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