‘Gotham’ 1.03 or Going Up! or When Violence Begets Violence

gotham-balloonmanHaving had a somewhat lukewarm reaction to FOX’s Gotham after the first two episodes, I must say that things are now looking up! Ironically, what this means is that things are looking down for GTown itself.  Way down. As Dr. King once said, “violence begets violence” and that’s the spiral Gotham, the city, finds itself in.

Episode 3, titled “The Balloonman” is keeping with my assessment that Gotham would be following a monster-of-the-week structure by introducing a third villain in a third week. Taking the expectations of the Batman fandom (and the nature of this blog) into account, I worried this could send the series into procedural land, thereby pushing the characters and mythology to a disappointing B-story status.  Not the case.  I can say that with the “The Balloonman” Gotham has found its footing.

Monster of the Week: The Gotham equivalent of Bernie Madoff has been released. In attempting to keep a low profile a masked man attacks him and ties him to a weather balloon which flies him away to his subsequent doom.  Meanwhile at GCPD headquarters Jim has a run in with an ultra corrupt lieutenant named Cranston.

Jim and Bullock are called to the scene of the crime where the media has gotten whiff of the incident, labeling the perp ‘The Balloonman’.  His second victim is a child molesting priest, at which point the media goes nuts over the Balloonman, deeming him a vigilante for Gotham.  It becomes clear that targeting high profile, seemingly upstanding, but secretly corrupt citizens is part of The Balloonman’s modus operandi. Jim and Bullock are able to track down the source of the weather balloons and the disgruntled employee who sold them for profit, thereby confirming two more missing balloons, and presumably two more victims.  Corrupt Lieutenant Cranston, falls victim to the third.

Following all their leads thus far, Jim and Bullock track The Balloonman down to the abandoned Juvenile Detention Center where they engage in a stand-off.  The Balloonman was once a leader in the community, attempting to help the homeless youth but after the Mayor’s appalling treatment of those children in the preceding episode (1.02 Selina Kyle) he decided to take justice into his own hands.  He is trapped by his own weather balloon, at which point Jim, much to Bullocks dismay, decides to grab on to him and save him. Bullock shoots the balloon and the two come crashing down and The Balloonman is taken into custody.

Gotham City:  Jim has been increasingly more anxious over the corruption within Gotham and meeting Cranston only made matters worse.  The motivations of The Balloonman and his reference as a vigilante brought to light two significant issues: (1) the citizens of Gotham are looking for a savior, and (2) they wouldn’t mind if that savior wanted to go blow for blow.

Meanwhile a young Bruce Wayne watches the news at home and assures Alfred that The Balloonman is “still a criminal”, but oh that glimmer in his eye at the mention of a vigilante for Gotham City.

Cobblepot has returned and is still hot on his killing spree.  He takes a job as a dishwasher and meets gangster, Sal Maroni: a pretty significant Gotham persona. Riddle me this: why does Cobblepot show up at Barbara’s doorstep looking for Jim? Isn’t that her apartment? Also does she like ever leave the house?

And speaking of Barbara, this episode confirmed her past affair with Montoya.  She also smokes weed which I mean… I guess, but what was that all about and then Montoya calling her out on it?  I also find it problematic that they only lesbian on the show pining for a bisexual woman who is now with a man.

Jada Pinkett-Smith as Fish Mooney is growing into the role more and more.  As previously mentioned, the character is a new addition to Gotham and it looks like Pinkett-Smith is really enjoying that aspect.  She’s a cold-blooded bitch and a manipulative snitch, ordering hits and muggings in her not-so-secret war against Falcone, and giving Jim up to Montoya and Allen.  These two I must say are starting to annoy me significantly.  Allen has no personality and as Jim points out, since when did Major Crimes turn into Internal Affairs?

Finally, Selina Kyle proved to be utterly useless escaping about 7 minutes into the episode and giving us next to nothing on who killed the Waynes.

What We Liked

  • Jim realizing that the everyday corruption of Gotham city is starting to seep into the culture of the people of Gotham.  Not only does Jim feel that there is no functioning justice system, but even if there was, the damage has been done and it’ll only get wore.  This confirmed by Cobblepot showing up at that very moment.
  • More and better banter between Jim and Bullock

What We Didn’t Like

  • Too many flat scrap characters still floating around the edges

Three episodes into my seven episode rule.  Let’s hope Gotham continues on the road of self discovery and figures it out by then.

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  1. […] evident. However, the show does seem to be extending the biblical theme which it began in “The Balloonman“, continued in “Arkham“, and did a piss-poor job of in “Viper” (an […]

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