Saturday, 3 January 2015

Gotham Episode 10 Review 'Lovecraft'

An assault on Wayne Manor by professional assassins sends Bruce and Selina running to the depths of Gotham city to escape. Can Jim, Alfred and Harvey find them before the killers?

So this episode succeeds in every way that the previous one didn’t. Every element of the plot revolves around the escape of the children and those hunting them. The simplicity of the plot allows for the characters to have breathing room. This focus on character over weekly villain makes this one of the strongest episodes yet.

I feel sorry for Gotham in one respect. It’s fairly obvious that they have realised that the character of Jim Gordon is relatively weak in comparison to the other characters available. For that reason he is replaced as Bullock’s partner this week by Alfred. This new double act could easily be a spin off in itself with the scenes they share being the strongest of the episode, if not the series.

It is nice to see the character of Alfred being expanded and small nods being given to his pre butler past. Hopefully Alfred will get more opportunities to leave Wayne Manor and go on adventures with other members of the expanded cast. Pen-fred anyone?

Although not as dynamic, the pairing of Selina and Bruce also creates some nice moments. The difference between the two characters is established clearly and the seed has been planted for future encounters between the pair. I don’t find the burgeoning relationship between the two of them very convincing however. It is hard to play the highly sexualised relationship between Catwoman and Batman out correctly when it is being portrayed by young actors.

As usual the weakest element of the episode is the inevitable weekly rent-a-thug villains. The biggest issue with them is the chief female assassin. She is given enough personality to stand out but not enough to feel well defined. She comes across as comical, both in terms that she seems ridiculous and that she feels like she’s been ripped from a comic book. She strangles men to kill them or knock them out in a way very similar to Xenia Onatopp from Goldeneye, complete with humorous quip.

Gordon seems to have pretty bad and repetitive luck. He is again framed for a crime he didn’t commit and finds himself at the mercy of the government system. I appreciate that Gordon needs to be against the corrupt system but the more times the showrunners pull this trick, the less believable it will be. Gordon being forced to become an Arkham security guard is an interesting direction. Assuming they hold their nerve for a while this could create some interesting character moments. Although my suspicion is that it will be undone within a few episodes.

So Gotham once again took me to the point of not caring and brought me back again. Maybe they have a stack of good scripts and space them out amongst the rest? There certainly seems to be a pattern developing of bad scripts being immediately followed by considerably better ones. Hopefully a mid-season break will have given the show a bit of a rest by the time it returns and it will have a new lease of life. Oh well if all else fails we can have the adventures of Butch and Alfred I suppose.

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