To be perfectly frank, these reviews are becoming somewhat tedious to write, because I feel the need to restate the same old gripe constantly; this series has too many plot threads it’s trying to squeeze into episodes at once, and that means taking up time with scenes that provide essential exposition, but can never be long enough to be entertaining, because they need to save time for other scenes that provide exposition, but can never be long enough to be entertaining, because–you get the point.
That’s a shame, because many of the elements on display here could be interesting if given more time, but as it stands, they barely even make sense. One example is the plight of Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith); the nature of her captors as organ farmers is revealed abruptly, their thugs thrown in to talk about a boss who is never seen. The good part of these bits is that Fish establishes herself in the dungeon as a charismatic and crafty, albeit ruthless leader who begins to organize her fellow prisoners against their captors. This is compelling enough, but it’s a side of her we’ve already seen; it still seems like Fish deserves an intense fight scene that she hasn’t gotten yet.
Meanwhile, Detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) takes his new girlfriend Dr. Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) on a date to the circus, where tensions are running high with two families of acrobats pursuing a long-standing feud, and a woman turns up dead. The draw to this episode is that brings in well-known Batman characters, The Flying Graysons (sans Dick, at this point), and The Joker; real name Jerome. (Cameron Monahan) Curiously, this episode seems to treat him as a surprise; a low-key, morose figure who only shows his true (and iconic) colors after many red herrings are pursued first, but the trailer completely outed him as being the Joker, meaning that what might have been a shock instead comes off as too-little-too-late, while time was wasted on another detective investigation that, like many in this series, may well have no ramifications ever again.
Indeed, because of the jumping narrative sucking time from a detective story that already has too many red herrings, it’s almost impossible to follow along with Gordon’s investigation. The writers created a historical conflict that fails to compel when measured against a mythology we’ve seen emerging over fifteen episodes, and the titular Blind Fortune Teller, Paul Cicero (Mark Margolis) gets very little time attempting to deceive Gordon before he sees through him and Jerome.
As for Monahan’s Joker performance, it’s pretty impressive; probably bearing more resemblance to Jack Nickolson‘s version than any other in the past, but with more emotional variety. Sadly, he spends too much time feigning innocence; ie, not acting like the Joker. Granted, the Joker feigning depressed innocence isn’t without precedent; having figured prominently in Harley Quinn’s origin story…but that’s Harley Quinn‘s origin story; we expect Joker to ham it up when he’s more central to a story, and after the trailer teased him being so, it’s underwhelming that we only get a tiny slice of his potential. Fortunately, Jerome will be back next week, so there’s hope of better things to come.
If only there were reasonable expectations…
Leave your thoughts on this review and this episode of Gotham below in the comments section. For more Gotham reviews, photos, videos, and information, visit our Gotham Page, our Gotham Google+ Page, our TV Show Review Facebook Page, subscribe to us by Email, “follow” us on Twitter, Tumblr, or “like” us on Facebook.