Gotham Review: “Arkham”

Arkham Asylum– Spoiler Review –

Gotham picks up a bit with “Arkham,” but its police procedural element is still its weakest part. The killer of the week and the police work were disappointing, but the characters (and the performances behind them) and their machinations continue to shine. However, some relationship drama misses the biggest mark this week.

Ending Gotham TV Show Reviews (9/26/15)

I probably should’ve done this more formally back when I called it quits with the show after its umpteenth break during the first season, but I won’t be reviewing this series anymore. I had been holding out hope the show would get better for the second season and the creative team behind it were saying all the right things, but the S2 premiere was just more of the same. Sure, there’s some promise for better things ahead in it so I’ll be tuning in, but this is more in regards to my own personal time constraints and my sanity. Sorry and thanks for checking out Mynock Manor for details on Gotham and I seriously hope the show hits its stride soon. We still have plenty of content on the site so browse around before heading somewhere else!

He Went What WayWeek after week, the police work on both Bullock and Gordon’s part hasn’t been much to watch. Mostly, Bullock rounds up someone to just pin the whole thing on (so surprise when they aren’t helpful or are guilty), Gordon gets mad and goes off to talk to Bruce while Bullock visits Mooney, until a conveniently placed hint leads Gordon to deduce the plot. Last week in “Balloonman,” the evidence our detectives needed literally fell from the sky off a dead police officer, while this week it takes a call from Cobblepot for Gordon to solve his one main puzzle piece for the crime.

The killer this week is a slightly psychotic hitman, tasked with killing people by both Maroni and Falcone to help get their plan for the Arkham land to pass. While the hitman has a cool demeanor and flashy weapon, he’s underdeveloped like most non-future Batman Rogues have been, and whether he was taking jobs from both Maroni, Falcone, or both is actually never revealed (because Bullock and Gordon kill him). It’s not the most important tidbit, and while it’s certainly easy to surmise he was getting jobs from both sides, they never clear it up. Had he been tasked with killing the council men by just one side or a third party, that suddenly opens a whole new can of worms like: Falcone might’ve been willing to sacrifice his men to get what he wants or someone like Mooney (or an unknown yet) was doing it to destabilize both Maroni and Falcone. Would’ve been nice to know if crazy theories like the one’s I’ve suggested could be right or it was just simply both sides hiring the hitman, but looks like we’ll never know.

Mooney Searches For WeaponsOutside the police work, the show has really found a place to shine. Fish Mooney, and Jada Pinkett Smith’s performance, continue to enthrall me each week. The way she underplays Mooney’s intensity, hiding her more maliciousness behind a veil of jokes and seductive behavior is really fun to watch. Her search for a female weapon, presumably to launch against Falcone, was a great new step in her plan for control. From being bold enough to tell Bullock of her intentions with the girls and then asking her two top candidates to duel to the death, Mooney is definitely someone to reckon with.

CobblepotIt’s too bad she won’t see Cobblepot coming. His bold move to confront Gordon with the proposition that he’ll be an informant was almost as exciting as I expected, but his actions throughout the episode are what really impressed. I found it a little obvious the men who came into Maroni’s restaurant and took the money were Cobblepot’s men, but the pleasure he took in dispatching them with some tasty cannolis portends his true taste for power. I’m a little vexed at Maroni’s decision to promote a dishwasher to restaurant manager, but hey, Cobblepot did save him a lot of dough and he’s probably not too worried about the restaurant’s profitability. Robin Lord Taylor is making the Penguin is own, as he can go from feigned innocence to murderous intentions in the blink of an eye. Him being Gordon’s informant is a great new dynamic for the characters and it should be fun to see how it plays out.

Barbara and Gordon Break UpMy biggest issue with “Arkham” is the Barbara and Gordon relationship drama. Barbara does a complete 180 from the previous episode, going back to doubting if Gordon is a good man and wondering if he really did kill Cobblepot. When he avoids the question, but deduces Montoya set the seeds of her (suddenly renewed) doubt, Barbara folds and spills the details on her relationship with Montoya. Yes, she did lie to Gordon about it, but she took a big trust leap and told him one of her biggest secrets. Gordon’s response is to shut her out, because she called the papers about a previous work secret he told her (in “Selina Kyle”), proving he can’t trust her even after her big reveal. And then instead of just telling her he didn’t kill Cobblepot, he lets Barbara go, though I’ll admit her push for an ultimatum was a little fast. What really irks me about the relationship drama is there hasn’t been enough of Barbara and Gordon as a good couple for me and most viewers to even care for them as a couple in the first place. The only reason I want to see them get back together revolves around the comic book fact that they need to have a kid together who can grow up to be Batgirl (which this show might not even follow). Relationship drama for drama’s sake isn’t helping this show any and we should’ve been spending this time working them up as a couple, instead of driving them apart so fast.

Gordon Visits Bruce 2Gordon finds out the final target is the Mayor and he goes to rescue the politician alone. At first I thought, why not call the rest of the police department, but their corruption is so deep right now I don’t blame him for going alone. In the end, Bullock helps Gordon save the day, but the end result is both good and bad: Falcone and Maroni get their portions of the Arkham land rebuilding implemented in the city’s plan for the abandoned area of town (which at least they’re still working to renew part of the city). Bruce believes his parents vision of an asylum to help the unfortunate of Gotham is abandoned, even though technically they’re still building it. I’m assuming his rational is simply the criminal factions got a hold of it, which leads Gordon to have another “the light is still coming” conversations with the young Master Bruce and how he’ll have a chance to be the beacon of change.

JOKER WATCH

Besides Bullock calling the person he rounded up a “Clown Prince of Parking Lot Muggings,” (cue lame joke of the season award) no sign of a Joker-type character. There’s been some chatter that some background gals dressed in clownish outfits are signals of Harley Quinn, but her straight-laced doctor origins calls those thoughts into question.

Here are a few other things:

  • Gordon can go to Bruce and discuss work, but he can’t talk to Barbara about it to the point where he lets her leave? Weird double-standard.
  • So did Gordon not go after the hitman when he had him cornered because he was afraid of the guy’s metal spike or…what?
  • “Minks” (more on the bearded prisoner we meet in the next point), who has been in jail for awhile, not only can identify the hitman, but also tell the police which building he’s in…where he works in a human resources job…under the identity of the man he killed who’s apartment he squats in. How can the killer this week be considered a pro if a man locked up in jail knows exactly where he is? And how does this ‘Minks’ know all this information and the cops don’t?
  • Right now IMBD is calling the person Bullock and Gordon visited in jail, “Minks.” The only person I see for DC comics that could be pertinent to Gotham is a member of the Shadow-Force. However, I doubt Minks is his real name, as they suspiciously didn’t mention his name in the episode, and I’ll bet we’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the future. Or I’m completely wrong.
  • Edward NygmaEdward Nygma continues to be overly obvious that he’ll be the Riddler.
  • Seeing Arkham Asylum on screen, even if it was just the name on the fence and a few outer shots of the building, was somewhat thrilling. It holds promises of some wacky good times ahead so lets just hope this show can get better and do it’s source material more justice as time moves on.

 

Gotham has been doing great when it comes to the character work of the villains, as Mooney, Maroni, Falcone, and Cobblepot all vie for control of the most corrupt city on the planet. “Arkham” showed the still weak procedural elements could use some work, added some unnecessary relationship drama, but gave us a lot of pawns moving their pieces into deliciously poisoned cannoli places.

 

+ Performances continue to shine

+ Mooney’s and Cobblepot’s machinations

+ Duel to the death and cannoli surprise

 Relationship drama for drama’s sake

 Procedural elements continue to be weak

Ryan is Mynock Manor’s Head Butler. You can follow him on Twitter @BrushYourTeeth. You can follow the website @MynockManor.

GOTHAM REVIEWS:
S1, Ep. 12: “What the Little Bird Told Him
S1, Ep. 11: “Rogues’ Gallery
S1, Ep. 10: “Lovecraft
S1, Ep. 9: “Harvey Dent
S1, Ep. 8: “The Mask
S1, Ep. 7: “Penguin’s Umbrella
S1, Ep. 6: “Spirit of the Goat
S1, Ep. 5: “Viper
S1, Ep. 3: “The Balloonman
S1, Ep. 2: “Selina Kyle
S1, Ep. 1: “Pilot

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