Friday, 23 January 2015

Gotham Episode 12 'What the Little Bird Told Him’ Review

With the escape of two inmates from Arkham Asylum, James Gordon finds himself working with the Gotham police force again to track them down. Meanwhile Fish Mooney finally makes her move against Falcone, will she be successful and become the new Don?

Within seconds of this episode opening you can tell it is going to be better than most. ‘Gotham’ seems to sort its budget for the season based on the quality of the scripts. ‘What the Little Bird Told Him’ looks better, sounds better and just generally feels higher budget than most episodes seem.

So Jack Gruber or ‘The Electrocutioner’ as the press dub him is about as generic a villain as they come. He spends a lot of time saying text book crazy things which get pretty boring, not crazy, when they are said by every psychopath who has ever been in media. The craziness of Jack is hard to understand also as the episode makes an effort to point out that he forged his records in order to sneak into Arkham Asylum, for an easy escape compared to prison. Half of the episode makes a point of showing that Jack is insane while the other half explains that he was only pretending; this is weird. We get one bridging scene that suggests that being in Arkham made him crazy but this doesn’t really work. He works overall as a credible threat but he feels very generic for a Batman villain.

This episode thankfully focuses primarily on Falcone and Mooney. We get a flashback to Don Falcone as a child and follow his thoughts about his life throughout the episode. It’s nice when 'Gotham' remembers it is meant to be about the criminal side of Gotham City. Seeing why a man chooses to commit a crime is far more interesting than seeing why a man prevents crimes.
The battle of Falcone and Mooney is garnished brilliantly, once again, by Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin. Much like last week’s scenes with Butch and his friend, we are unsure of how the battle will play out until the final moments.

This episode does have a few loose ends which feel pointless however. We get a scene with Barbara meeting her parents and several scenes featuring Maroni which add nothing really. As usual ‘Gotham’ got distracted by the size of its cast and chose to feature more than was wise. I appreciate these scenes might pay off later but I can’t help but feel that the exposition stored within them could have been handled better in another manner.

So ‘What the Little Bird Told Him’ deals with quite a lot of loose threads and does so reasonably well. I still wish that ‘Gotham’ would have the nerve to stop the, seemingly fixed, weekly villain staple. 'Gotham' is stuck between wanting to be a criminal police drama and wanting to appease the Batman fanbase by giving them costumed psychopaths. As usual the weekly villain undermines what would have been an incredible episode. That being said this episode of ‘Gotham’ is still considerably better than most weeks and it shows that ‘Gotham’ has still got it, even if it only really has it occasionally.  

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