Gotham: Look Into My Eyes – We’re All Mad Here (Review)

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The Mad Hatter has arrived in the Wonderland that is Gotham City. “Look Into My Eyes” introduces the menacing character, and his poisonous sister Alice and it is a certainty that they will fit right in.

After watching two full seasons of Gotham, and settling into the third, it has finally become apparent that all the city’s denizens are barking mad. Everyone, from Bruce Wayne down to Lee Thompkins have more than a few bricks missing from their barrows.

Stepping back and looking at the broad scope of characters on hand all that is missing is a Cheshire Cat, who could make it official with its “We’re all mad here,” pronouncement.  Although to be fair, Ed Nygma could well be the “cat” in this scenario. (See what we did there?)

Leaving aside these whimsical musings for a moment and looking at the episode itself, “Look Into My Eyes” introduces Jervis Tetch who is looking for his missing sister.

Sis, who is named Alice and does look a bit like the original rendering of that fictional Lewis Carroll character, is an escapee from Indian Hill.  She has poison in her blood and a tendency to burn down any thing that comes in contact with it.

Tetch, is a hypnotist, “listen to my watch,” feels a little like DC’s version of Marvel’s Kilgrave but with a watch and that Mad Hatter’s top hat. (And before purists moan about the comparison, just remember that DC and Marvel have always had character “riffs.”) Although. to be fair, Jervis is not “manufactured” a’la Indian Hill and Kilgrave was actually created by his parents.

The Mad Hatter is gainfully employed at Barbara and Tabitha’s club doing turns on the small stage.  He manages to find a home during his act and murders the owners, via hypnosis of course, and starts searching for his sister.

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Lee is thinking of returning to the GCPD and her old job. Jim finds out that his little coupling with Valerie may be a one time good deal and Penguin runs for mayor.

The Bruce Wayne clone has been welcomed into Wayne Manor.

Manufactured by Hugo Strange, the young man has a disturbing scar on his neck and some sort of wound on his forearm.  He can box fairly well and has no problem stealing Bruce’s identity or Alfred’s Rolls. (Although technically it is Bruce’s car by default.)

Selina Kyle is taken in by the “new” Bruce, enough so that she forgives the “selfish son-of-a-b*tch.” Granted she is getting a free meal from the clone. “Later losers.”

Lee’s new fiancee turns out to be a Falcone.  She really has hopped straight out of the frying pan and into the fire.  Her future hubby may not be part of the family business but guilt by association alone could make things very interesting for the couple.

The Mad Hatter has gotten off to a shaky start in Gotham. He is stopped from walking Jim Gordon off a ledge by little sis. Alice then shoots at her brother, apparently missing, and he does a runner.  She helps Gordon down and he handcuffs her.

Gordon’s little savior has now become another bounty.

Ed Nygma has been released from Arkham Asylum with a certificate proving his sanity. As Ed stands arguing with the new head of the asylum Penguin rolls up and greets his old pal.  Cobblepot has gotten his bestie out of the slam to help in the upcoming election.

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Gotham is still pulling in some old favorites from the Batman verse while allowing others to vanish. Jerome as Joker was a nice touch and yet Bruno Heller opted to kill him off. There were hopes that he would be rejuvenated at Indian Hill and, fingers crossed, he may still turn up like Fish Mooney.

Penguin running for mayor feels all wrong.  This happened in the earlier iterations of big screen Batman (Batman Returns). In the 1992 film Cobblepot wins the election and  it looks like history will be repeating itself, so to speak.

As the entire city is stark raving bonkers it seems a certainty that Penguin will be the new mayor. Every single character in Gotham appears to suffer from some mental malady of some kind.

Jim Gordon, who could have been called “normal” in the earlier seasons has now gone completely off the rails. He acts like a grown juvenile delinquent. Just check out the scene in the police station; he is all flailing gestures as he demands his money.

Barnes clearly has anger management issues, which does not make him insane, but his over the top reactions to almost everything puts the man very close to the edge.

It will be interesting to see how the Mad Hatter story plays out.  Except for the hat, Tetch will not stand out too much. Gotham is, after all,  full of inherently nutty people. Even the average citizens are willing to pull guns on the mayor and his “thugs.”

There must be something in the water, anyone doubting that suggestion should just ask Poison Ivy…

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX.

CAST:

Guest starring John Doman as Carmine Falcone.

Gotham: A Dead Man Feels No Cold – Strange Takes Over (recap/review)

Gotham: A Dead Man Feels No Cold takes up where Mr Freeze ended, with Victor heading out to save Nora and Strange overseeing the rehabilitation of Penguin.

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Gotham: A Dead Man Feels No Cold takes up where Mr Freeze ended, with Victor heading out to save Nora and Strange overseeing the rehabilitation of Penguin. Ms Peabody, personally applies the treatment and despite Cobblepot’s threats, enjoys torturing the former king of Gotham.

Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) has returned to Wayne Manor,and Gotham, after his Alfred imposed break from the city.  An enforced rest period spent in a Swiss Chalet (“Castle in France” sniffs Selena Kyle later in the episode) and afterward  Bruce talks with Lee about his state of mind. 

Disturbingly, or perhaps prophetically, young Wayne is exhibiting the duality of nature, aka split personality, that enables him to become Batman when he grows up.  Another sign of Bruce’s future abilities appear when Kyle attempts to sneak up on Wayne and he tells her,  “I felt the air move when you came in the window.”

Kyle (Camren Bicondova) is annoyed that Bruce caught her out and she get more upset when Wayne asks her to get him a gun later. Also annoyed is Captain Barnes who rages about Mr. Freeze demanding his wife be released after he froze five cops to death. Barnes swears he will “Free his foot up Victor’s frozen a**.”

Barnes demands that Nora be sent to Arkham for her own safety and Lee (Morena Baccarin) accompanies the dying woman.  Meanwhile Oswald’s treatment turns him into a confused and eager to please inmate, briefly. 

He confronts Jim Gordon in the Arkham grounds and asks for help, his “friend” refuses and Penguin starts yelling that the future commissioner killed Galavan and that he, Cobblepot, lied. This exchange is observed by Hugo Strange (BD Wong) via CCTV.

Ironically, Nora is put in the same ward as Barbara Kean. Alfred brings Bruce the file on M. Malone and the two have a brief moment where the butler makes his charge agree that Alfred will kill the man who killed Bruce’s parents when they catch him.

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Victor removing Nora, and Lee, from Arkham

Victor frees Nora and brings Lee along. Gordon is put in a closet unharmed. Strange facilitates Fries’ entry into Arkham and sets up an escape vehicle and exit after Victor leaves some of his cryogenic solution for the doctor.

Fries takes his wife back home to freeze her and place her body in an container.  Nora (Kristen Hager) swaps the solution canister so that when Victor shoots her, it kills her. Consumed by grief, Fries uses the same solution on himself.

Lee confronts Jim about lying, she knows he killed Galavan and Penguin is strapped in that chair again for anther treatment. Ms. Peabody opines that he may be incurable and Strange disagrees.

Victor Fries wakes up in a frozen room, Hugo tells the man that he survived due to a cellular acceptance of the formula.  As Strange explains to the “dead man” about death only being the beginning the camera leaves the room.  It pans down to another section of Indian Hill and we see Theo Galavan and what appears to be the back of Jerome “The Joker” Valeska’s head.

These dead villains floating in glass containers full of fluid make it seem a certainty that as well as Galavan and the Joker returning to Gotham  Fish Mooney may also make a dramatic reappearance. All that remains to be seen is whether Oswald Cobblepot will be able to recognize her.

It should be noted that during the mid-season break, David Mazouz has shot up in height and lost some of that roundness of face from last year. As teenagers are wont to do  the actor has had a bit of a growth spurt. Since Bruce Wayne was not in last week’s episode, the change only became apparent in this week’s installment.

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Bruce Wayne, taller and leaner…

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX and while this semi-touching episode was  a little slow, the next episode should pick up pace as Bruce looks for a gun.

Gotham: Worse Than a Crime (Review)

Aw Gotham. How do I love thee? Worse than a Crime was season two’s most epic episode with everything being nigh-on perfect in every way. From the lovely twist(s) in relation to the Bruce Wayne and Silver St Cloud storyline, to the Sam Peckinpah “walk” where this Wild Bunch are made up of an army of shotguns versus four.

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Aw Gotham. How do I love thee? Worse than a Crime was season two’s most epic episode to date with everything being nigh-on perfect in every way.  From the lovely twist(s) in relation to the Bruce Wayne and Silver St Cloud storyline, to the Sam Peckinpah “walk” where this “Wild Bunch” are made up of an army of shotguns versus four.  Granted, it stood to reason that young Master Wayne was not going to die, Bruno Heller would not go that far, but the episode practically sang a pitch-perfect tale of madness and comedy.

Sean Pertwee, as Alfred got the lion’s share of the comedic moments.

  1. Hiding in the freezer only to have a ton of additional rubbish dumped on the lid after escaping Tabby and her henchmen, “Oh bloody hell…”
  2. Apologizing to the driver he has just pulled out of the car that Alfred wishes to commandeer only to be tased in the  puss by one of GCPD’s finest.
  3. Interrupting Penguin’s diatribe about how Galavan must die:  “Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit. Can we just stop the “Bunny” and get in there chaps?”

*Sidenote* In English (as in the Queen’s English) to “Rabbit on” is to talk too much or too long. It is also the name of a song by Chas and Dave (1981) titled “Rabbit” about a girlfriend who talks too much…

Nygma, played with such maniacal panache by Cory Michael Smith, also has his fair share of amusing moments. The duet he sings with Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor)  with that smile and later when he tells Lee “Is your lover-man alive? Go to Grundy. 805.” In every instance, in this episode, Smith exudes a clear delight in his schizophrenic madness whenever he is on screen that is just so compelling. All the more so in his later scenes with Bullock and Fox.

Stand out moments:

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Lee: “Don’t speak.”

Lee arguing with her “lover-man” in front of Penguin and his evil minion:

Lee: “You’re on the run from the law. You want to attack the mayor with the help of a depraved sociopath. That’s not crazy?

Penguin: “I can hear you.”

Lee: :Shh! Don’t speak.” 

Tabitha “owning” Theo. Not once, but twice.

Young Bruce Wayne “owning” Silver.  It is obvious that Alfred clearly underestimated his young charge’s abilities dramatically when he warned the boy that he was not able to deal with Silver’s deceptive qualities. The kid is a “playa…”

Speaking of the ladies who are loyal to young Wayne, Cat’s helping to get the gang into Galavan’s lair was also special, that look she drops Alfred…

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Her look says it all…

Last, but not least, the shot of Galavan’s lifeless body being “unwrapped” by Ms, Peabody with Penguin’s umbrella shoved halfway down Theo’s throat.

While singing the praises of this particular Gotham storyline finale,  mad props go to director Jeffrey G. Hunt who “got it in one.” It also needs to be pointed out that despite Bruno Heller’s need to play fast and loose with the Batman verse, pre the caped crusader, there was no real suspense in the episode. Bruce Wayne was not going to die, nor was Alfred…although it was  bit iffy there for a little while.

Thoughts:

May Michael Chiklis’ character not wake up from Penguin’s perfectly timed bash in the head. Captain Barnes is getting old very fast, like the dinosaur he so resembles the new captain needs to be retired…yesterday.

Who is doing Morena Baccarin‘s makeup?? Was there a conscious decision to make her look like a younger Teri Hatcher? Morena is a gorgeous actress who does need to be remade into an “escapee from Desperate Housewives” lookalike.

Kudos on allowing Harvey Bullock the punch line of the episode. The gag; all the good guys and bad ones, having to take what looks like an eternal staircase up to save Bruce Wayne from being executed by the mad monks of Dumas.  Partway up, Bullock stops, breathing heavily and says he catch up.

After all the monks have been killed, or shot, the head chap leaps toward Gordon and is shot mid-leap by Bullock (Donal Logue) who has just arrived in the room. With a slight grin, Bullock says:

“That was a lot of stairs.”

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Harvey gets the punch line…

Bravo to Heller, the writers and the cast for killing it in this episode.  How can one not adore Ben MacKenzie’s Jim Gordon? At the end of the episode, before the umbrella reveal, Gordon is sitting on a bench with his paramour and in the least romantic way possible asks Lee to marry him. She smiles, but does not answer…

Does the dark man who shot Galavan, allowed Penguin to beat his mother’s murderer to a pulp with a baseball bat and teamed up with gangsters to save Bruce Wayne really think Lee will say yes?

Thinking about it, he probably does.  Heller and MacKenzie have given us a pre-role model that could have given a grown up Bruce Wayne lessons in being dark,  torn and twisted inside while fighting for justice.  One last observation/question: Did anyone else break out in goosebumps when Mr. Freeze showed up at the end?

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in for the madness and near perfection with an unforgettable cast of characters.

Gotham: By Fire – Killing Kris Kringle (Review)

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Things just took  a grim turn in Gotham. By Fire was an episode that turned out to be a bit rough on the female members of the juvenile criminal community.  Things also turned deadly for another female character who probably should have thought before freaking out in front of Mr. Nygma. Before the end credits roll things are very bleak and a particular bird-man is getting ready to take his troops out to rescue mommy.

Bruno Heller once agains teases us with his tendency to usher in characters that appear to be related to the DC Gotham verse. A female firefly was introduced and then, seemingly, discarded almost as quickly as Jerome “The Joker.” Although Bridgit Pike is not dead, the gender swap firefly has been sent to Indian Hill, a Wayne Enterprise facility where invasive testing, aka torture, of “monsters” is the rule of the day.

Poor Pike has been abused not just by her arsonist “family” but by Gotham’s finest as well. The kid looked to be ready to take on all those who bully and threaten the helpless only to get caught by Captain Barnes and the GCPD who wanted payback for the death of new Strike Force member Garrett.

The storyline for Pike (Michelle Veintimilla) was good. An abused and downtrodden girl whose adoptive family are a group of fire-bugs that bully her into submission. A little taste of power transforms the shy and awkward child into a homicidal human flame thrower.  Turns out the kid likes the power of the fire and the fear it induces and death it deals by her hand. 

Kudos to Veintimilla who pulls off the switch from timid victim to vengeful fire-starter effortlessly.  Her expressions give the viewer her thoughts and feelings, just as that one eye tells us that Firefly is terrified as she is being wheeled into Indian Hills.  This poor kid just cannot get a break. Just as she starts a little well-deserved payback to all those bullies, she is incarcerated with a fire proof body and destroyed visage.

Jim Gordon learns that his alliance with Captain Barnes is going to be an uncomfortable one. Barnes (Michael Chiklis) is a “black and white” cop. There is no grey in his view of the law, but as Gordon tells his new boss, “This is Gotham” if one were to look up grey in the dictionary, there would be a picture of the city in the definition.

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Cat tries to save her friend Bridgit.

Selena Kyle (Camren Bicondova) goes off the deep end when her friend Bridgit is kidnapped by her brothers. Getting tooled up she is approached by Gordon who promises her that if she lets the GCPD take care of things the girl will be protected. Sadly, Jim has made a promise he cannot keep, Barnes does not honor grey pledges. 

When the Strike Force head down to the meat market where Firefly is torching the owner/auctioneer and releasing the caged female captives, things go wrong. A stray shot, an angry youngster with fire at her disposal and an exploding police car means that Jim’s promise to Cat cannot be kept, even without Barnes’ insistence that Gordon was out of line.

The female Firefly goes up in flames and later Gordon will tell Kyle that the girl is not expected to “make it.” Selena swears off making friends with cops and this  presumably pushes her over the edge into full villainy. Bicondova kills it in her scenes with Bridgit and her slow tears in the scene with Ben MacKenzie as Gordon was an emotionally underplayed powerhouse performance.

As expected, Mr. Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) blows it pretty spectacularly with Kristen Kringle and he ends up killing the woman, even as he swears his love for her.  This was a doomed relationship from the start, Nygma was too socially inept to carry on a relationship with anyone, let alone the woman he killed for.  This was heavy in the irony department and one felt sorry for Kringle, who really was  a bad judge of character all around.

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Chelsea Spack as Kristen Kringle, sic transit Kris mundi…

Kringle really was an odd one, seems her admission to Lee (Morena Baccarin) that she really liked a bit of rough, was not true after all. Once Ed confesses he murdered the abusive cop Dougherty poor Kris freaks out, despite that fact that she and Nygma just had sex in his bed.  Cue one short exit for the woman who had very poor taste in men.

Butch manages to get into the employ of Galavan and becomes the plaything of Tabitha and Barbara. Later, sporting a mallet for a right hand, Butch is caught looking for Penguin’s mother. After being punished by Tabitha, the “Tiger Lady” locks him up. Gilzean (Drew Powellescapes and reveals where Gertrude Kapelput is being held and Penguin rounds up his troops for a rescue.

One does wonder if Butch has been turned by Theo’s sister as the big man stands in front of the fireplace while Penguin ratchets a shell into his shotgun and gestures for his men to go.  By the end of the episode, before we see poor Bridgit being wheeled into a room surrounded by screaming “monsters” and  the city of Gotham is full of some very unhappy people. Selena and Nygma (who is cradling the women he just murdered, screaming) are two characters whose destinies have been shaped by this episode.

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in and catch the murder, madness and mayhem that Bruno Heller delivers on a regular basis. See just how Nygma’s killing of Kris Kringle turns out for the city and its denizens.

 

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