Gotham: Selina Kyle

Selina speaks!


The main plot of the episode revolves around the murder of a homeless man setting up Jim and Harvey to investigate the abductions of several street kids, presumingly for harvesting of their organs, by a small gang of criminals working for Dr. Francis Dulmacher AKA the Dollmaker. Following the trail of the knock-out drug used to incapacitate the victims, Jim and Harvey find and liberate the children and apprehend one of the co-conspirators but the brains behind the operation escape.

After this, the media attention to the case forces Mayor Aubrey James to make promises to "help Gotham's homeless kids", which really amounts to nothing more than an excuse to imprison them in "youth care facilities" outside town in order to clean up the streets. The Dollmaker's minions hijack one of the buses transporting the kids, including Selina Kyle, but are eventually caught by Jim and Bullock. In the conclusion of the episode, Selina talks to Jim at the station and makes a bargain for her freedom, alleging that she has information about the Wayne murders by revealing that she was present at the scene.

In the first side plot, Penguin kills two obnoxious twats in a car, hires an abandoned trailer and plots his return to Gotham City.

In the second side plot, a rather unhinged Bruce Wayne goes around burning up his hands on candles and trying not to fall off high buildings in an attempt to take his mind off his parents' murder and generally driving Alfred insane until, in an act of desperation, he calls Jim to get him to come around and have a look at him.

Character interactions:

Selina Kyle versus Everyone: This is the most brutal depiction of Selina we were ever to get in the first seasons of this series, with her at one point resorting to literally claw the eyes out of an assailant. It's clear that the creators of the show didn't quite have the handle on her at this early stage - the "do as I say or I'll say you touched me" line was both cliché and rather cringe-inducing, since it has never been in Catwoman's nature to paint herself the victim of anything, and it made her come off as unsympathetic in a "Pretty Little Liars" rather than a "Baby Super-Villain" kind of way.

On a positive note she shows no discernible sympathy for anyone but the few people below her on the food chain, and she displays no reverence or fear for those higher, even if the latter sometimes comes off as bravado. This is a defining trait for the character in all its iterations.

Fish Mooney versus Carmine Falcone: This episode continues to build the animosity between these two. Carmine (correctly) assumes Fish is plotting to overtake him and proceeds to have his goons beat the living hell out of her favorite boy-toy at her club as a message for her to "stay humble." John Doman carries this scene with his understated, powerful acting. Jada works well with John though her character never strays far off the cartoonish.

Bruce Wayne versus Alfred Pennyworth: "You stupid little boy!!! Aww, come here. It's going to be alright." Alfred keeps selling the tough love medicine to Bruce.

Jim versus Bruce: Jim visits Bruce to confess that he screwed up and got the wrong man for the Wayne murders, offering him his police brick. In a powerful scene, Bruce gives it back to him, sanctioning his actions.

Analysis and conclusion:

This is the first in a number of low-content police procedurals that would become an unfortunate staple for Gotham's first season, and if we're talking about the main plot it is not a very strong episode. It is well-crafted but it does a poor job of making the audience invest in the characters - it is obvious that Selina is in no danger and the other kids are faceless cardboard cutouts lacking any personality.

Its saving graces are the performances of Oswald and Selina - Robin proved his acting chops in the pilot episode and his pizazz continues to impress us, and Camren Bicondova shows us that her acting skills aren't limited to striking dramatic poses and her undeniable athleticity, as she is selling her jaded and disillusioned young street kid with conviction and style.

Further notes and trivia:

Trident International Shipping, through which the criminal gang is supposed to transport the children, is the company of Maxie Zeus, a lesser-known member of Batman's gallery of rogues who is defined by his delusion of being the Greek god of his surname.

One of the shots of the Gotham skyline sports a Queen Consolidated logo.

Falcone's mention of how a man who's about to die is honest is a parallel to the Joker's reasoning behind using knives in "The Dark Knight."


Thomas Ijon Tichy said...

It might be poor form to respond to your own post but I'll do it anyway - I apologize for the lower quality of this review as opposed to some other ones. Much of season one is a bit uninspiring material, and it's hard to write an inspired review about lackluster stuff. However I am determined to get through the first season and I am especially looking forward to some of the juicier stuff. Also on repeated viewing I have come to realize a lot of things I previously failed to really get about the show.

Docnaz said...

Thanks, Thomas I really appreciate your hard work

aka Gracie said...

So will you be reviewing all of Season 1 posthumously? Would love to read your thoughts about the earlier episodes ...

Thomas Ijon Tichy said...

Yes, I will. I got a bit burnt out after the second season with some of the news for season three and I've had a lot of other stuff to write as well, but I am getting there. Thanks for the support ;)