Review: Gotham (S2 E8/22), Monday 29th February, Channel 5

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gotham-s2ep8Gotham’s going through a great period now, tying up long-developing plot strands satisfactorily, yet keeping the surprises coming. If anyone claimed they could have predicted the events of this ep, we’d have called them a liar. 
So Theo Galavan has now been rumbled, and sees Jim Gordon not as a useful tool, but as a threat to his plans against Bruce Wayne. What would you do if you had Jim’s loopy ex-girfriend on the leash? Why, let her off, of course.

One of the joys of Gotham is the way in which it allows characters to be ‘sleepers’ for a while, before exploding them in a big way. Nowhere is this more so than with Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), who started out as insipid and annoying, but who has become one of the most compelling characters; not a villain per se, but a damaged individual who is evidently going to do a lot of damage in return.

The opening scenes of Barbara’s mad imaginings of her wedding to Jim do a great job of painting her state of mind, but what has Galavan actually promised her? Presumably the chance to kill Jim, though we’re aware that this can only result in her own downfall.

Barbara offers information to Jim, an offer everyone knows is a trap, but which no-one can resist, particularly Jim – “You see an abyss, and you run towards it” as Lee says.

When Barbara captures Jim and Lee, and gets to act out her wedding fantasy for real, Erin Richards gets to deliver some great lines in what we feel is going to be her swan-song. When Bullock saves the day, Barbara goes out of a window and ends up on a stretcher – but in what kind of state, we’re not quite sure.

While this scene reminds us forcibly of both Tim Burton’s Batman and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight, there’s another nice little nod to the genre, in the real genesis of The Riddler; Ed Nygma buries Miss Kringle, thanks her for making him whole, and offs a random hunter who stumbles on the scene (we love Ed’s all-weather gear by the way, what sort of coat is that?).

All that remains is for Ed to follow a blood trail away from his picnic spot, and of course that leads to a wounded Penguin; the first great meeting of supervillains in Gotham, and hopefully the start of a beautiful friendship.

Bruce, meanwhile, has his own suspicions about Galavan, and is beginning to draw back from his promise to sell his company for information about the murder of his parents; his timing’s just right, as Jim has found Mayor James, and uses his testimony to arrest Galavan. Bruce may have lost the evidence, but surely this was fake anyway?

So is this it? Is Galavan thwarted, Bruce saved, Jim out of danger, his relationship with Lee sanctified in church? No way – while Galavan is alive, he’s dangerous. This might have been Round 1 in the knockout battle between Jim and Galavan, but the final blow is yet to be delivered.

Chris Jenkins

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