Gotham, Episode 1.10: “Lovecraft” seals the midseason finale with a kiss

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Gotham Season 1, Episode 10: “Lovecraft”
Written by Rebecca Dameron
Directed by Guy Ferland
Airs Mondays at 8pm ET on FOX

The mid season finale of Gotham hits the ground running, with Bruce and Cat being pursued by deadly assassins, which sets in motion a tour through the shadowy spots of Gotham for Bruce, with Cat as his guide. It’s always fun to see the kids together, and this episode puts them on Cat’s turf, which is vital for Bruce to see firsthand if he’s to grow into the hero Gotham needs. The reason they are on the run is because Gordon screwed up by putting his faith in Harvey Dent, who wants what Gordon wants, which is to take down the bad elements of Gotham. But Dent is willing to risk anything or anyone to reach that goal.

This episode concludes the arc of Gordon’s reckless mission against the corrupt system, as everything he has done has come to bite him on his rear end. After all the cops turned their back on him in Penguin’s Umbrella, Gordon has been unyielding in his mission, and has lost both his fiancée Barbara and, this week, his position in the GCPD. The new arc that will start in the next episode will be sure to reveal more of the underpinnings of the further development of Arkham Asylum, which should be interesting, as the show has been building to it all season.

Meanwhile, the underlying gangster storyline continues to crawl with intrigue, with Fish Mooney’s plan stirring Falcone after hitting him where it hurts him most, his hidden money vault. There is a lot of mistrust amongst the gangsters, and the paranoia is felt all around. Even the Penguin gets shaken up, and it’s made clear why he has to hold back on some information because the right moment hasn’t revealed itself yet, but when it does, it will most likely be a bloodbath. This story is leading to something, and it could mean the death of some major character/s, but will Gotham go there? We won’t know until next year.

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Character Study

This episode highlights Alfred Pennyworth by separating him from the shadow of Bruce Wayne, therefore allowing him to interact with other players on the show, some for the first time, and it leads to some fun and interesting development. The Gotham version of Alfred is highly combat skilled and appears to have had military training, which is unlike the original incarnation of Alfred from the early comic books. In recent years though, the backstory of Alfred has been broadened and changed. In Geoff John’s Earth One: Batman storyline, Thomas Wayne, who had been receiving death threats, calls upon Alfred, his friend, to head his security team, and after the Waynes are murdered, Alfred is named Bruce’s legal guardian. The writers seem to have drawn from this story for their take, which Sean Pertwee has done a great job at realizing, despite having an accent so cockney thick it can be hard to make out the dialogue, which he tends to bark out. But even that seems to work for the character.

Alfred has been teamed up with Harvey Bullock, who again plays the bad cop to Alfred’s good cop routine in the interrogation room against Mackey (reoccurring street kid played by Kyle Massey). It’s fun to see Logue and Pertwee working against each other. The most interesting interaction that Alfred has in the episode is with Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), and he may have actually been able to appeal to her better nature when asking for her aid in finding Bruce. Now, is Fish really soft hearted for the Brit, or does she plan for Alfred to repay her favor later on somehow?

The last couple of episodes have been livened by the joining of Bruce Wayne and Selina “Cat” Kyle, and having them on the run together is another highlight of the episode. Cat again flirts with Bruce, asking if he wants to kiss her, and Bruce is skeptical of her intentions, which is fun to see, as the dynamic between Batman and Catwoman has always been one of uncertain, yet unbridled, romance. Although this episode is the end of Cat’s stay at Wayne Manor, after the kiss they share at episode’s end, there is certain to be more Cat and Bruce ‘will they or won’t they’ push and pull to play out.

At one point in the episode we quickly catch up with Ivy Pepper, a character who has been MIA since the pilot. She is a fine example of how Gotham City is failing its people, as she has slipped through the cracks of society by losing her family through Falcone’s cover up of the Wayne murders, being unable to adjust to new foster homes, and by living off the streets like a lost soul. In one scene, actress Clare Foley pretty much embodies the hopelessness and the bitter anger of a rough life, with Cat and Bruce whispering about how scary she is.

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The Case File: The Search for Bruce Wayne

The case of the week is another one that directly affects of the main mythology of the season, with more being revealed about the culprits behind the Wayne Murders. Harvey Dent’s plan to smoke out the guilty party only put Cat and Bruce in danger, and reveals that Dick Lovecraft is not only innocent, but insignificant to solving the case (especially now that he’s dead). Dent’s ineffectiveness is character defining, and it shows potential for growth that the character needs to make in order for him to improve in the eyes of Gordon. This is interesting because we, as viewers, know the destiny of these characters already, but are we to hope that Gordon actually effects change in these characters before they reach their dark turn, or are we to revel in them falling in line to become the villains that we know they actually are? It may be a bit of both, but then who do we root for? If Gotham falls in line with Batman mythology, we know Gordon fails, because if Gordon had succeeded, then Gotham City wouldn’t need Batman to save it, would it?

Gotham has really stacked the deck in order for Gotham City to become the city of criminals that we know from the comic books, especially by making the Arkham district a breeding ground for the criminally insane, complete with Asylum/Prison. In addition, the district is being used as a waste disposal area by Sal Maroni. Some waste products may have effects on some of the populace as well, most of whom are poor, mistreated, or neglected, with vendettas against the rich and those in authority. With an incredibly bleak future, how can Gotham bring hope to the series?

The answer lies in Bruce Wayne. Gotham has been doing well in showing not only the effect that Gordon’s influence is having on the GCPD, having some of the cops who have become resigned to the flawed law of Gotham City slowly regain some integrity (as shown with Harvey Bullock and Capt. Sarah Essen), but also the effect that Bruce’s story is having on the people of Gotham. Everyone that comes across Bruce now is showing him how to become its hero, with Alfred teaching him how to fight, and Cat showing him the true severity of Gotham streets, and we are seeing how the iconic hero is being shaped and made into the city’s savior. Even the assassin that was in pursuit of Cat, played well by Lesley-Ann Brandt, offers Bruce some sage advice when pinned down in a bad situation, which is “Don’t ever mistake bravery for good sense.” How Bruce will apply this to his training will be part of what makes this series worth watching.

“Lovecraft” is written by Rebecca Dameron, who turns in a serviceable script that moves the mythology along well, and presents some interesting villains in the female assassin and Clyde “the Fence”. The direction by Guy Ferland is fairly good, with well done fighting scenes featuring Alfred kicking butt and the female assassin hugging Gordon to sleep, and does a decent job overall in giving the episode the tone of the series. As far as midseason finales go, it’s not the most exciting one, but it sets up the table well for a new arc where Gordon will now be working at Arkham Asylum, and Bruce will most likely be back at school.

Detective’s Notes

  • Cat’s suggestion that they “…be like smoke. Smoke doesn’t make phone calls.” brings to mind how Batman’s vanishing act sometimes required smoke bombs.
  • “Am I the only one in this damn town who waits for backup?”—Bullock. It’s funny that he would say this, considering how he was in “Spirit of the Goat
  • Edward Nygma’s hug to Gordon as he leaves the GCPD is a really great moment. It’s almost hard to imagine the character turning bad now.
  • Another great moment is when Harvey Bullock shakes hands with Gordon, Harvey has really changed, but is it enough that Gordon won’t go after him too?
  • Cat lies to Bruce about who the assassin is really after because she wants to spend time with him. That is such a Catwoman thing to do.
  • Is Penguin really free about talking about his plans, or is he training his driver to be his protégée?
  • The background music features the Sex Pistols’ “New York’, which is pretty fitting, as Gotham is synonymous with NYC.
  • Stick a batarang on your calendars for Gotham’s return January 5th, 2015 at 8pm on FOX.

-JP

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