Gotham Review: “The Balloonman”

Balloon Man Strikes

– Spoiler Review –

Gotham continues it’s streak of mediocre after last week with it’s newest episode, “The Balloonman,” though it manages to have a little more fun with it’s premise like the pilot did. The Mooney and Falcone subtle war heats up a bit, Barbara gets a bigger chance to shine, Bullock has an entertaining way with finding people, and the show really wants to hit the nail on your head that Bruce Wayne will be Batman…one day…just not in the show.

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!

The idea of someone tying people up to weather balloons is a perfect fit for the world of Gotham, and the show takes the chance to have fun with the premise. The reporter’s interview of citizens and who they’d like to see ballooned-up provides a few chuckles, while it’s hard not to take Bullock’s side when he considers the death of a corrupt company man justifiable. But Gordon is a boy scout and knows justice doesn’t have to be doled out in death, even if the people deserve it.

Creepy Balloon Man IntroIf there’s one thing “Balloonman” and the previous episodes have done, they’ve shown practically everyone deserves death by weather balloon in the city. The opening scene of Cobblepot’s return to Gotham City is rife with all sorts of crime and corruption. Then, after a police officer (who conveniently is just introduced in this episode) and Cardinal dies, everyone takes the Balloon Man seriously, since it looks like no one is off limits. Several characters outright admit the entire city is corrupt and should hide in fear, really making me wonder how this city even functions in the first place. If Falcone, back in pilot, believes in a balance between justice and crime, then he’s not paying attention to Gotham City at this point because the picture this show is painting is anything but balanced. Gordon is about the only clean one there, bringing up an important, but maybe too early, point.

Alfred Confronts BruceThe point this episode tries to make over and over again is that Gotham needs a hero who will stand up for what’s right, no matter the costs i.e. eventually Batman. But Batman right now is little kid who doesn’t eat anything for…reasons. The reason seems to be Bruce wants to help solve the corruption and crime in the city, along with his parent’s death, and since he’s just a boy he goes on a hunger-strike in his depression at being unable to help. Alfred, who Sean Pertwee has been doing a wonderful job bringing a different persona to the character, is doing his best to get the boy out of whatever rut he’s in, but it seems fencing doesn’t always do the trick. It turns out, as a reporter suggests Gotham needs a real hero that Bruce finally eats, making for a terribly unsubtle wink and nod (at a story we’ll never see on the show since Batman is never supposed to be in it).

Barbara and MontoyaMy favorite moment in this episode came from Barbara and MCU detective Renee Montoya, where we got a lot more details on their connection. The specifics are a little hazy, but it seems they were together for quite some time, but thanks to some drug and drinking problems, their relationship went sour. Whether this was while Gordon was away in the army or before Barbara ever met him, is yet to be seen. After their scene, I was more convinced about their loving connection than Barbara and Gordon’s, which is saying something since they’d had less scenes together. The ending of this episode changed my thoughts, but more on that later.

See, Renee visits because she’s heard Gordon killed Cobblepot from Fish Mooney, trying to use that to break them up. Already Gordon’s decision to fake-kill Cobblepot is biting him in the butt, and Mooney is more than happy to share such information because she wants the MCU (who seem to be only part of the police force uncorrupted at the moment) to help facilitate Falcone’s downfall. Thankfully, Mooney doesn’t take Falcone’s show of force from last week without some retaliation, making his latest squeeze have an ‘accident’ while having someone put down her previously beaten lover Lazlow. She’s a force to be reckoned with to be sure, and Falcone and Mooney get to have another fun conversation, this time Mooney is happy Falcone knows she’s lying she didn’t have anything to do with the accident.

MaroniWhile Mooney and Falcone come perilously close to war, Cobblepot is scheming his way to undermine them all. Again, Robin Lord Taylor really sells the maniac that is Cobblepot, as his quick ascension to dishwasher involves a few deaths. His choice of workplace is advantageous (I wonder if he knew beforehand) as Maroni (David Zayas), mentioned last week, happens to own the joint. The two bond very quickly, as Maroni makes Cobblepot an offer he can’t refuse to keep quiet about overhearing stuff about Arkham and Falcone.

The search for Balloon Man starts in earnest after a police officer’s death and Bullock’s montage of hustling hookers and beating up perps to gain information is another memorable moment for a fun character. The following fight scene, where Bullock gets thrown around like a rag doll by a giant woman is pretty funny, and leads our not always bright detectives to learn weather balloons eventually pop. Thankfully, the unfortunate popping leads to a break in the case, dropping (pardon the pun) the killer’s name in Gordon’s lap.

Dan BakkendahlDavis Lamond, played by another great guest star Dan Bakkedahl, is a social worker who decides he’s sick of the corrupt and takes matter into his own hands, like a vigilante would do. I wasn’t expecting vigilantes to be a subject explored so early in the show, but Lamond’s dialogue and Bruce eating when the reporter mentions vigilantes is like shining one’s brights on an approaching car and never shutting them off. The nail gets hit pretty hard on the head with Gotham needing one, something Gordon feels is just as bad as crime.

Gordon’s speech in the closing moments makes me feel he and Barbara have an actual relationship for once, just beating out her and Montoya’s scene. However, his speech is a whole lot of talk, giving himself a little moral superiority and sounded way too heavy handed, especially since he’s not really done anything about all the corruption in a non-vigilante way yet. Maybe this week is enough to get him to start doing instead of talking.

Gordon and Selina Kyle

I was expecting Selina Kyle, who escaped from Gordon earlier, would show up at his door at the end and was definitely surprised when it turned out to be Cobblepot. Gordon seemed rather clear that Cobblepot shouldn’t return, so why Cobblepot even shows up at his door and how Gordon will handle it, should be interesting to see.

Joker Watch

While a smarter viewer than I caught last week’s Joker candidate, neither he nor I could locate one in this week’s episode. Remember to help out using the #JokerWatch on Twitter or e-mail at mynock.manor@gmail.com if you think you’d found a Joker candidate.

Here are a few other things:

  • Barbara should be happy she lost her doubt in Gordon, because she would’ve felt pretty silly at the end.
  • So, does the GCPD not have helicopters yet? Because I feel like they could’ve possible rescued some of these people.
  • Why Gordon decided to grab Lamond, instead of shoot the balloon like he asks Bullock to do, is beyond me.
  • Comicbook.com has a good look at possible DC easter eggs, including what looks to be Cobblepot’s eventual eating problems which I didn’t catch onto.
  • I don’t know why Selina went through all that trouble to convince Gordon she knows who kills the Waynes and then bolts, but right now it seems she just wanted to be free/angry he didn’t believe her. Wish they didn’t dangle an answer and take it away so quickly.

 

Hopefully how bad and corrupted things have started to get around Gotham City is enough to light a fire under both Gordon’s and this show’s ass, because right now Gotham is staying good, but mediocre. But if that’s all it aspires to be, then it’s right where it wants to be. However, the great work with Cobblepot and seeding a lot of little subplots shows Gotham wants to be so much more and here’s hoping it can reach out and grab it.

+ Terrific performances

+ Had a little more fun this week

+ Barbara and Montoya

Gordon being a little too preachy

Nail on the vigilante head

GCPD and the entire city seems too corrupt to function

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. 4: “Arkham
S1, Ep. 2: “Selina Kyle
S1, Ep. 1: “Pilot

Posted in UncategorizedTagged ,