Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) continues to try and clean up Gotham from the inside out, this week trying to help the city’s homeless youth as they’re terrorized by an unknown terror. After a ho-hum pilot, how does the second episode do?
Let’s bitch it out.
Gotham, Gotham, Gotham – what kind of show are you trying to be? I was definitely getting some Bates Motel deja vu when viewing ‘Selina Kyle’ – mostly because I was wondering if Gotham was going to go for balls-out campy goodness, or if it would continue to desperately try and be a serious drama (failing epically). I can’t help but continue to pick on Donal Logue, who once again, clearly wins the prize for most grating actor ever. I’m left speechless after seeing his portrayal of the alcoholic, rage-induced Det. Bullock – it’s just laughable how over-the-top his stereotype has been pushed. Unfortunately, there isn’t the sense of ironic self-awareness in the portrayal – instead, it translates to incredibly bad acting. Wasn’t this guy supposed to be amazing on the critically acclaimed, now defunct show Terriers?
In contrast we have guest stars Lili Taylor and Frank Whaley coming in as the enemy-of-the-week child snatchers, who seem to relish in their hyperbolic, superficial characters. It’s an almost indiscernible shift, but I get the feeling that these two actors, in contrast to Logue, know what they’re working with and use what limited screen time to delight in their caricatures. There’s the sense that we’re laughing with these actors instead of at them. They’re simply fun to watch and I can’t say the same for the shouting match we got between Logue and McKenzie (which was cringe-worthy and not for the reasons intended)
Sean Pertwee as Alfred is another great example of making the most with a potentially drab, one-dimensional character. I’m loving the moments where he’s barking at little Bruce (David Mazouz) because he’s being a little s**t, but quickly shifting back to the role of loving English caretaker. It just works, and that’s primarily due to the talents of Pertwee. Even Jada Pinkett Smith is growing on me as she seems like she’s just on the cusp of embracing the camp with the theatrical tantrum she threw after Falcone’s (John Doman) men beat up her boy toy. I also love how she’s slowly slipping into a bad British accent, but manages to pull it back every so slightly so it’s not in Famke Janssen Hemlock Grove territory.
There are moments where I believe Gotham could turn into a smart, postmodern offering, but it just doesn’t feel like there enough people are on board to make that happen. Ultimately the show feels like a bad mishmash of random characters, that all belong on different shows. The tone is just off, and it appears that Gotham needs to find it’s footing and fast.
- We get more time with Selina (Camren Bicondova) actually hearing her speak. Although we didn’t get as much character development as the title of the episode would suggest, I liked how the show clearly portrays her as a kid. Her ‘look’ conveys a kind of maturity that doesn’t quite fit, but her childish dialogue (i.e. ‘I’ll say you touched me’ *groan*) puts her squarely in the realm of the immature.
- Is anyone caring about what the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) is doing in the trailer, or are we all secretly wishing he had died in that river? How cool would it have been introduce the Penguin’s return later in the series as a big reveal? Gotham is already suffering from way too many under-developed characters.
- Seriously, how did the crew resist laughing hysterically as Logue and McKenzie began shouting at each other whilst cheek-to-cheek in the police station? I’m still shuddering at the thought of that scene. TERRIBLE.
Imma ’bout ready to throw in the towel on this one, but what did you think viewers? Do you think Gotham is worthy of praise? Do you think the show will ever be the atmospheric serious drama that it’s desperately trying to be? Or will it decide to be original, embrace its theatrics and become a postmodern masterpiece? Sound off in the comments below.
Gotham airs Mondays at 8pm EST on FOX