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Gotham‘s ninth installment is a charming, feel-good romantic comedy about what happens when a streetwise young pickpocket (Camren Bicondova) comes to live with a traumatized preteen billionaire (David Mazouz).

So sit back and enjoy Episode 9: “Harvey Dent”….

Wait, WHAT???

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Yep, Gotham‘s done it again. Maybe they’re trying to make up for the fact that Episode 2: “Selina Kyle”, had little or nothing to do with the title character by letting Selina bushwhack another canon Batman character’s episode.

But false advertising aside, “Harvey Dent” was an enjoyable, if uneven (a descriptor I find myself using often while reviewing Gotham) episode. If nothing else, at least young Bruce Wayne and his personal story finally get the spotlight instead of playing second fiddle to Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett-Smith), and Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor).

A quick rundown of the “A” Plot: Selina has finally come through for Gordon, and provided a viable description of the murderer of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Gordon knows a police sketch based on the word of a street kid won’t be enough to bring down the killer–even if it matched a human suspect. However, it’s a good start, and once the killer IS brought to trial, they’ll need Selina to testify, so Gordon has to keep her alive until then….

So, in a move that surprised no one–not even the people who missed the teasers–Gordon convinces Bruce and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) to take Selina in. Or rather: He convinces Bruce, and Alfred reluctantly concedes.

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This is an interesting scene as it underlines the power dynamic of Bruce and Alfred’s relationship: On one hand, Alfred is Bruce’s legal guardian and responsible for his well-being….this SHOULD mean that what he says goes.

BUT, Bruce is the master of the house, heir to the Wayne’s, and while he is willing to defer to Alfred’s judgment in most things–if he makes a decision regarding Wayne Manor (like who can or can’t live there), Alfred is obliged to obey….He is Bruce’s guardian, but the Wayne Family’s servant, and occasionally, those two roles come into conflict

It speaks quite a bit about Bruce’s strength of character that he does not abuse this relationship.

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Long story short, Selina moves into Wayne Manor–and it looks and feels a LOT like when Dick Grayson first came to live there in Batman Forever (not a judgment–just an observation).

As hinted, Alfred is less than thrilled–but changes his opinion when he sees his young Master and Charge smiling and laughing for the first time since his parents’ murder.

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On to the B-Story: The title wasn’t total BS–Harvey Dent is indeed here, just as the trailers promised. He’s played by Nicholas D’Agosto–best known for Renee Witherspoon’s best movie: Election, and for playing West Rosen–the flying teenager in Heroes…Oh, and he’s awesome!

If there is one thing about Gotham no one can criticize, it’s its casting: D’Agosto, like everyone else on the show, plays his part to a T–honoring the canon description of the character while giving it enough of his own spin to keep the audience interested. He’s an affable, noble, good-hearted sonofabitch–and crazy enough to join Gordon and the MCU on their crusade to find the REAL Wayne murderer (s)

And yes–he’s got that damn coin.

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While Gordon and pals continue their work to find the triggerman in the Wayne case, Dent kicks things up a notch: HE wants whoever hired someone to kill the Waynes.

Nobody ever believed that two of Gotham’s most powerful citizens were gunned down in cold blood due to a simple robbery gone bad–but after Mario Pepper was falsely accused and killed, nearly everybody was content to let sleeping dogs lie….

Dent, it seems, enjoys the sound of barking: He decides to go for a powerful, corrupt executive named Dick Lovecraft (Al Sapienza) who was apparently Thomas Wayne’s nemesis in the business world. If anybody had the money, pull, and desire to see the Waynes dead–it would be Lovecraft, or so Dent reasons.

He uses Selina’s description as fodder for an elaborate bluff designed to make Lovecraft nervous enough to spill details….and he gives viewers a delightfully chilling sneak peek at the future Two-Face while he confronts his target.

And yes–there is a C-Plot: Gordon and Bullock (Donal Logue) chase a brilliant, but mentally disturbed bombmaker who escaped from Blackgate Prison with the help of the late Nikolai’s former goons. They’re working under Fish Mooney’s orders, and they need this man to make a bomb that will take out a secret vault Falcone hides a significant portion of his funds in–all part of Mooney’s ongoing campaign to weaken Falcone to the point that she can usurp his position.

Speaking of which–Gotham continues to try and make me care about this Liza (Mackenzie Leigh) character–the “weapon” Mooney trained as part of her strategy to end Falcone’s reign.

No such luck–not even having Oswald show up in her apartment for a creepy “I Know Your Secret!” scene (which is basically all the Penguin got to do this week) could pique my interest. Her story and character remain–by my lights–Gotham‘s weakest point, narrative-wise.

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In the end, the only useful thing the C-Plot did–far as the development of Gotham‘s overall story goes–is establish that mentally ill prisoners are now being moved to the reopened, but still 2oo years old and renovated by mobsters, Arkham Asylum.

It’s like Gotham is a finishing school where run-of-the-mill crooks and relatively harmless mental patients go to become supervillains…..

The verdict?

“Harvey Dent” is another edition of Gotham that tried to pack 20 pounds of story into a 5 pound bag…The plots and performances are GOOD–that’s not the issue–the issue is trying to put three episodes worth of information in one show.

The A and B plots were marvelous, and could and SHOULD have carried episodes on their own….the C Plot was a forgettable excuse to find something for the rest of the cast to do….

Oh, and if you’re wondering if I forgot to mention that Barbara (Erin Richards) left Jim and is sleeping with Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) again….

You’re correct: I did.

 

 

Category: Comics, Featured, reviews, TV

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