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GOTHAM S01E11: “Rogue’s Gallery” (review)

So with this episode we’ve officially entered the second half of Gotham’s debut season.

Here’s hoping that it won’t be as uneven as the first half but if this episode is anything to go by, it doesn’t instill much confidence in me.

When we last saw Gordon, he was demoted to Arkham security guard which is where this episode picks up. Someone in the asylum has been secretly electroshocking the inmates and it’s up to Gordon to solve the mystery. Predictably, this leads us on a wild goose chase with plenty of red herrings and misdirection along the way.

As always, let’s break it down.


THE GOOD

Usually The Penguin lights up the screen, and as usual, my attention spikes when he’s on screen, but even his brief scenes weren’t enough to save this episode.

Sigh. Moving on.

THE BAD

We have the obligatory check in with Barbara. It’s starting to feel like a bad soap opera. Within two episodes we have Montoya and Barbara in bed together and then fighting over their “toxic” relationship. How do we know it’s toxic? Because they keep saying it.

Once again this series proves that subtle storytelling is not an option.

Am I crazy or were they actually using Dutch angles for the scene in Fish’s nightclub. So is the idea that they’re not even trying to disguise the fact that Fish is practically ripped straight out of the Adam West series?

To be fair she doesn’t really ham it up as much in this episode as usual but that’s mainly to do with her not having much screen time. None of the regulars do except for Gordon, with the rest of the cast just popping up so we can check in with them.

Notably absent is Bruce and Alfred but I can’t say that I missed them. They may as well write them out for all the difference they’ve made.

THE BAT

We get a good look inside Arkham’s walls this episode and are introduced to a new villain. Without spoiling anything, he’s not the villain I thought he was going to be as the producers seem determined to invent their own one-and-done villains, but his MO is similar to another Bat foe. I’d like to think that they were purposely trying to mislead us to believe it was that well known villain but I don’t think the writers are that clever.

The only major addition that is ripped from the comics is Dr. Leslie Thompkins.

She is Leslie only in name and could have been any random doctor who is being set up as a new love interest for Gordon. I kind of wish she was just a new random character because Leslie deserves better than this shell of a character who probably will develop just as much as the other women on this show.

That is to say, not at all.

THE CONCLUSION

It’s pretty easy to pinpoint the major problems with this series and why it doesn’t get the fan love that other DC properties like Arrow and Flash do. Those series have the benefit of the superhero actually starring in their respective shows, while Gotham seemed like it would work on paper based on the strength of Batman’s world and supporting cast, but it’s becoming more and more apparent as time goes by that this is not a sustainable concept.

Or to rephrase, this is not a sustainable concept under the current management.

No one involved seems to have a clue how to make a Batman show without Batman, which I believe is achievable (go read DC’s Gotham Central), but only if you have a good story to tell and a clear vision guiding it.

It feels like Penguin’s arc is the only one that was even remotely thought out in advance and for the rest of the series they’re just winging it.

And if that’s not the case, then this show is in worse shape than I thought.

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