ eyes. Not good, because he does not even get to see the bullet coming for his head from the librarian. Selina again gets to play cat-and-mouse and is almost killed, if it was not for Gordon intervening.
- The next scene shows Gordon meeting Bruce for tea. Gordon talks about Bruce hurting himself in which Bruce replies that he is “testing himself.” For what, I wonder. They then talk about the street kids and how Bruce can help them.
- Penguin gets shut down and told that he is essentially a joke. No respect!
- The final scene shows Selina threatening a cop with a false claim of indecent touching in order to talk to Gordon. She then tells him about how she has been creep’n on him (what is it with kids and spying on adults?) and that (spoiler warning) she also saw who killed the Wayne’s.