Last week’s episode of Gotham was arguably one of the worst hours of the season, so it’s especially heartening that it returns with a solid effort. From Scarecrow to The Joker, the last few episodes have focused on big-name villains in Batman lore. Red Hood is another one of those characters, but because it downplays the correlation between the infamous moniker and The Joker – and, in doing so, detours from the comics – the writers get more freedom to craft a story that can work on its own, without the need for incessant teasing.
For the uninitiated, Red Hood was The Joker’s costume of choice before he became The Joker. In Gotham’s 17th hour, it’s been smartly re-imagined as a sign of power and leadership for a group of bank robbers, each of whom grow jealous of the hood’s wearer and attempt to steal the item for themselves. Despite the customarily slapdash police work it makes for a surprisingly compelling and entertaining villain-of-the-week plot, and it also ties in to the larger theme of the significance of masks as symbols. It’s not as elegant as it could be, but it just about resonates, and it’s one of Gotham’s best uses of the Batman mythos to date.
The other main storyline this week concerns Alfred and the re-emergence of his old friend, Reggie Payne (an excellent David O’Hara). Any opportunity to learn more about this take on the character is most welcome. Although what is revealed isn’t too specific, it’s still interesting to see our favourite butler act in a slightly different manner to what we’ve become accustomed to. As they have done for the majority of the season, Sean Pertwee and David Masouz produce efficient and effective work here, and the twist at the end is suitably shocking. Here’s hoping that the Wayne Enterprises conflict is given more screen time from here on out – with the mob war having lost one of its key players, it’s become Gotham’s most intriguing subplot.
Thankfully, the aforementioned A and B plots overshadow Gotham’s weaker threads, specifically Barbara – who is still hanging out with Selina and Ivy and giving them creepy fashion advice – and Fish, who scoops out her own eye for reasons that still don’t make sense to us. For all its wackiness, we can at least say that Gotham is never boring.
Gotham is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.
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