Fox‘s Gotham Scarification TV Show Review. Gotham: Season 1, Episode 5: Scarification stays the course established throughout this season, but with less punch. As established before, Theo Galavan (James Frain) has fooled almost
everyone in Gotham into thinking he’s their savior, but isn’t taking any chances in his mayoral election, so he’s enlisted Oswald “The Penguin” Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) and his gang to kill off rival candidates. While Galavan and Penguin are beginning to reach a grudging business relationship, things are getting tougher; in addition to Galavan still blackmailing Penguin by threatening his captured mother’s life, GCPD’s no-nonsense new captain, Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis) is leading his new strike force, including Detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) on assault against his criminal assets.
Spread thin, Penguin sends Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell) and Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) to recruit old friends of (the possibly late, possibly not) Fish Mooney for an arson job. These are the Pike Bros, Joe (Leo Fitzpatrick), Evan (Noah Robbins) and Cale (Ari McKay Wilford); plus sole sister and arsonist-in-training, Bridgit (Michelle Veintimilla). These pyros and the GCPD each go on rampages, eventually on a collision course with each other.
The series’ visual direction continues to be commendable, with the skyline of Gotham (it’s actually Brooklyn with color tints and and some buildings edited in digitally) truly looks like a major American metropolis in an alternate timeline where America still has a blue-collar industrial sector, and Penguin’s lair continues to be an ambiently dark and aristocratic treat for the eyes, and nicely juxtaposed to a villain who, against the trope, isn’t living it up or cackling, but rather in full emotional breakdown. Meanwhile, the season still admirably avoids villains-of-the-week.
However, this episode lapses back into the subplot -stew trap that has become all-too common in Season 1; it’s not that Penguin’s struggle to maintain power, Gordon’s desperate attempt to maintain his clean reputation, the new female Firefly, or even the progressing insanity of Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) lack potential interest to viewers, but when so many of these points are stressed in one episode, they all get marginalized and uninteresting. Hopefully next week, the series returns to keeping a good thing going.
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