Gotham Season 3 Episode 1: Better to Reign in Hell – Doppelgänger (Review)

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Gotham starts the third season with Jim Gordon in, unsurprisingly, a very bad mood. Episode one “Better to Reign in Hell” shows Lee having moved on and Gordon hitting the bottle.  He is also working as a bounty hunter, dragging in Hugo Strange’s evil creations to “pay the rent.”

All of the Arkham Asylum escapees are walking the streets of the city and one in particular is searching for drugs. Fish Mooney is suffering every time she uses the power that Strange added to her DNA.  Looking for some relief has pushed her even further over the edge.

Now she wants Strange to “fix” her and create an army of more DNA altered villains. Sounds like a perfect opportunity to see the return of Jerome as The Joker.

There is a new reporter in town. Valerie Vale, auntie of Vicki and Batman’s romantic interest when he finally reaches maturity in Gotham. She is interested not only in the crimewave in the city, but  it seems that Val also has a thing for Jim Gordon.

Bruce Wayne has a doppelgänger and this longhaired monosyllabic lad has a thing for Selena Kyle.   The future Catwoman gives the boy some money and it brings out the stalker in him.

Kyle is still playing the game as only she can. Stealing Butch’s wallet, selling information to Vale about the Indian Hill gang and avoiding the Gotham PD. She has temporarily aligned herself with Fish but after the attack on Ivy this may change.

The soon to be older Poison Ivy was touched by Marv and then jettisoned into an open sewer pipe. Mrs. Peabody also gets the “fountain of age/death” and expires after telling Fish that Strange can sort her problems out.

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Fish Mooney

Bruce tells his board of directors that there is a skunk in the woodpile and that he plans to flush it out. Shortly after, the leader of the covert group orders a masked man to “quietly take care of Wayne.”

Meanwhile Butch tries to get Tabby back and this results in a comic highlight in the episode.  After Barbara has beaten the mobster sent by Gilzean to a pulp Oswald and Butch show up to negotiate.

The gangster cannot say club due to his injuries and instead says “cwub.” Kean finds this hysterical and mocks the soon to be dead villain.

“Cwub? What’s a cwub? I mean, can anyone understand him?”

Cobblepot allows the two women to run their “cwub” but reminds Tabitha that she is on borrowed time. The minute, he says,  Butch gives him the nod;  Tabby is his.

Bruce is taken after Alfred lets the side down once more. (For a tough old geezer, Pennyworth has been getting his backside beaten on a regular basis.)

This season seems headed to a Alexander Dumas theme here. The Man in the Iron Mask territory where the new Bruce Wayne look-a-like will step in for the kidnapped future Batman.

“Better to Reign in Hell” has a more confident and powerful Penguin.  Cobblepot really does want Fish Mooney out of the picture.

The continuing friendship between Nygma and Oswald is interesting.  Cobblepot sees Edward as his BFF, after all who else could do an origami penguin and remind Oswald that “penguins eat fish,” in a matter of seconds.  Can he really be trusted?

Definitely not.

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Oswald pointing a finger.

Thus far Gotham has a snotty Jim Gordon and an enticing new reporter.  Harvey has resumed his cowering act in front of the barely recovered Capt. Barnes and Bruce has stepped things up only to be taken in the night.

Selina may not stick with Mooney too long after the “apparent” demise of Ivy and Butch is clearly still besotted with Tabitha.

Gotham: Mad City also has an ailing Fish Mooney who is desperate to find Dr. Strange.

The opening salvo in season three is interesting and a little transparent. Of course the twin of Bruce may not be used as a temporary replacement at all but if he is not, what is the point.

James Gordon as bounty hunter is annoying. Sure he can work outside the law and get paid, but the future commissioner of Gotham is, deep inside, a cop.  This is a poor fit for Gordon and hopefully will end soon.

As another reviewer pointed out, “we already have a Batman” and they are right. Although the future hero has not transformed from Bruce Wayne boy millionaire to caped crusader just yet.

Apart from the introduction of Ms. Vale  and the partnership of Barbara and Tabitha, the only really interesting thing about the season premiere is Mooney’s gang of “monsters.”  One of which hastens the transformation of Poison Ivy.

So by the end of the first episode, Alfred is unconscious, Peabody is dead and Bruce Wayne is taken before the butler can turn on the alarm system for Wayne Manor.

If the Dumas angle continues one can either congratulate show creator Bruno Heller for an interesting sort of homage or take points off for lack of originality. What do you think? Has Heller made the right move with the doppelgänger twist?

On a closing note…

Did anyone else notice that both Barnes and Penguin were using canes in the episode open? And, did anyone notice that the canes were being used on opposite sides of the body?

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX.

 

CAST:

Gotham: Transference – Monster Mash (Review)

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The season two finale of “Gotham,” titled “Transference,” was a real monster mash at the end and had a couple of surprises.  The long-haired Bruce Wayne was one and the prompting by Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) to the  shocked Oswald Cobblepot, “Nothing is impossible,” were but two of  surprises out of an episode chock a block with little revelatory bits. 

Before going into a recap, of sorts, now would be a good time to have a moan about the Jim Gordon “doppelgänger ”  storyline in the episode. Granted it was funny to see McKenzie acting like a slack-jawed yokel and overly loud version of himself but seriously?  Even Harvey Bullock cannot be that stupid. If nothing else the acting captain should have ordered Gordon checked for drugs.

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Aw shucks…

The fact that there was clearly something wrong with Jim Gordon should have been picked up by even the least observant of Gotham’s finest. The fact that it took Barbara Keen (Erin Richards) to suss out that Gordon was not himself, literally, was stretching the joke too far. 

Back to the main plot line, Fish Mooney (B*tch) was easily the scariest thing about the episode.  Mooney was always homicidal by nature, add to that winning personality this suggestive pheromone, or what ever it was Strange added, and there will be no stopping her.

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There were comic bits in the episode.  Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) explaining to Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) that she was never manipulated or used. 

“I got you wrapped around my pinky… Always have.”

Nygma proves that not only is he mad as a hatter but he is not above cheating when he plays the poison gas game with Lucius and Bruce. Ms. Peabody (Tonya Pinkins) not only shows that even she is not immune to Mooney’s “charms” (You better not talk about  my mama again.) but she later inadvertently saves Indian Hill from nuclear destruction. 

(The “Water” plea was brilliant and the comic highlight of the episode, much funnier than the pseudo Jim Gordon gag that went on far too long.)

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It was satisfying to see that underneath all his pomp and self-confidence, Hugo Strange (BD Wong) was a coward terrified of Mooney, whom he could not control. 

Speaking of control, Strange’s little truth serum session left Gordon with a few suggestions that he seems unable to shake and that murmured message to Penguin from Fish that “nothing is impossible,” is a brilliant lead to next season. Oswald may just be the biggest problem Gotham has seen yet, even more of a thing to be feared than Mooney. Now that he has that Mooney message bouncing around in his brain, he may be the next really big bad.

Interestingly, Butch (Drew Powell) has slipped effortlessly back into the role of Penguin goon since the death of Tabitha. He even accepts Keen, for the moment, and when Cobblepot orders Butch to “saddle up” to get Strange, the big guy raises that giant fake paw and salutes.  

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Butch and the big gun.

(Speaking of giant, that mini-gun that Butch uses toward the end was so kick-arse. Equally impressive was his murmured “Oh no,” at the sight of Fish and his abrupt about-face and quick departure from the scene.)

Selina Kyle was the biggest little heroine of the piece with her strategic manipulation of Brigit, aka Firefly, into defending her from Mr. Freeze.  With the distraction of the battle she was able to release Bruce, Fox and Jim.

The end of Gotham had a “bag-lady” opening the bus door and releasing all of Strange’s monsters to roam the streets of the city. Miraculously, she is unharmed and the long haired Wayne stops to thank her.

It was disappointing not to  see Oswald wreak vengeance on Strange, after all Cobblepot is still off with the fairies; as seen at the beginning of the episode with that severed head decoration,  but we can only hope that upon awakening from that Mooney faint, that Penguin sets out to balance the madness scales.

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The fury of a penguin…

With the introduction of the young Bruce Wayne clone it makes one wonder if Theo Galavan and Fish Mooney are not clones as well.  Perhaps this question will be answered next season.  Either way, the powerful, and monstrous, new villains of Gotham look set to create a lot of  havoc at home.

 

Gotham: Prisoners – Murder Most Fowl – (Review)

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In Gotham: Prisoners Jim Gordon is moved into the general populace. Harvey Bullock searches for ways to help his friend while Oswald Cobblepot bonds with his father and Gordon gets back up after being beaten down with a little help from a prisoner named Puck.

Jim Gordon’s life in prison takes a bad turn when Warden Grey (Ned Bellamy) zeroes in on the framed detective after telling him that former commissioner Loeb sends his regards.  Gordon’s world has collapsed. Lee has lost the baby and is living somewhere “down south” and no one can contact her. 

Grey tells his pet prisoner that he wants Jim dead before the week is out.  Cobblepot has no idea that he has landed in a compony of wolves who are all out for Van Dahl’s blood and money.  Elijah (Paul Reubens) has a hole in his heart and his wife and two other children are trying to kill him for their inheritance.

After Oswald find’s his father sleepwalking and confesses his life as the Penguin the two men grow closer. The rehabilitated King of Gotham suffers from nightmares but his treatment seems to be success.  Jim Gordon warns Puck (Peter Mark Kendall) to stay away from him after the young man comes to his aid.

When both men are returned to the general population, Puck is beaten badly and returned to the infirmary.  Before they leave the medical treatment area, Grey tells Gordon that he knows everything.  The detective’s response infuriates the warden.

Gordon: “I know something you don’t know.”

Grey: “Yeah, what’s that?”

Gordon: “I know what kind of man you are.”

The Dahl family attempt to turn Elijah against his long lost son.  Dahl reveals that he knew about Oswald’s criminal past.  Elijah reassures his scheming family that her son is rehabilitated  but they  are not happy. Grace Van Dahl (Melinda Clarke) then sends Sasha (Kaley Ronayne) up to seduce Oswald. 

Cobblepot is horrified and scrambles from underneath the young woman telling her to get a grip:

“Restrain yourself  woman. I’m practically your brother! What are you thinking?”

Comically, after Sasha fails, the brother Charles (Justin Mark) asks if he should try. Sasha replies that he should not bother as she believes that Cobblepot is “simple.” 

Harvey (Donal Logue) turns to Don Falcone (John Doman) for help getting Jim out of prison and the Van Dahl’s turn to poison to get rid of Elijah. 

Jim is attacked while the prisoners watch what looks to be Seven Brides for Seven Brothers  and “killed.” The one prison guard not on Grey’s payroll orders a body bag and they take Gordon out of the prison. He returns to save Puck who tells Jim once more that he is a hero.

Oswald learns of his father’s plan to leave him everything and the scheming Van Dahl’s manage to poison the eccentric Elijah.   Gordon meets with Don Falcone to thank him and when  Jim goes to check on Puck, the young man has died from his injuries.

Paul Reubens is brilliant as the sad, ill and odd Elijah Van Dahl.  The Pee Wee Herman creator proves once again that he really can act without the quirky character that he has outgrown.   Elijah may feel a bit like a rich Mr Rogers but the sick tycoon is grounded in his desire to make things up to just one of his “children.”

The death of Puck felt a bit like a Thunderbolt and Lightfoot ending, sans Jeff Bridges and the Cadillac, and that is perhaps the only letdown in the episode.

By the end of Gotham: Prisoners Gordon has gotten back up after being beaten down and Oswald looks to have lost his benefactor. On the ominous side, it looks like the death of Elijah may set Oswald back to his Penguin days and Don Falcone returning to the city may cause major problems for Butch and Tabitha.

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX.

 

 

Gotham: Mr Freeze – BD Wong and an Order of Fries (Review)

Gotham: Mr. Freeze brings Bruno Heller’s prequel-verse back with BD Wong and and order of fries…or two.

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Gotham: Mr. Freeze brings Bruno Heller’s prequel-verse back with BD Wong and and order of fries…or two.  Of course that means little if one has not seen the episode and watched Harvey Bullock lording it over Jim Gordon for mispronouncing Mr. Freeze’s real name.

Bullock: “Oh, uh, one more thing. What’s the correct pronunciation of your last name?”

Nora: “It’s Fries.”

Bullock: “Fries. Thank you.”

To Gordon (both smug and accusatory): “Told you.”

The storyline of Nora and Victor Fries is sad, tragic and horrific.  It is easy to feel a mixture of emotions when Victor heads to the pharmacy to get pills for his wife only to be met by the kind of pharmacist that deserves to be frozen into a giant douche-cicle.  One can  feel empathy for a man who cares desperately for his wife plus a certain satisfaction that the  nasty bloke at counter has no idea who he is dealing with really deserved his fate.

In the pharmacy scene Freeze, after throwing the medicine bottle at the pharmacist, quotes the Terminator:

“I’ll be back.”

Of course, just as James Cameron’s villain in the 1984 film does, Fries returns to dispense death. While not on the same scale  as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character does in the film, Mr. Freeze goes on to deliver his lethalness with extreme prejudice. He also mentions that his two victims can help to save his wife.

After Fries leaves the pharmacy with the frozen stiffs in the back of his blue van,  James Gordon and Harvey Bullock give chase.  Leaving the frozen “sidekick” in the middle of the road causes an accident. The two detectives smash into the corpse-cicle and while the main body smashes into lots of little pieces,  part of the deceased smashes into the windshield, giving new meaning to the phrase “heads up.”

Penguin is caught by Barnes and after being questioned by the chief, Cobblepot backs up Gordon’s version of events in relation to Galavan’s death.  Nygma promises to look after Oswald’s mother’s grave and the “King of Gotham” is escorted to Arkham Asylum.

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Cobblepot’s face says it all…

In terms of “yuck” factor Victor’s experiment with the one victim who horrifically melts into a running conglomeration of brownish-red fluid and bone wins as most visceral and disturbing death yet. Even more upsetting than a drunken Butch getting his arm chopped off by Cobblepot. Although, the poor inmate that claws his eyes out may be more horrific the sight is more gory than yucky.

Drew Powell’s drill-handed Butch, aka the new King of Gotham, and his pairing up with the beautiful but deadly Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas) is deliciously perfect, as was that imagery of his spinning drill with her knife forcing it slowly down.  

Just as perfect was BD Wong‘s pairing with Miss Peabody (played by Tonya Pinkins who is currently a much nicer character on another fantasy show) as was his pronouncement that Penguin suffers from megalomania and an “unhealthy” relationship with his mother. 

The big reveal was that Mr. Freeze’s experiment worked, at the end, and that Hugo Strange is rather surprised and a little displeased  that someone else got his failed cryogenics program to work.

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James Gordon (Ben McKenzie)

 

Observation of the Episode: 

In the scene where Jim Gordon waits anxiously for Chief Barnes to speak after questioning Oswald Cobblepot, McKenzie’s character looks incredibly like an older Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). Whether it is the expression on Gordon’s face or the framing of the shot, the grown man looks amazingly like Wayne. It makes one wonder if this were entirely coincidental…

Final Verdict:

A splendid start to the “back-end” of season two. Deliciously ironic, wry, tragic and, in the case of the Fries’ story, sweet. After all, who wouldn’t go around freezing total strangers if their wife was Kristen Hager and she could look like that while dying a horrid death.  Major kudos to BD Wong who is killing it as Dr. Hugo Strange and he’s not even wearing a dress. 

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in.

Gotham: Mommy’s Little Monster – Two Become One (Review)

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So, in Gotham’s latest episode, Mommy’s Little Monster, it turns out that Butch has indeed been cured and Nygma proves that two can become one, all it took was taking Ms. Kringle out of the equation. Before looking at the episode overall,  a short pause (and a tear or two) may be in order for poor old deluded Gertrude Kapelput (played by the legendary performer Carol Kane).  

Can there be a dry eye in the house after Penguin’s mother was reunited with her boy only to die at the hand of Tabitha Galavan? Speaking of Tabitha (Jessica Lucas), who’s a clever girl then? Not just a homicidal maniac with S&M tendencies and a gorgeous visage but someone well versed in breaking down brainwashed muscle, in the form of Butch (Drew Powell).

 Who knew?

Theo did and while he has a sister and a niece who “have his back,”  the trio have a bad habit of making enemies of all the wrong people. Silver St. Cloud (Natalie Alyn Lind) may brag to her uncle that Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) is wrapped around her little finger, but pissing off Selina Kyle, like Theo’s poorly thought out murder of Penguin’s mom, is going to bite someone in the butt sooner or later.

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This episode was the  highlight of Gotham’s second season. Butch almost getting whacked by Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) with Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock standing  the hitman, and his crew, off with giant machine-guns, hundreds of Penguin lookalikes attempting to create enough of a diversion that the real deal could kill Theo, Tabitha taking out another Strike Force team member with her high heel  and, last but not least, the transformation of Mr. Nygma into The Riddler.

Cory Michael Smith as Nygma gives a great performance that is not out of place  with the over the top theme and action of this episode.   Bruno Heller threw everything into this one. Selina and Silver “duking it out” (verbally) with Kyle losing round one by being too blunt with Bruce and that smug grin from St. Cloud, who clearly knows that Selina is watching…

A real “heart stopping” moment occurs when Dr. Thompkins enters her office to discover Nygma standing over the woman he murdered.  It does really look like Morena Baccarin as Leslie Thompkins was about to be checked out of the show. On a sidenote, the eyes of the deceased Kringle, were very impressive and disturbing;  opaque and blindly staring, younger viewers may just have nightmares…

Previous to finding the body, by following his  own “?” clues, Nygma’s  struggling to find Kris Kringle’s body,  that his “other half” hid,  was brilliantly done. All accompanied by some great music (Closer to the Bone by Louis Prima & Sam Butera & The Witnesses) The lady fingers gag in the vending machine was priceless. All of the events in the GCPD led to the split personality becoming one when The Riddler tells his other self some home truths.  By the time the end credits roll a new villain is born.

Jim Gordon proves, yet again, that he cannot be bought. While he and Harvey have to save the new mayor from Penguin, the first “crusader” declares war on Galavan. Gordon figures out what Butch did not say, that Theo killed poor old addled Gertrude and that the bit of information that  Oswald imparted before his escape means that Galavan is not a good guy after all.

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Selina upsets Bruce with her warning about Silver.

The two men are now adversaries and both men have made it clear that the gloves are now off. Gotham’s ending belongs to Nygma, however, and his transformation into The Riddler. The man has now become the truly insane murderer who will plague a grown Bruce Wayne later.

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in and join the OTT fun and chaos.