Monday, 20 October 2014

Gotham Season 1 Episode 2 'Selina Kyle' Review

So this week in ‘Gotham’ homeless children are being snatched off the streets. They are being kidnapped for someone calling themselves The Dollmaker. It’s up to Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock to solve the case, with a little help from Catwoman. While this is going on, we see the ongoing adventures of Edward Cobblepot as he tries to rebuild his life from scratch.

So Episode 2 of ‘Gotham’ is a lot stronger than the opening episode. The tonal shift issues have been fixed, as have the awkward introductions of future villains and future parts of the Batman mythos. In this episode we are introduced to the concept of Arkham Asylum, which we are told has been closed for 15 years. We don’t see it however, but it has been set up for when we eventually will. The subtle introduction of The Dollmaker is also a nice touch, adding the beginnings of the insanity angle that runs throughout the world of Batman.

Jim Gordon has been made more relatable since the pilot episode. He now seems more willing to bend rules if they allow him to solve cases. That being said the police force has been made noticeably more corrupt in order to make him appear better by comparison. Generally speaking more nuances has been added to all the characters. Alfred seems more human and vulnerable as does the villainess Fish Mooney. Edward Cobblepot has been made noticeably more menacing; shades of the older penguin are being introduced in him. It’s a real credit to the writing and performance of Robin Lord Taylor that I am finding myself routing for his horrible depiction of the character.

The child kidnapping plot and general increase of violence shows that ‘Gotham’ is very squarely aiming for the older teen and up demographic. The violence is far more sudden and unexpected in episode 2. The first episode seemed to be using violence to try and shock the audience, episode 2 seems to want you to think it’s a part of the everyday world. ‘Gotham’ in general just seems to be more unpleasant this week, showing the world as it is without Batman.

Episode 2 shows a distinct improvement over the first as it seems more confident in itself. With the first episode being the pilot it was very clear that they were putting in as many Batman nods as possible to gain the full season. Now a commissioned program, Episode 2 feels confident to dictate its own pace. The emo Bruce Wayne stuff still isn’t working for me; neither is his blossoming May-December friendship with Gordon which seems like indulgent fan fiction. That being said the world outside of Bruce Wayne is being extended nicely and ‘Gotham’ seems to have plenty of interesting characters to fill it with.

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