Gotham: The Son of Gotham – Cliffhanger (Review)

Gotham: The Son of Gotham, apart from its cliffhanger type ending, feels almost like a “coming of age” episode.

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Gotham: The Son of Gotham, apart from its cliffhanger type ending, feels almost like a “coming of age” episode where young Bruce Wayne learns about deception from Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) and Silver St Cloud (Natalie Alyn Lind). In many ways, with all those dangling plot threads, this would have been a brilliant mid-season finale.  With so many main characters in peril, along with the suggestion of looming death to a couple, it will be hard to wait for a week to see what has happened to who. 

By the time the end credits roll: Bruce is surprised by a gloating Galavan, Alfred is missing after having his clock cleaned pretty thoroughly by a shaken Tabby, Penguin saves a beaten and bloody Jim Gordon only to begin beating the semiconscious cop to learn the whereabouts of Theo.

It has to be said, Theo and Tabby have turned out to be very hard on the honest denizens of Gotham. While sis got a surprise when the butler turned out to be an almost deadly handful, it was Gordon who got the biggest jolt when her brother almost effortlessly beat the detective to a pulp.

Another revelation in Son of Gotham is that Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis) is actually a bit of a neanderthal.  An anachronism who may want to “clean up the city” but who is ultimately ill equipped to do so. Granted it has been shown that the man has an old fashioned approach but his snide remarks at Gordon’s rather impressive vocabulary, speaks volumes about the new captain’s intelligence level and attitude.

The monks of St Dumas have moved to the fore and started their campaign to clean up the city aka, reek vengeance for Theo.  It is interesting to note that the numbers of their sacrifices are made up of the criminal fraternity rather than the city’s hierarchy.  This episode had some very pleasing stand out moments.

Bruce’s playing of Theo’s littlest player, Silver was brilliant. Guest star Tommy Flanagan (Gladiator, Sin City) was spot on as the menacing thug, named Tom,  who threatens to cut off fingers until he learns what Wayne wants to know. This whole piece was perfect as throughout the entire interaction, the viewer keeps trying to figure out who really hired Tom to slice and dice his victims.

The reveal, that  the knife wielding threat was paid by Wayne and is an associate of Selina’s was priceless. As the crocodile tears dried on Silver’s face, Kyle repays St Cloud for her nastiness earlier in the season.  The scene also shows young Bruce Wayne taking those first steps to becoming the flawed hero later when he is older and more capable of fighting the criminals of Gotham.

The battle between Alfred (Sean Pertwee) and Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) was impressively choreographed and highlighted the more pragmatic, and brutal, Pennyworth who is able to dish out the punishment to those who jeopardize his charge regardless of race, creed or gender. Unfortunately despite marking Galavan’s sister, she ultimately gains the upper hand as Alfred has underestimated his opponent’s madness and homicidal capabilities. 

On a sidenote, Alfred continues to underestimate Bruce (David Mazouz) and his abilities.  Although this most likely has more to do with his not understanding the boy’s deep issues and need for revenge. 

In terms of amusement, the uneasy alliance between Penguin and Nygma continues to provide chuckles although Nygma’s scene with Dr Thompkins was suitably tense. Jim Gordon’s girlfriend is unable to sense the madness beneath Nygma’s barely controlled facade and it makes for a suspenseful interaction between the future Riddler and GCPD’s M.E.

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Silver shows her inner Cyndi Lauper and shows her “True Colors.”

The wounded monk scene managed to give enough information to Gordon to worry him and this was followed by Alfred bitting off more than he could chew.

*Sidenote* Alfred, as played by Sean Pertwee, is a delight. Unfortunately, since Pertwee has made career out of dying, usually in quite horrific ways, on screen, the sight of the actor laying in the back of a garbage truck with a knife in his back and bleeding from other Tabby induced wounds, was disturbing.  Sure, Alfred Pennyworth is a major character, but as Bruno Heller tends to play rather loosely with the Gotham verse, one can easily imaging this “Alfred” dying and Bruce hiring an English replacement with the proviso that the new butler also be called Alfred Pennyworth. Wayne is, after all, a Billionaire with a few screws maligned after this parents murder. Only more episodes will reveal whether Pertwee manages to live after his encounter with Ms. Galavan.

The bit where Theo does his “super-villain” speech, revealing what his plans are, who he really is, yada, yada, works well.  While it is a bit cliched and stereotypical, as well as overly obvious as a bit of necessary exposition, it is acceptable.

In the business of the Penguin and Nygma/Riddler “partnership” a less obvious act looks to set up some major discord between the two villains.  Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) has serious issues with Nygma’s keeping Kris Kringle’s specs. Later, when Cobblepot learns that Theo Galavan has been released, the “King of Gotham” crushes the late Ms. Kringle’s glasses with a convulsive clenching of his fist. 

Oops. This may prove to be the undoing of the new partnership as Edward has proven that his “crazy” is much more potent that Oswald’s.

It is now apparent that “The Son of Gotham” is Bruce Wayne and with Alfred “out of the picture,” Jim Gordon beaten to a bloody mess and Galavan with the upper hand, the future Batman is going to have an interesting next few episodes.  In the meantime, viewers may want to prepare for the “death” of this Alfred…

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Alfred (Sean Pertwee) fleeing the deadly Tabby…

Gotham airs Mondays on Fox. Tune in and catch up.

Gotham: Scarification – Firefly Gets a Gender Change

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Gotham: Scarification features a gender changed Firefly, taking a page from Marvel’s decisions to change up the guys and gals with a female Thor…Of course the televised version of the DC verse sans a grown up Bruce Wayne and a Jim Gordon who is considerably younger than, say, Gary Oldman’s police commissioner has given viewers a number of origin scenarios.

That said, not all origin tales are true or meant to be taken literally. Just as The Joker was introduced via Jerome Valeska and Heller just yanked the future jokester with the big grin right out of the equation. Granted, it was an effective way to show just how far new character, in the television verse of Gotham, Theo Galavan was prepared to go in his quest for revenge.

Now seems a good moment to discuss Theo and sister Tabitha (Jessica Lucas as sis just kills it, that great combination of sexy sultry vixen with deadly psychopathic killer tendencies is an epic win.)  These two had some brilliant interactions in this episode.

Tabitha  complaining that  she was bored, and brother dear retorting that she has plenty to do. A parent chiding a child who complains that they have nothing to do. In the same scene, after she complains that Kean sleeps too long is is “crazy” Theo takes off his “daddy” hat and protests that the crazy bit is what makes Kean so much fun.

Most telling is when the audience is spared the sight of Tabitha taking Bunderslaw’s eye but Theo watches it all and the “master criminal” looks decidedly ill.

Thus far, all of the good guys are boring, most probably because they are not Batman; with his long list of issues including the murder of his parents that will not reach fruition till the young “Master Bruce” grows up.  Alfred is there to provide a bit of color and break a few heads (and slap a young Cat Woman, aka Selina Kyle).

Back to the Scarification episode, the Penguin is losing his grip on whatever passes for normal in his “I’m the King of Gotham” brain. After meeting the expository antique queen, Edwige the “bird man” (great line from Tabitha) decides that the Dumas tale of Wayne ancestors chopping off the hand of a transgressing Dumas relative,  Penguin opts to chop off Butch’s hand.

*Sidenote* The punishment of removing the hand of Caleb does make one wonder what sort of “illicit” embrace the two were caught in? Where was Caleb’s hand?  Celestine was not telling anyone but…the fact that she died an “old maid” spinster speaks volumes…

One note of complaint has to be played here. The flashback was odd to say the least. With all the participants in the sepia memory having some pretty “punk” version of old fashioned hairstyles. Considering that these “mod” do’s needed styling wax, someone made a boo-boo here. Just saying.

Still, this is Gotham. The only place in the world where one can buy weapons and all things connected to murder and mayhem in a giant Home Depot type of store, The Merc.   While this was amusing, the gag about the Firefly “brother” exploding when Gordon shoots him was funnier, albeit a cinematic joke that has been almost, pardon the pun, done to death.

The newly formed GCPD Strike Force suffers its first fatality, Luke Garrett, much to the consternation of Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis) who vows to make the “cop killer” who killed his man pay.

Jim Gordon proves that his ability to read people is way off when he offers to support Theo Galavan for mayor.  The mayoral candidate and former Dumas gets a visit from Father Creel, a robed figure who is obviously from the punishment cult that the old Dumas transgressor, aka that young man who could not keep his hand to himself (Boom Boom), Caleb, was banished to.

It now appears that the old chap in the robe is promising a legion of more old chaps in robes who are about to lay waste to Gotham. (Fair enough, these traveling monks may not all be old, but that was the vision that sprang to mind when watching the end of Scarification.)

The change of Firefly to domestically abused gal pal of Selina Kyle is interesting as a sort of skewed Cinderella tale sans mice and the further Cat Woman as Fairy Godmother. The main difference being that Bridgit Pike (Michelle Veintimilla) makes ashes and does not sweep them. 

Still, as those who take Gotham far too seriously would point out, in this Batman-less verse this is Bruno Heller’s vision and not necessarily a mirror image of DC’s Gotham.   In Bruno’s world, if you are a good guy, it essentially “sucks to be you.” The villains all have a lot of fun, get the best lines and have access to the prettiest women…except for Ben McKenzie’s gal on, and off, the show Morena Baccarin

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Thinking about it, Jim Gordon had access to Barbara Kean as well, and crazy or not, this sleeping beauty is lovely to look at but, after the evil Jason Lennon got done with her,  dangerous to hold. After the “death” of Jerome, whom I am still hoping pops up like an evil “clown” from a kid’s crank toy, it seems the best way to take Gotham is with a huge grain of salt. Blood pressure be damned.

This verse is all pre-pre-Batman. With origins to be played with and varied up until  Heller’s verse only faintly resembles the real DC tales of this darker than dark city called Gotham. The series airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in and enjoy the alternative version of a DC favorite.

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…

American Horror Story: Freak Show Just Got Really Freaky (Review)

American Horror Story: Freak Show Just Got Really Freaky (Review)

American Horror Story: Freak Show just got really freaky, with its latest episode, titled very appropriately Tupperware Party Massacre, and heads off into the stratosphere exceeding all prior bounds of oddities in the season thus far. Dandy Mott making his own “mother puppet” which is in reality his own Dot and Bette puppet, after killing the Avon lady started the show off properly, setting the murderous tone for the rest of the show. *And on a sidenote, how many viewers can remember when the Avon ladies used to come to the front door and those adverts on the telly, “Avon Calling.” Ah the nostalgia…*

American Horror Story Freak Show: Criminal and Farewell to the Geek

American Horror Story Freak Show: Criminal and Farewell to the Geek

In American Horror Story this week, the twins perform, with Dot knocking it out of the park with Fiona Apple’s Criminal, and it is farewell to the Geek who the new strong man sets up to take the fall for the missing detective that “lobster boy” and co got rid of in last week’s season premiere. The show also takes the masks off, Elsa shows how she really feels about her new headline act and the clown’s big grin is knocked askew by one of this captors and what is underneath those huge gnashers is terrifying in the extreme.