Reviewer gets tired, writes list instead of article.
So there’s this weird thing happening with the quality of scenes in Gotham vis a vis the relationships appearing within. I say weird just because of how it reveals some marked ups and downs with the ostensible leads, showing a clear, interesting style one scene and then blahs-ville the next. I’m beginning to suspect that there are several teams of writers, each pounding on their typewriters in different rooms.
Bullock and Gordon
I swear whenever Ben Mackenzie and Donal Logue are the only people involved in the dialogue it’s like they’re at the readthrough instead of in front of the camera. This remains bizarre to me. Both Logue (Terriers) and Mackenzie (Southland) have played tough nosed cops with additional character shadings before; they should know how to emote in a dysfunctional partnership without trying to telegraph everything with their eyebrows. And lest we think this is just Logue being too much Logue, compare it with:
Bullock and Someone
Logue is still too often just Logue, but this episode brought us wonderful flashes of who Bullock is supposed to be. His ten-years-ago role reversal with Dan Hedeya1 had an energy, a purpose we hadn’t really experienced with Bullock. Too much of the first five episodes have had Bullock being labeled as ‘doesn’t care about being a cop.’ The problem was without an explanation as to why (which could go maudlin very easily) or any clear self-interested motivation (Get bribes! Sleep with Fish! Whatever!) there’s no reason to go back to the character more than once an episode for a wry aside. Bringing some more purpose to Bullock’s actions – or inactions – will only improve Gotham overall.
Gordon and Someone
Usually works reasonably well – Mackenzie and Hedeya played off of each other well in their brief scene together, and looking back we got some more genuine moments between Gordon and Selina Kyle – hell, he even seems like a human being in the scenes with Bruce Wayne. The real problem is:
Barbara and Gordon
Gah. Just – gah. It’s bad enough the writers gave Gordon so little backing for his principled stand of keeping Barbara in the dark – for her own protection! – but every damn scene between the two of them is built of dialogue so clichéd that I can’t come up with a clichéd reference capable of describing it. And the ‘Stop, please stop’ goes on with:
Barbara and Montoya
It’s quite impressive how a show can take a lesbian police detective and her former lover, who appears to be a strong, independent woman, and actively use them to fail the Bechdel Test again and again. Seriously, there will be a doctoral thesis about this some day.
Allen and Montoya
They got less than nothing this episode, but I’m less and less convinced that the actors know how to fit into the roles and the series. On the other hand:
Nigma and Anyone
I know some felt that Nigma and his never-before-seen crush were out of left field, but I both disagree and could care less. This episode tossed a lot more Nigma at us – professionally and personally – than we’d seen before and that was a bit jarring, maybe – but Cory Michael Smith has been such perfect window dressing every time he appears on screen that I see no reason not to take these side characters, give them another facet or two, and shade them into the fabric of the series. I still say that’s what Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. needs to do, but I digress. Let’s talk creepy families:
Cobblepot and Ms. Cobblepot
Carol Kane playing Carol Kane playing Mrs. Bates is beyond delightful, especially when it’s across from Robin Lord Taylor’s scheming/scary/doofy smirks. Their scenes almost made up for the umpteenth appearance of Cobblepot’s catchphrase “There’s a war coming!” Almost.2 It’s going to be interesting next week when Bullock comes back into the Gordon-Cobblepot conspiracy. Speaking of:
Bullock and Gordon and Someone
More. More of this. It’s like a noir vaudeville routine when the yin and the yang of GCPD can communicate with each other about someone else, or about each other with someone else. Again, the pair interviewing Hedeya was a great scene.