Review: Gotham (S1 E9/22), Monday 8th December, Channel 5

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Another major character is introduced this episode as we meet Harvey Dent, the crusading DA who we know is fated to become the twisted Two-Face. The episode opens with Jim Gordon towing bratty Selina Kyle to his penthouse apartment, only to find a ‘Dear Jim’ note from fiancée Barbara. So he deposits Selina at Wayne Manor, where Alfred is unsympathetic, but young Bruce evidently experiences a stirring in his Bat-pants.  

After producing the most unconvincing photofit ever of the killer of the Waynes (it looks like a binge-eating Alfred Molina), Selina settles down to valuing the Wayne pottery, while Bruce takes boxing lessons from Alfred. But, as Selina remarks, ‘In Gotham, they don’t fight with gloves on’.

We first see Harvey Dent flipping his trademark two-headed coin to decide the captivity or freedom of a juvie offender. Jim recruits him to help capture the killer of the Waynes, and whoever paid him. Harvey’s idea is that it’s a corrupt businessman named Dick Lovecraft (Al Sapienza), who had a feud with the Waynes, and Jim reluctantly goes along with his plan to flush out Lovecraft, although, as Harvey prophetically warns, ‘This is going to get ugly’.

Meanwhile, an ingenious bomb-maker, Hargrove (Leslie Odom Jr.) is sprung from jail after his transfer guards basically stand in a line waiting to be shot, and is put to work blowing up another bunch of dumb munitions factory guards, whose last words are ‘Did you hear that? It sounds like ticking…”

Jim and Bullock soon get to the bottom of the bombings, which turn out to involve Mooney and her plans against Falcone. Meanwhile Penguin figures out that Mooney has planted Liza on Falcone, and puts pressure on her himself. In a shock ending, the errant Barbara is seen getting some tongue action from an unexpected source.

The episode, which never quite gels, features some cringingly awful stuff like a food-fight between Bruce and Selina, Bruce practicing holding his breath in the swimming pool while fully dressed, an explosive that only works on iron, and an underwhelming confrontation between the cops and the bombers (enlivened only by a comedy moment as the bomb trigger plays The Final Countdown). 

Fans of the C’thulhu Mythos horror fiction of Howard Philips Lovecraft might have expected some element of the supernatural in this episode, but the use of the name Lovecraft doesn’t seem to carry that significance. It was HPL, of course, who wrote about a witch-haunted village named Arkham, and the episode ends with Arkham Asylum being populated by the criminally insane of Gotham’s prisoners. So maybe Dick Lovecraft will turn out to have tentacles, who knows?

Gotham certainly does have a weird newspaper, though; we see a copy of the Gotham Gazette with no date on the cover, and headlines about corpses found floating in the river on the back page. What, no sports news in Gotham?

And are we meant to make something of Ed Nygma’s statement that there are 118 elements in the periodic table? There are, of course, but only 114 of them are yet confirmed, with four remaining to be synthesised. Does Ed know something we don’t, or is this just a tease for anyone attempting to date the events of Gotham?

Chris Jenkins

For all our review of Gotham, go here

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