‘Gotham’ 1.06 or Goat’s Milkie or More Edlund Please

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Monday’s episode* of Gotham was brought to you by the letter F. F stands for FINALLY.

(*My apologies for the late posts throughout the week, under the weather over here)

So Gotham has had a rough start. At the risk of sounding redundant, I’ll say it again: For a new show (particularly a network series) it is not rare for the writers, the actors, the crew (etc) to slowly grow into what the series is really all about and improve upon it.  Unlike a film set where a director’s vision is carried out, a television series is a collective of minds and hands which require balance and this can take time to achieve.

This is why I have a “seven episode rule” for new shows that don’t hook me in instantly. Gotham has been one of these. \I’ve mentioned here before how the series does not seem to have one female writer on board this season, and that the writing has been overly testosteron-ized by it with multiple female characters falling flat on their faces. Unfortunately this has not yet been improved upon and the lack of chemistry and believable dialogue between them (who also all conveniently fall on some spectrum of bisexuality) is where this is most 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 episode so bad I couldn’t bare to write about it): violence begets violence.

With each and every Monster-of-the-Week, including our dear friend Mr. Cobblepot, Gotham makes it a point to name Gotham City as the root of the villain’s personal evil: The Balloonman was motivated by the Mayor’s corruption and neglect of homeless kids, the “Viper” leak by two scientists/philosophers who wanted to punish Wayne Enterprises for creating it in the first place, and the latest: Dr. Marks, a therapist who hypnotizes mentally ill men to killing the privileged children of Gotham’s top 1%.  What has been difficult to watch is the series’ attempt to Straw Man this endless cycle of violence argument via 30 second monologues (i.e. confessions) at each episode’s epilogue.  The series itself has lacked the depth to make those bits more than just bits. So far, “The Spirit of the Goat” is the first episode to build up to the final monologue throughout the hour, and I’m going to give the credit to writer Ben Edlund (Firefly, Supernatural) because it was singular to this episode, his first for Gotham.

What worked here had a lot to do with Bullock’s character and his past.  Gordon asking Dix “You’re talking about Harvey? Bullock?“, at the revelation that Bullock once wanted to be Gotham’s hero, helped to flesh out his character quite a bit.  Add that to the scene where Bullock is checking that Dix has been receiving the porno magazine subscription that Bullock pays for, it was the kind of comical, revelatory, yet true-to-character type of writing that just works.  It also connected Gordon to Bullock more, and even foreshadowed a possibility that the same thing could happen to young Gordon.  After all, it seems to have already begun.

Also, was I the only one that got pulled into the Kristin Kringle red herring? We had two significantly lengthy scenes (for minor side characters) between Nygma and Kringle in the GCPD records room. In between Bullock kept saying how he had “sealed the file” which mentioned the Goat’s MO of sewing a penny into the base of the victim’s skull, as well as how it was “never leaked to the press“.  I sincerely thought Kringle was the new Spirit of the Goat for a while.  This was the first time Gotham had pulled the wool over my eyes, so brownie points for that. But then the question remains: what is going on with this Nygma and Kringle situation?  I hope it grows to be more than just a lengthy red herring.

And speaking of lengthy useless scenes, now that Cobblepot has revealed himself publicly, everything that happened between Gordon, Cobblepot and Maroni in the previous episode, including Maroni’s blackmail over them both, has vanished.  That’s both unfortunate and a waste.

Finally, I’ll mention young Bruce Wayne who is shaping into a believable young Bruce Wayne. He is bright, dark, lonely, but kind. The award for best line of the episode goes to him, in fact:

Plus, who would want to take me? There’s no one to take me from.

Next week will mark Gotham‘s seventh episode, and I’ll let you guys know then if I’m going to stick around beyond that.

What did you all think about this episode?  Did you find it an improvement over past episodes?  Do you like what you’re learning about some of the characters?  And I’m curious: who of the smorgasbord of Gothamites would you like to see less of?

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