Netflix UK TV review: Gotham Episode 9 (Harvey Dent)
Case of the week7
Introducing… Harvey Two-Face5
Amon Warmann | On 08, Dec 2014
Last week’s hour of Gotham saw some positive repercussions from Gordon’s stand against the mob two weeks prior; Detectives Allen and Montoya joined Team Gordon, and even Captain Essen and Harvey Bullock found the good within themselves. In Harvey Dent, Gotham gives the good guys another significant boost, as the idealistic lawyer joins Gordon’s ever-expanding squad.
It’s strange and irritating that just like Gotham’s other named episode, Selina Kyle, the eponymous character isn’t focused on as much as you might expect. What we do get from our title character is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it’s nice to have Dent in the Gotham universe, and some of the interplay between Harvey and Gordon, as the two young crusaders get a better sense of how they each operate, are effectively played. Even though we don’t get to see much of him here, Nicholas D’Agosto seems a good fit for the role, too, and he and McKenzie have solid chemistry.
As so often happens on Gotham, though, where the character has already run into problems is with its foreshadow-heavy writing. In almost every scene featuring Harvey there’s an unsubtle hint that Dent will eventually become iconic Batman villain Two-Face, whether it’s a flip of a two-headed coin or a sudden outburst. There’s simply no need for this much winking this early. It’s unnecessary and irritating, but it’s sadly unsurprising. This has now become par for the course for the show. Considering that Gotham doesn’t do the greatest job at managing its huge ensemble at present, we also worry about how often and how effectively they can use Dent going forward.
Unexpectedly, this episode’s strongest scenes are between young Bruce and young Selina Kyle, the latter of whom is now in protective custody at Wayne Manor. There are elements of this burgeoning relationship that feel saccharine – this is especially true in the hour’s final minutes – but the interactions between the young Bat and Cat grow on you throughout the episode. In this regard, this is the best material Camren Bicondova has been given so far, and this is easily her most effective performance to date.
While the case that Gordon and Bullock are working involving a bomber with a mental illness is a decent, if ultimately forgettable one, it means that we get less of Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin. Still, the handful of scenes he features in are as typically entertaining as ever, and the ongoing battle for mob supremacy gathers some nice momentum ahead of next week’s mid-season finale. Elsewhere, however, Barbara’s arc incredibly takes yet another turn for the worse – at this point, we doubt many would complain if she left the show.
Harvey Dent isn’t as strong as the previous two weeks of Gotham, but, on the plus side, it does allow Selina ‘Cat’ Kyle to be likeable again. And that’s no mean feat.
Gotham is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.