Netflix UK TV review: Gotham Episode 13
Weird Gotham romances7
Gordon vs. Flass8
Return of Brufred8
Amon Warmann | On 01, Apr 2015
“You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain”. Although we already know the ultimate fate that awaits Jim Gordon, that memorable piece of dialogue from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight definitely applies to our newly reinstated detective in Gotham’s 13th hour, as he finds himself in a moral quandary, while trying to root out corruption in the GCPD. We’ve seen Gotham utilise this particular plot beat before, but Welcome Back, Jim Gordon still manages to satisfy because of its sound execution.
The episode introduces us to Arnold Flass, a DC character first seen in Frank Miller’s iconic Batman: Year One. Dash Mihok does a solid job portraying the sleazy detective, who also serves as an interesting (if a little on-the-nose) parallel into what Jim might become, as Gordon’s deal with Penguin yielded mixed results. To that end, the final moments of the hour really resonate well, with a climax much stronger than the previous episode, and Mckenzie’s acting shines. Here’s hoping that the writers build on this potentially fruitful thread.
As engaging as the main plot is, it highlights a flaw in Gotham’s foundation. There are a number of years between present day Gotham and the rise of Batman, but the GCPD is already so corrupt that cops can murder witnesses within their HQ and no one besides Gordon will kick up much of a fuss. Similar can be said of the episode when Victor Zsasz cleared a whole precinct full of cops. Detectives Montoya and Allen haven’t been seen for a while now – yet another example of Gotham’s poor juggling act – and Captain Essen always seems to need a little prodding before becoming fully involved, which leaves Jim (and sometimes Bullock) as the only one fighting the good fight. In this regard, a time jump could really do wonders for the show’s future.
We finally get the return of Bruce and Alfred in this episode, who were apparently hiding out in Switzerland when they were off screen. We’ve commented before on how the relationship between the two needs more screen time, not only for the importance in the Batman mythos but for the great chemistry between Sean Pertwee and David Masouz. Indeed, Brufred has been one of Gotham’s more consistently good plot threads, and that proves to be the case again.
The rest of the screen time in this episode is more or less devoted to the plight of Fish Mooney, and it is far too rushed. We mentioned in our previous review how we were looking forward to seeing how Falcone deals with Fish, but she escapes her pending torture by Bob (a wasted Michael Eklund) in no time at all, thanks to Butch. Speaking of, we are left scratching our heads as to how Butch escapes his own predicament – that scene is awkwardly staged. The apparent Bullock and Fish romance also feels especially abrupt.
If some of Gotham’s arcs are accelerating too quickly, though, at least they’re accelerating. Bruce, Fish and Gordon are all left in promising situations at episode’s end, and hopefully Gotham can fulfill that narrative potential going forward.
Gotham is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.