Review: Gotham (S1 E10/22), Monday 15th December, Channel 5

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If you’ve been waiting for an episode of Gotham which is truly action-packed, this is it; Bruce goes on the run, Alfred gets handy, Gordon gets strangled and Lovecraft gets what’s coming to him. This last episode before the mid-season hiatus had to up the stakes a bit, and that it surely does. We’ve had plenty of Penguin’s plotting against Falcone recently, so it’s time to get back to the plot of the Wayne murders, and Gordon’s plans to bust open the corruption at the heart of Gotham City.

Selina Kyle has been deposited at Wayne Manor until Harvey Dent can call her to testify against dodgy businessman Lovecraft. But Alfred was right – this does put young Master Bruce in danger, as three skilled assassins attack the house.

Alfred proves himself to be handy with fists, stick, and gun, putting one killer down while Selina and Bruce flee the scene. But he can’t stop the other attackers escaping, and pursuing Selina and Bruce into the city.

There’s some nice stuff between the youngsters here, as Bruce shows that his attraction to the young Catwoman-to-be is tempered by an understanding of her basically self-interested character. Nevertheless he trusts her enough to follow her to a hangout for street-kids, where they can hide until they can make contact with Alfred. Here they meet creepy kid Ivy Pepper, daughter of the man wrongly blamed for killing the Waynes. She eyes up young Bruce with uncertain intent.

Meanwhile Bullock and Alfred (who make a great double-act) roust Fish Mooney, as Gordon pursues Lovecraft, who everyone assumes is behind the attack, only to find him cowering in a hideout. Lovecraft claims to be a minor cog in the conspiracy that killed the Waynes, but before he can spill the beans, he’s killed by the assassins, who leave Gordon alive to take the rap.

Bruce and Selina are captured by an associate of Fish, and in climactic fight, Bullock and Alfred fight off the assassins to save Bruce, while Selina slips into the night. Finally, Gordon is carpeted by the Mayor, who tries to vindicate the dead Lovecraft by condemning Jim to take over as a guard at Arkham Asylum.

A breathlessly choreographed episode leaves little time for any real detective work beyond the rousting of various low-lifes to locate Bruce and Selina. Falcone gets a brief but telling scene as he executes a lieutenant over dinner, then briefs Penguin to discover the mole in his organization, unaware of course that Penguin is himself running the mole, Liza.

Though the episode has lots of action, plenty of strong character stuff between Bruce and Selina and Alfred and Bullock, and an enticingly open ending with Gordon’s condemnation to Arkham. It feels like a trick has been missed in killing off Lovecraft so soon. This would have been a chance to introduce another twist to the conspiracy, but now Harvey Dent will presumably have to aim his efforts straight at Falcone.

Bat-fans will enjoy the opening shot where Bruce is practicing balancing on the banisters, and through a circular window shines what looks suspiciously like the Bat-signal. There’s also a nod to DC mythology in the un-named killers, who apparently appear in different forms in Batman comics and games as the Talons.

But the biggest tease is left until last. Selina hands Bruce a mysterious silver box bearing a winged symbol, and as she does so, owls are heard hooting. Does this tie in with the sinister conspiracy Lovecraft alludes to, and could this be the Court of Owls, a major element of Batman mythology?

No doubt we’ll find out more after the mid-season hiatus, but first, Gordon has to get settled in at Arkham Asylum. He’ll be in for some sleepless nights – and what will Barbara say when she returns from her sexcapades?

Chris Jenkins

For all our Gotham reviews, go here

 

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