So just few weeks into the fall 2014 tv season, and I’m already behind (nothing new).
Kind of impressive how ABC is riding high on its “TGIT” (that is, TGIF substituted by Thursday and three Shonda Rimes-produced tv shows).
I usually think it takes Episode 2 (or 3 or 4) for me to better assess a new tv show… Episode 2 of “Gotham” was ok, so I’ll continue with “Gotham” for now. Basic plot summary: Detectives Gordon and Bullock investigated a child (adolescent) trafficking case. Selina Kyle (a.k.a. future Catwoman) got swallowed into it, but her cat skills and wiles would get her out of it (not a spoiler; this is future Catwoman, after all). I liked the way Gordon and Bullock did their version of the good cop/bad cop: Bullock basically beats up the child trafficker abetter, telling him that Gordon, the better cop, was so mad about the subject that he was just going to stand there and let Bullock do some brutality. I guess it was in Donal Logue’s delivery: the line worked somehow. Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney was a little campy but it worked: she was still mightily pissed by the betrayal of Oswald “The Penguin” Cobblepot – and the godfather-ish Carmine Falcone would be keeping an eye on her, making her halt any moves to take over his territory and forcing her to continue the guise of loyalty to him. Hmm.
Oliver Sava raised a good point over at The A.V. Club: the struggle for “Gotham” is gritty vs. campy. Fish Mooney is campy; the gritty is whether the crime gang war will get interesting or not. The show feels just a little schizophrenic: big cast, lots of storylines to play with, but no focus. (a little like, say, the first episodes of “Agents of SHIELD” to me). I’m not a Penguin fan, but his level of violence was … icky? I can’t even describe it, but then again, I probably never remembered him as a slash and bash kind of villain.
The women characters were still not very impressive (they might need their own plot to become anything interesting). Barbara as Gordon’s fiancee would have to find a better way to “help” him (squealing to the media about the child trafficking case when he asked her not to: eh, not the wisest of moves). Renee Montoya and her Major Crimes Unit (not to mention the rest of Gotham PD) seemed to really think the worst of Gordon, but nothing has yet to come of it. (except to give Gordon stress).
The Bruce and Alfred moment – interesting (to me, anyway). The child trafficking case reminded me of how having adult Bruce would’ve been handy. The mayor of Gotham messed things up, by shipping the street kids to upstate (yeah, we all think that “upstate” is a solution). Had there been a Batman/adult Bruce: yes, Batman would have rescued the kids and beat the crap out of the child traffickers, but Bruce would have spent the money on getting the kids to schools, apprenticeships, and jobs, via a Wayne Foundation thing.
In the meantime, Bruce was the deeply troubled kid and Alfred’s version of tough love evidently wasn’t working. Alfred turned to Gordon to give Bruce a perspective, and Gordon sensibly raised the whole “shouldn’t the kid be in therapy?” and Alfred was all “well, I’m abiding by the wishes of the Waynes to let Master Bruce figure things out” and “I don’t know how to raise kids.” Yeah, now we know why Bruce barely stayed sane by adulthood: the delicate balance of anger management, depression, and entitlement (because there were enough hints of spoiled brat Bruce) would be something hard to reach.
I know “Gotham” isn’t necessarily going to be the young Bruce show (or else he’d be older and we’d have “Smallville” all over again), but I have to wonder if just touching on the subject of young Bruce might be interesting because this doesn’t get shown often.
This week, I re-read “Batman: Court of Owls” Vol. 1 and read “Batman: Court of Owls” Vol. 2 (which I bought at this year’s Brooklyn Book Festival) – and there was this scene where Bruce talked about how, as a traumatized kid, losing his parents, he went into boy detective mode and tried to figure out if a conspiracy killed his parents, and not a random “Joe Chill.” The flashback was eerie: the kid who speculated and placed himself in real danger, but for luck saving him. Adult Bruce then got his ass nearly pommeled by the Court of Owls over who would claim Gotham, but he fought back, partly thanks to his BatFamily’s faith in him (and Commissioner Gordon’s faith in Batman and the BatFamily).
Would this tv show go there? Not sure if the Court of Owls would be the right tactic (then again, creepy as hell authoritarians who think they control the town, pre-Batman – why not? hey, there has to be more than the mobsters and corrupt politicians). And, since I mentioned in the previous post about Gotham’s legal community: according to the A.V. Club, “Gotham” is bringing on Harvey Dent already? … this cast is getting large. But, then again, if you’re going to be filled with the cops and crooks, you’re going to want the lawyers, and in the Bat-verse, Harvey Dent is the most known of the lawyers (who has a ton of his own problems). Hmmm…
Stay tuned, BatFans…