Gotham: Pieces of a Broken Mirror

Selina meets Bratman, Alfred meets Harvey, Eddie pines for Lee and Tabitha just claimed the trophy of "least endearing girlfriend since Barbara Kean". Oh, and there's something here that's supposed to be Poison Ivy.

In the general tradition of Gotham season openers this one is setup, setup and more setup. Unfortunately it's not a very interesting episode in its own right and it's rather uninspired television.

If we're talking the positives first, for however long it will last, Gotham comes through to deliver a storyline for Alfred as he's separated from his ward. Seeing as last time around I remarked that if they failed him in this I'd be very disappointed, I have to give them a hand for that. For the first time in the history of Gotham, he actually has more screentime than Bruce, who's relegated to sitting in the corner of a bar getting drunk and throwing one-liners at Selina, who looks appropriately puzzled. Alfred's story may not be the best written and it may make him come across as a bit of a moron, but at least we get a couple of nice character moments driving home his sorrow over the separation from Bruce and the death of Bruce's father, so I'll take that as a win.

Sadly, from a storytelling perspective, this is about the only positive with this episode. We have the introduction and prompt offing of a new Batman villain, "the Toymaker" – and he's pretty cool, I mean, who doesn't like spooky toy stores? – but he's only serving as a hired gun for the Riddler, as Edward Nygma's "evil alter ego" strives to get rid of what he deems an unacceptable positive influence in Lee Thompkins.

Speaking of Lee, she's apparently taken up the job as a motivational speaker in the Narrows with Ed as her sidekick. Why? Who knows. Certainly not Jim. He doesn't seem too surprised finding out that the woman who left Gotham after sending him a love letter is suddenly back, has been hiding from him for months and is completely disinterested in him, but why should he? This is Gotham.

In the ongoing fiasco of the Grundy and Tabitha "romance", the show again throws logic and coherence to the wind as rejuvenated-Butch seeks her out to profess his love... and Tabitha rejects him. Right. It's hard to put into words how stupid this twist is or how bad it makes Tabitha look – first she bludgeons him senseless in a desperate attempt to wake him up, then when he does she gives him the cold shoulder?! – but it's clear that the writers are less interested in the characters making sense than in how they'll serve whatever plot-driven catastrophe they've cooked up ahead.

The less said about Poison Ivy the better, but I guess I have to talk about it.

I believe the major news is that she's now a full-on supervillain, murdering teenagers and poisoning Selina in the strangest attempt to bond ever, but with Peyton List we're on our third Ivy actress of the show, and it feels a bit weird to talk about "character evolution" when you can't help but fail to recognize her as the same person. Ivy 1.0 has nothing in common with Ivy 2.0 who has nothing in common with Ivy 3.0, and Ivy 3.0 has nothing in common with Ivy 1.0 except actually sort-of looking like a twenty-year-older version of the first one and wearing her old jumper. There's really nothing in their mannerism that ties them together, which only makes it more hilarious when Selina immediately realizes it's her in the club.

Bonus points for Bruce cracking a joke about how "all redheads are crazy." Unlike Maggie Geha and Clare Foley, Ivy 3.0 doesn't even have red hair.

As you may have noticed, this is hard to review. With Penguin and Jerome sidelined and Bruce and Selina being given precious little to do, most of our big guns are silent and there isn't a lot of meaty material in this one. I'll call it a day for now and hope for better in the next installment. I'm not among the Gotham fans who hail Jerome as our show's savior, but that storyline should be an improvement on this week's fare.


Phyllis Strickland said...

I gave up on this show, but read the review to see if there's any value in catching up again. Apparently not, there is so much good TV on my to do list

Thomas Ijon Tichy said...

Phyllis - I hope to be able to tell you when the show returns back to form.

Patryk said...

I would prefer Peyton List to get back to Flash as Captain Cold's sister, not to pretend to be Ivy.

Diogo said...

The prospect of watching Jerome again is all that keeps me from abandoning this show, and they couldn't even deliver that. They've also stated on interviews that "he's not the real Joker, who will be someone else"... Why???