If you’ve been following these reviews, you’ll know that we’ve had our qualms with Gotham during its first batch of episodes. Indeed, some of the problems we mentioned in Episode 1 still apply to Episode 10, with this week’s dose of heavy-handed foreshadowing taking the form of young Bruce’s first leaps off rooftops. Thankfully, the mid-season finale is, by and large, a strong hour of Gotham to leave 2014 on – and it’s spurred on by one glorious, indisputable fact…
Alfred Pennyworth is a bad-ass.
Along with Robin Lord Taylor, Sean Pertwee has arguably been Gotham’s most consistent performer, and his chemistry with David Masouz – who seems to get better each episode – has meant that the crucial relationship between Alfred and Bruce has seen some effective development in small quantities. Here, with Bruce and Cat forced to flee Wayne Mansion when assassins come looking for Selina, the character gets his most generous amount of screen time yet. It’s an absolute joy to watch Alfred interrogate thugs and take out assassins – the character has had a military background in the past – and our butler even manages to charm Fish Mooney when Bullock comes up short. All in all, it’s a great showcase for Alfred, and his scenes are easily the highlight of the episode.
This storyline also allows for more of a focus on the Bruce-Selina dynamic. For the second episode in a row, it works pretty well. Not only is it great to see Masouz in an environment other than the claustrophobic Wayne Manor set, the camaraderie between the young Bat and Cat is even cuter and more charming than last week. While the two young teens are on the lam, they also run into Lil’ Poison Ivy. On paper that may sound like a cool moment, but it’s yet another superfluous nod in a series that’s made a habit out of them.
As we all know by now, if an episode of Gotham is named after a character – in this case, Lovecraft – said character doesn’t get much screen time. Indeed, even Gordon feels somewhat marginalised this week, as he uncovered Dent’s untrustworthiness and fails to stop a hit on Lovecraft. It’s not the first time this has happened too – an interesting observation, when you consider that Gotham was first billed as a Jim Gordon origin story.
On the mob side of things, John Doman continues to do excellent work as Carmine Falcone, somewhat rattled after losing his fortune. A lunch scene with the other mob bosses in particular is a standout, and it’s also been notable in the last few weeks how much better Jada Pinkett Smith is when Fish is toned down (The answer: lots.)
It’s a little disappointing that after 10 episodes Gotham, still feels like it’s trying to figure itself out, and the show has definitely struggled from a lack of consistency. However, with the mob war constantly heating up and Gordon in a different environment, there’s enough to keep us intrigued about what happens next.
Gotham is available on Netflix UK, as part of a £7.49 monthly subscription.
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