“Tonight’s the Night” is not only a spectacular spotlight for Barbara’s villainy, but also does well at giving some dimension to Bruce and his path to becoming the hero he is meant to be.
Dog Soldiers is a bit along the lines of Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead (2004) insofar as its story is drenched in horror aesthetic, yet the film itself is not as frightening as its premise suggests. In Wright’s film, the comedy and love story are just as important if not more so than the looming zombie apocalypse. In the case of Dog Soldiers, the action and terrific camaraderie between the soldiers truly anchors the picture, all the while reminding the audience that the occurrences themselves are indeed horrific.
The penultimate episode of Gotham superbly closes the Ogre arc and sets the table for what appears to be an exciting grand season finale. The last couple of episodes have shown Gordon shaken and dead set on taking down the serial killer the Ogre, as he has threatened to victimize his loved one. The discovery that the loved one in question is his former fiancé only makes him more resolute on his undertaking. This episode does an excellent job at showing how determined he is and the wear it takes on him with Leslie and Bullock reminding him that he needs to take a break before he burns out, but Gordon doesn’t let up. Ben Mckenzie is in top form in this episode as he plays Gordon’s escalating fatigue subtly through his desperation, as he goes from violently interrogating a witness to aggressively asking a favor of the Penguin to when he faces the Ogre to gun him down.
The season enters its final quarter with an episode that escalates the drama of the ongoing plots alongside a standalone case that interestingly adapts a Batman villain to the small screen. Gordon and the GCPD are not so much downplayed in this episode as they are given equal attention as the four other separate plots that are playing out. The episode does a great job juggling the separate narratives without them needing to cross paths until the very end.
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.
The mid season finale of Gotham kicks off running with Bruce and Cat being pursued by deadly assassins which set 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 offers them in 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 and that is to take down the bad element out of Gotham, but he’s willing to risk anything or anyone to reach that goal.
After an unusually light episode by Elementary’s standards last week, Lestrade sticks around a little while longer in “Ears to You” – an episode only mildly less light. If the tone is still a little bit jarring, the use of Sean Pertwee’s Lestrade is much more effective this time around, as he gets to bounce off Sherlock and Watson in both entertaining and interesting ways.