Hello Nexusites. I’m Penny. I chewed through my restraints over at Pulse Wrestling and the vent shaft I crawled through opened up here. So I’ll be doing recaps/reviews of all the comic book based tv shows on tv these days from my quasi-feminist point of view, plus a weekly opinion piece on Fridays to go with my wrestling rants in the other section of the Pulse prison. So let’s start with some Gotham.
Gotham 01×16 The Blind Fortune Teller Review
Here There Be Spoilers
Alright, so for those amongst you not watching Gotham, a quick recap; Very loosely based on the excellent and criminally short-lived Gotham Central comic, except set in the time of the Wayne murders, Gotham focus on the wacky misadventures of incorruptible cop James Gordon, as he tries to find his footing in a corrupt city, while occasionally focusing on Young Bruce Wayne as he copes with his parents being murdered in front of him. There’s a lot of odd foreshadowing overall, and for the first 5 episodes or so, the only things that kept me watching were Jada Pinket-Smith existing on a steady diet of scenery as Fish Mooney, and Robin Lord-Taylor creeping up the joint as a young Penguin. Over the last 5 or so episodes, it’s finally finding it’s feet.
So as of this episode the story so far is that Gordon has thus far;
- Convinced his crooked cop partner and crooked Sargeant to start doing things by the book,
- Broken up with the future mother of Batgirl because she couldn’t deal with being kidnapped by the mob he was standing up to,
- Hooked up with a young Dr Leslie Thompkins,
- Found himself reluctantly in bed with the quickly rising in mob ranks Penguin, and
- Failed to stop doing his Batman Voice from the Direct to DVD Year One movie, for even one goddamned second.
Also, Fish Mooney tried and failed to overthrow her boss, and had to flee Gotham, ending up on a yacht that was boarded by pirates who deal in live organ sales, by keeping live humans to steal them from.
As we begin this episode, Fish is acclimating to having murdered the body farm’s previous top dog, and is running things differently. Jada is chewing a bit less scenery now as her character is finally revealing more layers and evolving beyond a caricature. Fish wants to try and free as many of the prisoners as she can, and while on the surface it appears wholly self-serving, she shows little glimpses of having actual concern and empathy for her fellow prisoners. She whips them up with a pep speech by being dead honest with them; for ANY of them to escape alive, some will have to die, but convinces them it’s better to risk dying on their feet surrounded by their new family of fellow prisoners than to die alone on their knees. This speech is convincing and comes off as genuine, and the prisoners must think so too because they all agree to do whatever she says, which results in one of them willingly allowing other prisoners to beat him to death at Fish’s command to render his body and organs completely useless to the body farmers. And it works. The farmers realize things have changed, and collecting fresh viable body parts is more important than just shooting Fish and crushing the spirit of the uprising. In the end the as yet unseen big boss of the farmers agrees to meet Fish upstairs.
The other main story of this episode is a murder at Haly’s Circus, where Jim and Leslie are on a date. The murder is discovered shortly after a fight breaks out in the middle of the performance between the Flying Grayson family and the family of clowns that they’ve been trapped in a Montague/Capulets feud over a horse for over a century with.
Jim spends a lot of this episode frankly being kind of a dick to Leslie, expressing some really antiquated ideas about not wanting her at risk, (though to be fair she isn’t a cop nor is she in any way trained to do police work, so he admittedly has a valid point, but he goes about it with a really out of character level of boneheadedness). Eventually Jim figures out the blind-ish old psychic who fed him a red herring is protecting the murdered woman’s son, who is our future Joker. Or at least a suspect. Early on the producers said over the course of the series we’d see at east 3 or 4 potential candidates for the someday to be Joker. Assuming that’s still the plan then there’s no guarantee this kid IS indeed Gotham’s Joker, but if he is GOD-DAYUM has he ever proved Twitter Critics wrong.
A little clarification here; last week Gotham’s official Twitter shared a screenshot of Cameron Monaghan grinning very Joker-like at the camera. Twitter exploded with the general sentiment of “Well he was cool as Ian in Shameless but he’s no Joker”.
Um…. yeah no, this kid sold it like Slim Jims near the end of the episode. Seeing a screencap of the grin is one thing. Seeing it in action while he casually cracks jokes about murdering his mother for nagging and laughs his ass off is 69 kinds of effing CREEPY.
Jim’s plot in this episode ends with Leslie convincing him not to be such a dick, and him conceding that, yeah, he kinda was one.
The B plots for this episode are Bruce preparing to confront the Board of Directors at Wayne Enterprises about his discovery of corrupt illegal dealings, much to Alfred’s concern, and Jim’s now ex Barbara finally coming home from her bender to discover Selina Kyle and (Poison) Ivy Pepper squatting in her apartment. To which she reacts with little to no concern that homeless teenagers have been running up her power bill. And all sympathies with Erin Richards, who is clearly trying her best, but Barbara Kean continues to be the absolute worst and least likable on the entire show. She’s just so badly written, and she’s portrayed as the sad tired trope of “Confused bisexual with addiction issues who can’t decide which side of the fence she’s on”.
Bruce’s B Plot ends with him visibly scaring his executives despite their every attempt to condescend to him, and Barbara’s ends with her trying to “accidentally” run into Jim (in the GCPD Locker room because reasons), while looking hot to get him back then storming off in a hissyfit at finding him making out with Leslie. Because it’s okay for her to dump him over things beyond his control so you can go find yourself whilst banging your lesbian ex and binging, but god forbid the person YOU dumped DARE to move on with their life.
Seriously, Barbara is just a horrible character. A textbook example of how to NOT write a major female character that is integral to the future of the main character. If they keep writing her this badly, there will be no valid reason in storyline for she and Jim to eventually get married.
Also there was some really REALLY boring shit involving how much Penguin sucks at running a nightclub, which I’m sure was meant to be a “Ha ha!” wink and nod to the more knowledgeable fans who know that Penguin eventually ends up with the highly successful Iceberg Lounge nightclub that he uses as a cover for his arms trading. But it all falls flat and the scenes are forgettable until a surprise return at the end.
Overall an okay episode. Not as bad as the excruciating painful first few before the show found it’s feet, but not as good as the past month or so has been since it returned from the holiday hiatus. And they crammed WAY too much foreshadowing into this episode, what with us meeting the future Joker and the future parents of Dick Grayson.
See you tomorrow for Agent Carter and The Flash.
Tags: Ben MacKenzie, Gotham, Jada Pinket-Smith, Morena Baccaran