Over the past couple of episodes, Gotham has been taking small steps in the right direction and the upward streak continues in the latest hour.
Spirit of the Goat wisely seeks to attend to one of our most regular criticisms of the show – that we need to know more about the motivations and backstory of its key players. This week, that lucky character is Harvey Bullock, but while Gotham scores a win on that front, other problems are
still very evident.
It turns out that before Bullock was the slovenly, lackadaisical detective we all know and (occasionally) love, he was a tad more idealistic. The episode begins with a flashback to 10 years ago, and sees Bullock and his then
partner Detective Dix (Dan Hedaya) encounter Randall Mike, a serial killer who believes he’s possessed by the spirit of the goat. It’s just as ridiculous as it sounds, but it serves its purpose in rousing present-day Bullock into action when bodies start turning up with the same M.O..
It’s the most detective-like Bullock has been so far, and his character is all the better for it. For all the unneeded gimmickry, the case of the week is actually suitably unpredictable too. When the culprit is found, however, things are wrapped up far too quickly.
As great as Bullock’s arc is this week, Gotham’s flaws are still all too glaring. Edward Nygma has never really clicked for us, and his extended screen time in this episode is grating. Either we’re getting constant Riddler foreshadowing, or we’re privy to scenes of him trying to flirt with a co-worker, which feel like they’re from a completely different show. At this point, it’s fair to say that Gotham is struggling to find an interesting way to use him. The same can be said
of Selina Kyle, who reappears in this episode to… sneak into Bruce Wayne’s house? Both characters could have quite happily been removed from this hour with little consequence.
Another meandering subplot at work this week is Detectives Montoya and Allen’s quest to pin Gordon with the murder of Oswald Cobblepot (even though our Penguin-to-be has been alive and going about his business for the past few weeks now). Going forward, Gotham will need to find a better use for these characters.
With all that said, Spirit of the Goat has the best ending to a Gotham episode yet, and the shake-up it promises has us, for the first time, eager to tune in next week.
Gotham is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.
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