Last week on Gotham, Gordon seemed to have lost his battle against the almighty (and all-boring) Theo Galavan. Despite busting his ass to find more evidence, Gordon was unable to stop Galavan from getting out of prison. Not only that, but the baddie nearly killed Gordon and only some friendly help from your neighborhood Penguin saved his butt. The only upside was that Gordon came away knowing that Galavan’s final target was Bruce Wayne. And on Bruce’s side of things, he was busy playing with Silver’s head in an attempt to find out the identity of his parents’ killers. Plus, we saw Alfred getting into a brawl with Galavan’s sister, Tabitha and coming out of it a little worse for wear. This week is the big half-season finale, but does ‘Worse Than a Crime’ take Gotham out with a bang? Unfortunately, not so much…
We begin by finding out what happened to Alfred. He made it all the way to the dump before finally getting back on his feet again, although Tabitha and her goons followed him there to finish the job. Our favorite butler manages to hide away in an old fridge long enough to throw them off his trail, though he does get tasered by a cop while trying to resume his search for young master Bruce.
Then, it’s off to see what’s happening with Bruce. He’s dragged away by Galavan and his army of monks, given the classic evil villain speech so that he knows what the hell’s going on and then thrown into a cell. Lucky for him, he has until midnight before the sacrificial ceremony and that’s plenty of time for Gordon and the rest of the gang to show up and save him.
To make things even more annoying, he has Silver to keep him company. Galavan isn’t satisfied with her performance so he challenges her to seduce Bruce once again. If she can get a kiss from the young billionaire, she’ll be fine to stay with the family. If not, there are potentially fatal consequences. So it’s Bruce vs. Silver in round 3 or 4 (or whatever) of their mind games. But Bruce sees through her plan despite all that she tries. In the end, however, he offers her the kiss she needs to protect herself from Galavan’s wrath.
Meanwhile, Gordon has been staying as the guest of The Penguin and Edward Nygma. They nurse him back to health and then Penguin makes a proposal that they all team up to get their revenge against Galavan. It’s a good thing too, cause the rest of the GCPD is sitting on their hands and waiting for more evidence to magically show up so that they can resume their attacks on Galavan. Bullock, Alfred (who has by now been found by the police) and Lucius Fox all decide that they’re not going to wait. When Nygma slips up and is forced to inform them where Gordon is hiding, the trio heads out to join him.
After some brief introductions and explanations, everyone armors up and marches off to war. They don’t have a plan except to storm the castle head-on, but luckily for them Selina shows up and offers to show them an easier way into Galavan’s corporate fortress. Then begins the race against time – Bruce getting ready to be sacrificed as the cavalry rushes in to save the day.
They arrive just in the nick of time, of course, and then it’s a battle of guns vs. knives. Guns win quickly, though Galavan, Tabitha and Silver all rush off to make their escape. But Galavan wants to remove Silver from his care (permanently) before he goes, claiming she’s too weak to remain part of his family. Tabitha is fed up with his bullshit and knocks him over the head. Then the two ladies jump out the window and glide their way to safety.
When Gordon arrives, Galavan is all alone. At first Jim is ready to arrest him, but when The Penguin shows up and things start to get complicated, he makes a compromise. In the end, we get to watch The Penguin beat the living crap out of Galavan with a baseball bat, though it’s Gordon himself who eventually puts the killing bullet into the enemy’s heart.
In the aftermath, we get several teasers for the second half of season 2. Gordon asks Thompkins to marry him, Galavan’s body is hauled off to Wayne Enterprises for testing or whatever and Hugo Strange’s name is dropped. And, right at the tail of the episode, we see Gotham’s incarnation of Mr. Freeze.
Unfortunately, there are very few good things to say about the mid-season finale of Gotham. I liked watching Selina kick some ass, but that was very short-lived. I’m also happy we’ll be seeing Strange and Freeze showing sometime in the near future. But most of the rest of these 43-minutes were incredibly underwhelming.
My first beef was with the extended amount of time the show spent on Bruce and Silver’s little game. I understand they’re setting up to bring Silver back, although in a more heroic capacity, but her character hasn’t proven interesting enough to warrant so much time. In fact, she’s been almost as boring as her uncle. The best part about Silver has been watching Bruce react to her and this time around even that wasn’t enough to keep me from wanting to tune out again and again.
The other major story arc that has failed miserably is Gordon’s fall from the light and acceptance of his darker side. They’ve been building up to this all half-season but none of it has proven to be dynamic in any way. I’m not sure if it’s poor execution by the directors of these episodes or if Ben McKenzie has just hit a wall as far as his acting ability goes. Either way, there’s been very little in the way of true tragedy with this change and when Gordon finally broke down and put a bullet into one of his enemies, it was positively shrug-worthy.
All-in-all, Gotham is falling flat after a half-dozen truly brilliant episodes during the earlier part of this half-season. It’s not a lack of story that’s killing the show, but a lack of any compelling acting on the part of some of the central characters. Galavan is boring, all his sidekicks were boring (aside from, perhaps, Jerome), Gordon is getting boring… I know they can’t run a show completely off of the charisma of such cast members as Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith, but they need to do something and soon or I’ll be tuning out of this one for good. Let’s just hope they pull a S.H.I.E.L.D. maneuver and really kick it up a notch during the later half of their second season.
Gotham won’t be around for a while, so no more reviews for now. I’ll see all you Nerd Readers when it returns. Whenever that is.