Gotham‘s pilot began with the genesis of every version of the Batman backstory: The murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne–Bruce’s parents. As the killing was investigated, we were introduced to the series’ main characters (check out Brandon Marcus‘ superlative review of the Gotham Pilot if you need a refresher).
Episode 2 of the show’s freshman season is entitled, “Selina Kyle”, and–as one would expect–offers further insight into the girl who would be Catwoman (Camren Bicondova). Ms. Kyle didn’t have much to do in the Pilot save for perching on statues and fire escapes–watching the goings on in Gotham almost as though she too was a member of the show’s audience.
In tonight’s ep, Selina, who prefers to be called “Cat” (go figure), takes center stage when she helps uncover a child trafficking ring preying on street kids run by veteran character actors Frank Whaley and Lili Taylor. Whaley is best known for being the poor, doomed bastard Sam Jackson recites Ezekiel 25:17 to in Pulp Fiction–Taylor is one of those actors who has been IN everything, yet starred in nothing….honestly, I’ve seen her a dozen times before, but I couldn’t name a character she played to save my life.
Apparently, these two were collecting homeless children at the behest of The Dollmaker–a DC Comics baddie who’s popped up on Arrow occasionally. Not that there’s any connection–even if this WERE the same version of the DC Universe as Arrow, Gotham would be taking place decades in the past….
With Constantine coming to NBC, Supergirl soon to be on CBS, and Flash joining Arrow on CW, that will bring us to a total of 5 DC based shows–and only two are on the same network and have any crossover potential. Odds are, we’re going to be seeing different iterations of quite a few of the same characters.
Meanwhile, Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) is still trying to come to terms with the fact that his new partner, future Police Commissioner James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), isn’t yet as miserable and misanthropic as he should be…But they’re working together better now than they did in the pilot, mainly because Bullock believes that Gordon killed Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor)–an “initiation” of sorts intended to prove Gordon as depraved and vicious as the rest of the GCPD.
Of course, you don’t need to have seen last week’s show to realize that this didn’t happen: The Proto-Penguin is alive and flapping. He hitched a ride with a couple of frat boys, murdered one, and tried to hold the other for ransom (the kid’s mom wouldn’t believe him….tough luck there).
Fish Mooney (the utterly fabulous Jada Pinkett-Smith), Oswald’s former employer, is having something of a rough day. Her boss, head of Gotham’s organized crime Carmine Falcone, showed up at her nightclub to discuss the disturbing (and very true) accusations Cobblepot brought to the Don’s attention before his “death”. Falcone had Fish’s new boy beaten to a pulp as a warning, and a reminder of who’s in charge.
But there’s more!
Alfred (Sean Pertwee) is worried about his young charge, Master Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz): The traumatized heir continues to attempt to test his physical and psychological limits–like damn near burning a hole through his hand with a candle flame. So he calls Gordon and asks him to come talk to Bruce–as he seems to be the only other living person the kid has any real connection to.
By the by, I LOVE what they are doing with Alfred on this show: Pertwee is a fine actor–and it’s nice to see Alfred as more than the unflappable, one-dimensional stoic English butler we’re used to. Pertwee has given Alfred layers and depth–he loves Bruce like a son, and indeed this is the first time we’ve ever gotten to see Alfred as not just a servant, but an adoptive father. I’m looking forward to see how the character develops in this role.
We were also fortunate enough to see more of professional TV guest star Richard Kind as Gotham Mayor Aubrey James. I adored this guy on Stargate: Atlantis and Leverage, and he’s acquitting himself well here as the exact kind of sleazy, self-absorbed, gladhanding son of a bitch you would expect to be in charge of pre-Bats Gotham.
Oh, and speaking of guest stars:
She makes an appearance as Oswald’s dear, sweet, mildly daffy immigrant mother: Gertrude Kapelput (apparently Oswald Anglicized his surname). The MCU: Detectives Montoya and Allen, visit her while investigating Oswald’s disappearance. Unsurprisingly, it seems Penguin’s a bit of a mamma’s boy.
Kane is awesome–as she always is in these kind of roles–and her appearance makes a throwaway scene which honestly had little to do with any of the half dozen other plots into something memorable.
Oh, if you don’t know who Carol Kane is, or what she has done–you should…you really, really should.
That’s more or less it.
I’m loving this show so far–really….but DAMN! Is there ever a helluvalot of crap going on in each episode!
I’ve seen entire seasons of Dragonball Z that were less complicated than one episode of Gotham….
So far, the show has managed to keep me entertained and interested despite being so ponderous–but I worry that Gotham might collapse under it’s own weight if it goes on like this. The show plays like they’re worried they could be canceled any SECOND, and therefore must put as much story out there as possible while the series remains alive.
Calm down, Gotham….you’ve at least got this season–and there’s enough buzz from both critics and the public to likely get you renewed–so SLOW DOWN!
Otherwise–keep up the good work 🙂
Tune in for my review of Episode 3: Balloonman next week.