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.

 

 

Gotham: Strike Force – Ruffling Penguin’s Feathers

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Last week in Gotham, Penguin watched the antics of Jerome (who is apparently deceased after Theo Galavan shoved a knife in his throat) from afar and is now embroiled with the soon to be only mayoral candidate of Gotham City.   After Galavan turned up the heat by terrifying the local citizenry of the city with his Maniax, and winning the hearts of the locals as the hero of the hour, he now wants to officially  run the city.

There is a new captain in town, who is running GCPD,  Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis chewing up great chunks of scenery as the ex-marine bent on straightening out the police department) and he makes Jim Gordon his second-in-command. This move may actually come back to plague the detective when the department moves against the ruffled Penguin.

The new “king of Gotham” has his feathers majorly ruffled  now that his dear mother (Carol Kanehas been kidnapped by Theo and his sister.  Cobblepot “Call me Penguin,” is being forced to kill off the mayoral race competition. This move by Galavan may spell the beginning of his effort to rule the city but it could also mean the beginning of his own end. Penguin is, if nothing else, excellent at scheming and getting his way, not to mention getting rid of his own competition.

The little crime lord (king) is going mad with rage and,  despite Butch’s attempts to find Gertrude, the final scene of Strike Force shows that Penguin is close to breaking point.  Taking his mother hostage and threatening the only woman in Oswald’s life that means anything to him, has left Theo in a bad position, he just does not realize it yet.

In terms of women and love, Nygma has finally made his move on Kristen Kringle.  It turns out that the demur Kringle loves a man who takes charge, like her old, and dead, boyfriend cop.  Nygma just has not really made that connection yet. While his more forceful personality suggested he “take” her,  which led to his ordering Kringle to have dinner with him. it remains to be seen if the more mild mannered Nygma “has what it takes” to keep the lady enthralled.

Love gets a slap in the face when Selina (Camren Bicondova) drops by the prep school to greet Bruce after his day has finished. Alfred smacks the criminally bent street urchin (“That was for Reggie.”) and then tells her that his charge will be better off without her hanging around.

Later, when Bruce takes Theo to dinner as a thank you gesture, the young millionaire meets Galavan’s niece Silver St. Cloud (Natalie Alyn Lind) and she looks set to replace Selina as potential love interest. (Especially since the character is a “recurring” squeeze of  Wayne’s in the DC verse.)   It is unclear at this point whether Silver shares her uncle’s interests in Gotham but it seems unlikely.

Oswald’s forced assassination of Claiborne, and his interaction with the Galavan’s  allows Butch (Drew Powellto shine in this episode. The two times  he stands out are firstly,  the scene where  Tabitha introduces herself to Penguin:

Tabitha: “My brother would very much like to talk to you…Alone.”

Butch: “Why you looking at me like that? You don’t know me.”

Penguin: “Relax, Butch. (to Tabitha)  He has issues. Bipolar.

Butch; (Explaining to his boss) She don’t know me, I’m just saying.”

The second “standout moment” for Butch is during the murder of Claiborne:

Butch: (Holding his arms around two volunteers) “Steady now, folks. Just think of blue skies and cornfields. That’s what I do.”

Female volunteer: ” Why are you doing this?”

Butch: (Sincerely) “Darling, I got no freaking idea. We’ve been doing crazy stuff all day long.

Later Butch consoles his boss and promises that they will find his mother, patting Penguin’s leg to comfort the tortured King of Gotham.  Gordon goes to confront the upset Cobblepot and gets threats from his “benefactor.”  While this is clearly not what James wants to hear, the truth of what Penguin says is clear.

When Captain Barnes learns of Gordon’s collusion with the criminal, things will not go well at all.

Barnes and Gordon go to the Gotham City Police Academy to recruit some special rookies for a special task force, aka Strike Force.  These new cops, untainted by any outside influence, will be used to clean up Gotham.  The “new kids” are good, they manage to stop Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) in his tracks, while he attempts to kill the remaining opposition candidate for mayor. 

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Selina given her marching orders from Alfred.

By the end of the episode Nygma has “got the girl” (another highlight of the episode was the future Riddler playing the David Lee Roth song Just a Gigolo while preparing his meal of love), Selina is not too happy with Alfred’s actions and Bruce seems to have a new infatuation at school. Jim Gordon is in a tight spot and Penguin is screaming out  his frustration and rage.

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX, tune in and revel in the DC darkness…

When a Stranger Calls (2006):Agonisingly Slow

Cover of "When a Stranger Calls"
Cover of When a Stranger Calls

I remember seeing the original of this film, the 1979 one with Carol Kane as part of one of those Drive-in Special features where you got three films for the price of one. Not too different from the $1.00 a car night where no matter how many hot and sweaty bodies you crammed in the car, it only cost a buck.

I say not too different because the concept was the same, you got two films that were kind of crap and one  “big” feature. If memory serves me correctly, the 1979 When a Stranger Calls was not the main feature, something else was and it wasn’t as good as the Carol Kane film, which scared the crap out of everyone in the car.

The whole premise came about because of an urban legend. I still remember it making the rounds ages before the film came out. It was, funnily enough a girl who was about 3 to 4 years younger than me (who had an embarrassing crush on me, if I’d only known how she was going to be when she grew up, I wouldn’t have been so embarrassed…I know, shallow; uh-huh) who was going to be doing her first professional baby sitting job.

We’d just finished messing around (With a Ouija board! Get your mind out of the  gutter!) when she relayed to me in a kind of breathless yet horrified way the story as she’d heard it.

“This girl? Well, she goes to baby sit these twin boys…or girls…I don’t remember which and she starts getting phone calls. Which she isn’t supposed to get cos she’s meant to be babysitting, right? So this guy keeps asking her if she’s checked the kids. So she keeps checking on them and when she gets tired of this whole rigamarole, she calls the cops. They then put a tracer on her phone and then they call her and say get out of the house! He’s upstairs!”

Incredibly, everyone believed this particular boogeyman story, as folks were just getting into having separate phone lines put in for their kids to have their own phones, so it sort of made sense. Of course it was easier in the days before the internet to spread those kind of urban myths because it was a lot harder to check up.

Presumably the film makers who decided to make the remake thought, quite rightly, that cell phones (or mobiles over  here) could facilitate the plot just as well.

Unfortunately the film moves at a snails pace and no one ever explained to the director that suspense that drags on too long becomes tedious and then boring. The addition of loveable Clark Gregg (aka Agent Coulson from S.H.I.E.L.D.) in a minute part as the babysitter’s pop, could not save this yawn fest from dragging on and on and on and on….

Camilla Belle is too stunningly attractive to be a real teenage babysitter in the real world and although her performance convinced me that she was about to have a major league panic attack or heart attack, the films agonisingly slow, almost backward, pace wouldn’t let me care.

So, as this is on Netflix right now (in the Uk anyway) and  if you’re having trouble sleeping, pop this puppy on and you’ll doze right off.

A 2 out of 5 stars only because. dammit, Belle is gorgeous and hey, it’s got Agent Coulson in it.

Phil Coulson
Phil Coulson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)