Fox‘s Gotham Spirit of the Goat TV Show Review. Gotham: Season 1, Episode 6: Spirit of the Goat is almost entirely filler, but fun filler. For all intents and purposes a Halloween special, this episode mostly returned the titular city of myth to what many fans consider its rightful place; night-time. Gotham has actually done an admirable job breaking that mold, with constant day scenes serving well to illuminate the extensive grunge, litter and decay throughout the city that would otherwise be lost in the shadows, and it arguably works better for what is more a cynical cop series than a horror show. Still, this time the series moves closer to horror mode, and the frequent darkness isn’t the only thing lending atmosphere to its story of occultist serial killers. There are odd angles making dangerous environments look larger and more alien, as well as point-of-view shots that cement the impression of the killers stalking their victims and the cops, and the dark, horned masks worn by these killers make them scarier than their arguably silly namesake would suggest.
From a plot perspective, the most interesting thing about this all is that it essentially stars Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) as the primary (anti)hero. It turns out that Bullock has some deep reasons for having the cynical attitude he’s become infamous for, and an opening flashback reveals that ten years ago, he was more of the eager, idealistic cop that Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is now. Back then Harvey Bullock, teamed with Detective Dix (Dan Hedaya), was tasked with bringing down the Spirit of the Goat, hopefully before he slayed his victim, and as such rushed in with such heroic vigor that Dix had no choice but to follow, and was injured in the process. Bullock does manage to bag the killer, whose real name is Randall Milkie (Christopher James Baker)–in retrospect, maybe “Spirit of the Goat” isn’t such an unscary name after all–but he couldn’t save his victim, and the harm he caused to Detective Dix haunts him to this day, and lends a much-needed sense of altruism to his cautioning Gordon not to follow his heart all the time.
Still, when an apparent copy-cat killer revives the Spirit of the Goat’s modus operandi, Bullock is left with no choice but to confront his demons head-on, especially since Gordon is getting into hot water with Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) and Crispus Allen (Andrew Stewart-Jones), who now are certain he killed Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor). Meanwhile, Cobblepot himself visits his mother (Carol Kane) and manages to get along with her, in a rare moment of gentility. Strangely enough, for once it is his story, so tied to the bigger picture, that seems like the unwelcome interruption, as the only real development from this meeting is that his mother knows he’s alive; something that could easily befit in with more brevity elsewhere. Also present are scenes where Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) harasses a female co-worker; not necessarily sexually. It probably is foreshadowing of something big, as Selina’s debut in the first episode turned out to be, but here it just feels like an awkward time-waster. Meanwhile, the bit about the ruminant-themed serial killer seemed like it could thrive on more attention than it got.
As it stands, Bullock’s quest to apprehend the new ‘Goat has to settle for having a few well-done scenes; fun to watch but too short and few to build much suspense, and with only an hour to work with (less factoring in commercials), what’s going on becomes pretty predictable in just a short amount of time. At that point, though, the bits of the episode related to the continuing story arc do start to get interesting, and by all indications, things truly are about to explode.
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