A Penny For Your Thoughts On Gotham 1×17 “Red Hood” Review With Spoilers; HOLY (insert expletives here)

Gotham 01×17 – Red Hood Review

Here There Be Spoilers

Okay…. um…. so… yeah… that just happened. On Network TV. And somehow it made Hannibal’s gore look tame. Yeah… um…. okay I’m going to break form and add a decent length spoiler jump for this one, just in case anyone reading this review hasn’t watched it yet and is struggling with the concept of spoilers. Also, (with sincere apologies to my editor John), there WILL be profanity immediately after the spoiler jump, so parents, shield thy children’s eyes. Ready?

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There, that ought to be plenty. Trigger warning for those with Trypophobia and/or Apotemnophobia.

*clears throat*

HOLY (Expletives deleted, gotcha John) FISH WHAT THE HELL WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT OH GODDESS I FEEL ILL HOW DID THEY GET THAT ON NETWORK TELEVISION???!!!

Okay, time to breathe. For reference? This episode of Gotham includes a ridiculously graphic scene of Jada Pinket-Smith as Fish Mooney gouging her own left eye out with a goddamned teaspoon and then stomping on it. I’d love to say it makes sense in context, but jesus bloody hell no, no it really doesn’t, and it was so sudden and unpredictable and out of the blue that I was bordering on literal shock seeing it, barely able to form a coherent thought as I just stared incredulously at my monitor. And I’m a horror flick veteran, I’m bloody hard to shock anymore. But that was graphic. Perhaps needlessly so.

Alright, so, some context. Fish is the B Plot again this week, as she’s taken to meet the director of the body farm she’s trapped in and OH MY GOD IT’S JEFFREY BAH GAWD COMBS SQUEEEEEEE!!! He tells Fish he’s just the Director and that the man in charge, a Doctor Dahlmacher, (Of ffs…), doesn’t come to the facility and she has to talk to him. He offers her a shower and fresh clothes after which they can start again. When she’s brought back all clean and spiffy he tries to intimidate her into backing down by offering her two options.

1) He can kill her outright and everyone else in the basement as an inconvenient but acceptable loss, or

2) He can just take her lovely perfect eyes right now given how high a price they’ll fetch, and see how well she can run a rebellion dead blind.

Fish says he forgot option 3. When he smugly asks what that is, clearly expecting her to try to attack his two thugs hovering over her with a straightjacket, or to lunge at him, she instead grabs his teaspoon, and immediately without any hesitation gouges her left eye completely out, which falls to the floor and…. ugh… rolls a little until it’s basically looking up at her. A close-up of the bloodied disembodied eye shows her foot coming down towards it in the reflection on the lens. Fish gives the director a smug look with her remaining eye before passing out from the pain, and we leave Fish’s story for this week with the Director looking as shocked and horrified as I was, though in his case I think more out of shock that his intimidation ploy backfired so horribly and led to a perfectly viable eye being ruined.

This week’s A Story focus was Bruce and Alfred spending a few days with Alfred’s old RAF buddy Reggie, who looks Alfie up having fallen on hard times. During his stay he annoys Alfred by teaching Bruce how to fight dirty and bringing up old war wounds Alfred would rather not have Bruce know. In the end though, Reggie turns out to have been hired by the Wayne Industries Board of Directors to find out what Bruce knows, and Alfred gets stabbed when he catches Reggie red handed as he’s about to leave.This thread ends with Gordon comforting Bruce at Alfred’s hospital bedside and the head of the Wayne Board suggesting Bruce should be killed too.

The C plot is Gordon and Bullock chasing down the Red Hood gang, which honestly feels like a throwaway foreshadowing moment, as the plot here is kinda paint by numbers involving a gang of bank robbers lead by a rotating man in a shabby red hood who inadvertently become folk heroes but dwindle as the hood itself keeps switching owners via gunshot. The hood ends up in some young kid’s hands by the end, and I suppose he might be a Joker red herring. Though I AM pleasantly surprised that Gordon and Bullock solve the case with good old-fashioned police work.

There are D and E plots this week, and damn they’re keeping the episodes a bit cluttered. They could do fine if they stuck to three plot threads an episode instead of hurting one plot by cramming in two that could as easily be given more focus next episode. It would be FAR better to the pacing of the series if they chose one plot thread to be the A story EVERY week, one regular B Thread, and then rotate the other threads week by week as a back-up C plot. Squeezing 5 different threads into one episode just clutters the episode up, and results in things like Gordon’s plot thread being so weak this week.

D is Penguin and Butch making peace as they figure out how to get around Maroni’s petty liquor embargo against Penguin’s club, which provides a few mild comic relief moments, while E focuses on Barbara’s impromptu Street Urchins Sorority House where Barbara is STILL a terrible horrible character who’s WAY too okay with teenage orphans squatting in her penthouse, with Barb acting really super creepy towards Selina. Like we’re talking Pedo Vibe Creepy (™ & ©), caressing her cheeks and brushing hair from her eyes, telling her how beautiful and sexy she’d be if she cleaned herself up, offering her a slinky LBD to wear and jadedly telling her how beauty can be a deadlier weapon than any knife or gun. Selina isn’t buying it and gets the ever loving hell out of there, but Ivy listens intently to every word.

FORESHADOWING!!!

Seriously at this point I’m about to propose a drinking game for the Nexus staff. A shot every time Gotham hamfistedly foreshadows something from the Batman years.

So because they muddied this week up with too many plots, I’ll rate each.

Fish In The Butcher Shop; A+

– Jada just outright stole the show. The gore was too much, but Fish’s evolution from petty mafia player to sacrificing hero is seriously the best thing on this show right now. I would SO watch a Fish Mooney spin-off.

Alfred’s Old & New Wounds; A

– Nice to see Alfred’s back story explored in an organic way via his old squadmate, with hints dropped of Bruce eventually seeking training from different teachers.

Jim and Harvey’s Crazy Crime Procedural Adventures; B-

– Supposedly the main character and focus of Gotham and Jim’s story just felt tacked on and pretty needless.

Butch & Oswald’s Boring Beer Run; C

– Some mild comic relief but otherwise forgettable. Penguin was the best part of this show through the first half of the season, now he’s like an afterthought.

Barbara’s Future Dateline NBC Appearance; F

– Ew. Just…. just ew. Can we please just write her off the show entirely? The writing for the character has passed any hope of being salvageable.

Overall, B-

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