Gotham is back but unfortunately it was one of the weaker episodes this season. As one of the best shows on television right now, this episode was a big disappointment. Be warned that spoilers are ahead as I cannot express my thoughts without them this time around. There were some story decisions that had my eyes rolling.
Luckily it wasn’t all bad so I’ll start there. Jim and Harvey are great as always. We get to see Jim deal with his guilt and Harvey give him a hard time as always. The relationship between these two is one of the better parts of the show and I loved seeing them as partners again. The last few episodes with them at odds was fine but it was refreshing having Harvey back on the force. Even though Harvey is upset with Jim taking the captain job and allowing Sophia to take over Gotham, the trust has never been broken. When the Mad Hatter sets half the city to roof tops to jump to their deaths, Harvey allows himself to be hypnotized knowing that Jim would rescue him. It’s the kind of trust that only exists between the closest of friends.
Bruce and Selina went on a journey to find Jerome after he, Crane and Tetch broke out of Arkham. The audience got to see the greatest detective in training on a case. His discovery was not ground breaking at all but this is a young Bruce who has yet to take on the mantle of Batman even though he has embraced that it is in his future. Bruce gets into a fight with a man far stronger than he and manages to hold his own for a lot of it. He ends up needing Selina’s help but we can see the growth of Bruce as a vigilante.
The above details about the episode were good but did not save it from some big head scratchers. First, Jerome was not nearly as good this time around. He wasn’t bad but I didn’t believe him working well with others like he was here. Granted he will likely stab them in the back but it was hard to stomach this time around. Further, the writing just wasn’t good this time. Jerome is usually so maniacal and terrifying. This time he came off as a wimp and mostly not in control. If this is to be our version of the Joker, it was a poor rendition of it. The Joker is always in control even when he’s being beat to a pulp.
Barbara has been a burden on the show for a few seasons now but this latest episode was just stupid. I love that the show gives us strong female characters, especially Selina but Barbara has become a joke. At this point it’s as if the writers refuse to have her work with men. It’s all about girl power every where she goes. This episode took it to another level with multiple missteps. First off, they are making her the Demon’s head which I didn’t mind at first. In fact, I found this reveal to be exciting and thought it was a turn in the right direction for the character. But then the League of Shadows shows up and they are mostly wielding guns. What in the world are the writers thinking? I’m not saying that they can’t use guns but most everyone had a gun and it felt off. For a league of ninja assassins it felt highly misguided.
The carrot on the top of this disaster comes when the show decided to throw in some more “girl power” messaging. Instead of showing a female character be strong in her actions, they have to make it a platform. One of the interactions states that the league is not supposed to be led by a woman and one of the female assassins speaks out saying it is a tradition that women do not lead, not a law. It felt so out of place and forced that I couldn’t help but actually role my eyes. Barbara faced the sexism with strength which I liked until the entire league is mowed down with machine guns but the four female members of the league. Yes, you read that correctly. For some reason the show runners think Barbara is incapable of dealing with men and must have a female only team. If the intent is to promote diversity, this is a terrible way to do. Instead, let’s promote diversity by actually having a diverse group.
Gotham is usually spot on each week which is why this episode was such a let down. Jim and Harvey’s story and Bruce/Selina redeemed what could have been the worst TV review this site has ever given to a passable attempt at a super hero episode. Hopefully the Barbara plot is executed better in the upcoming episodes and Jerome gets back to his former glory. At least Jim and Harvey are still awesome which I believe to be the heart of the show.
2 out of 5 Couch Cushions and a throw pillow!!! (2.5)