Barbara Kean, Batman, Benjamin McKenzie, Bruce Wayne, Camren Bicondova, Captain Essen, Carmine Falcone, Catwoman, Cory Michael Smith, David Mazouz, DC Entertainment, Det. James Gordon, Donal Logue, Edward Nygma, episode, Episode 2, Erin Richards, Fish Mooney, Fox, Gotham, Harvey Bullock, Jada Pinkett Smith, John Doman, live action, Oswald Cobblepot, review, Robin Lord Taylor, Season 1, Selina Kyle, television, The Penguin, The Riddler, Warner Brothers, Zabryna Guevara
By: Darryl Frisbie
In this episode we delve deeper into the madness and corruption of Gotham. The Penguin is left stranded after his life was spared by Jim Gordon. He waddles along the road and is eventually picked up by a bunch of frat boys, who carelessly taunt and make jokes at his expense. Robin Lord Taylor portrays Oswald with grace, and conceals his blood thirsty rage underneath the guise of being a poor innocent victim. He conceals it so well that when he starts slicing throats no one sees it coming including these frat boys.
The perpetrators of this episode are child abductors, played by Lili Taylor and Frank Whaley. These are really good actors not just subpar. Frank Whaley gave a stellar performance in a thriller called “Vacancy” where he plays a creepy Norman Bates type character who owns a remote motel. These abductors grab children from the streets and sedate them with a small pen like object. Jim and Harvey are immediately on the case. Meanwhile, young Bruce is still coming to terms with the loss of his parents and his anger over being too afraid. He puts his fear to the test by burning his palm over a candle flame. Alfred catches him in the act and rightfully lashes out but then embraces him. This is an Alfred whose rough around the edges but still has the good intention of looking out for Bruce.
Mooney and Falcone have a drink together and discuss business, which eventually leads to their ulterior motives of power. John Doman plays Falcone as a calm methodical criminal who abides by the rules, and understands the fine balance between mob rule and law enforcement. Fish Mooney is kind of a wild card and played by Jada Pinkett Smith, who brings a coolness to the character. I will admit she’s a good actress but there are moments where her gestures are overly dramatic. Falcone puts her in check and lets her know whose in charge.
Meanwhile, back on the case Edward Nygma discovers the chemical used for sedation on these abducted children and they follow the lead from there. Long story short they discover where the abductees are being kept, there’s a shootout, and the children are saved. The mayor takes the initiative to round up the children from the streets including Selina Kyle, and shows he publicly cares for them when in reality he’s handing them over to juvenile detention. They haul up all the kids onto buses and Selina insists on seeing Jim Gordon but she is ignored and boards the bus. Camren Bicondova plays the part of Selina with ease and style. She reassures a kid on the bus that if anyone gives him crap to go for the eyes! And you think she says that as a metaphor but later you’ll find out she’s quite literal, and we get to see the bloody aftermath of one of her victims. The bus she’s on is hijacked by the abductors and while all the kids are rounded up she manages to outwit the bad guys with stealth and grittiness. Jim and Harvey interrogate one of the suspects and discover that there is a logo on the bus for an international shipping company. They eventually find the shipping area and arrest the abductors. Selina Kyle is taken in and finally through some devious persuasion gets to see Jim Gordon and she tells him she has seen the man who murdered the Wayne’s.
The episode concludes and we are left in suspense. This was a really good episode that’s driven much by the characters. The central conflict which is the murder of The Wayne’s should be emphasized more and the relationship between Bruce and Jim, I hope can be fleshed out as well. A trend I see in most TV dramas is that the overarching conflict is deviated for smaller conflicts. All I can say is it’s a tough balancing act when you’re trying to pull the audience in, but the strength of “Gotham” is the complexity of its characters and they are taking full advantage of that. The abductors didn’t play as strong of a part as what I hoped considering the caliber of the actors but then again there is a lot more interesting characters at play. There was a scene where Bruce was telling Jim Gordon he wanted to help the kids on the streets, and at first he suggested money but Gordon thought he could do better and then Bruce suggested clothes. It’s those kind of scenes that are a necessity because we are so engulfed in the darker side of humanity we need to see the light.
Overall Grade: 8/10