Gotham has been a show that has become well known for its off kilter colorful villains and it’s unique flair to balance a tone of grim horror and gritty dark humor, and “Transference” not only makes a case for how truly interesting the heroes on the show are but also presents the perfect balance of all the tones the show is capable of. It has horror, humor, action, rich characters, and a developing mystery that promises to make the next season a truly exciting experience.
In the Pilot episode the Penguin warns Gordon that there will be a war coming to Gotham City, a war that would possibly result in a change of power amongst the crime bosses. As it turns out Penguin was not merely playing Cassandra predicting doom for Gotham but planned for the war to happen all along. Ever since the Wayne Murders the Falcone crime empire began crumbling due to having lost one of its pillars leaving Falcone weak in his reign which prompted all of the crime underbosses to sniff around and try to tear him down. Although the Wayne Murderer remains a mystery the finale resolves Falcone time in power, relinquishing him to possibly make way for the dawn of a new class of villain to overtake Gotham, one that will be full of colorfully criminal characters and Machiavellian madmen (and madwomen); the Gotham City by which the comic book mythos are based. Now that Falcone has fallen, is the new Gotham City finally rising?
This week’s episode of Gotham follows up “Red Hood” where it seemed as though Bruce’s story and Gordon’s would meet up but instead this episode prolongs the separation another week so that Gordon could make some genuine headway in establishing order in the GCPD. This has been an ongoing process for Gordon in making a change to the corrupt system and the effect he’s had has been gradual as every time Gordon thinks he has effected change he finds that he has only cured a symptom and not the cause. This has been a beat that Gotham has repeated a few times during this second half of the season and it’s almost to the point of being overly repetitive, but it seems as though that this particular promotion to President of the Policeman’s union position may be the level where Gordon can be most effective and the season can finally move on without falling back to where Gordon has no results to show other than new allies.
The season returns in stride with this week’s episode that is full of Batman mythology nods with fun character moments that build momentum to the season’s subplots that are showing lots of promise and development. At the center of the episode is the relationship of Gordon and Leslie which is budding in interesting ways and is well integrated with the case of the week. The case of the week addresses two iconic Batman characters in one fell swoop, a bold attempt for the series that could’ve easily been a misstep, but it is done efficiently enough that it will hold interest in the long run, as there are more stories that they could mine with the character introduced here.
The search for Dr. Crane continues this week in a way that is notably off kilter with the beats of “The Fearsome Dr. Crane”. There are moments that inelegantly reset character progress that would’ve made more sense following an earlier episode, while dialogue bluntly attempts to integrate events that happened in the previous two episodes. As far as recent episodes go, this one appears to have suffered the most from the expanded season order.
This week’s episode of Gotham is a transitional point for the season as the events of the last episode changed the status quo for many of the characters. It is typically difficult for an episode following a climactic event to continue the momentum and also set up the stage for what is to come, but this episode manages to find enough interesting beats to play with only a few instances of padding.
In this week’s Gotham, Gordon returns to the Gotham City Police Department to regain his Detective rank but in order to do that he has to prove himself to Commission Loeb by bringing in the Arkham Asylum inmate that escaped in “Rogues’ Gallery” under his watch. This episode shows Gordon revitalized and more focused with the understanding that he needs to be at the GCPD and nowhere else; it’s where he wants to be and where he can do the most good. We have seen Gordon be all gun ho before as in “Penguins Umbrella” but this time he’s taking charge and asserting himself, where before he was acting reckless with unrealistic goals.
The season enters a new arc on Gotham as the fallout of last week’s episode, “Penguin’s Umbrella”, begins to take effect. Gordon tried to take down Falcone and failed, but managed to set an example of what a good cop is capable of and also shed a light on how inactive the Gotham City Police Department is, as none of his colleagues came to aid Gordon against Victor Zsasz. This brings out some interesting development between Gordon and Captain Sarah Essen, who regrets not braving the storm with him. The example that he has set has also affected Bullock, who’s now on Team Gordon, which is a highlight of the episode, in particular when Bullock gives a rallying speech to the GCPD.
“Arkham” picks up right where we left off last week with Oswald Cobblepot at Jim Gordon’s front door, which had potential for an explosive outcome. Although not as incendiary as one might have thought, “Arkham” does pull all the subplots of the previous episodes together and sheds some light on the significance Arkham will have in this series. Gotham has done very well integrating its case of the week stories with the overarching plot in the past but now it’s brought the war between Carmine Falcone and Sal Maroni to the forefront and this gives viewers a look at the key players and their motives.
Batman is one of the most iconic comic book superheroes of all time and has been amongst the pop culture zeitgeist for, at most, three quarters of a century, being adapted into all kinds of media from novels to video games and of course, to film and television. Strangely enough, as popular as the hero has been throughout the decades, the character has had very little time on the live action small screen. Even now, in this newest retelling of his origin story, Batman himself is not expected to make a full costumed appearance. Instead we are introduced to all the tangential characters that surround the Batman mythology and formulate Batman’s allies and foes.