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Gotham: Lovecraft

In the sequel to last week's 'Harvey Dent,' it's more of the same, and that's a good thing.

'Lovecraft' concludes the first semester of the show on a high note, as it leans heavily on the strengths of the character gallery to turn out a fun, compelling and heartfelt installment. It doesn't exactly blow your mind, but maybe it doesn't have to. Compared to its common fare, these two episodes, in conjunction with 'Penguin's Umbrella,' represent a significant uptick in the quality of the show, as Gotham at last shows what it's truly capable of.

Compared to my last review this one will be a little pedestrian, as essentially it's just a continuation piece, but it still manages to introduce some key elements to the narrative.

We open this installment with "Copperhead" and her goons – her name is never given on the show, but she's credited as such in the promotional materials, making her another gender-switched Gotham villain - attacking Wayne Manor to get rid of Selina AKA the "witness" to the Wayne murders, and already there it's pretty awesome with Alfred going all Special Air Services on their asses while Bruce and Selina make their escape. Gotham's always flagged for Alfred not being the typical anemic-senior-citizen version of the role, but this is the first time we really get to see him in action, and he totally rocks.

Anyway, this is the springboard for tonight's chain of events, with Alfred and Bullock scrambling to find Bruce, Jim trying and failing to investigate the powers at work behind Lovecraft, and Bruce and Selina spending all of the episode being A+ cute and making impossible long jumps.

Jim's plot in this episode is predictably forgettable - in fact, the only reason I remember anything about it is how they serve the pretext for his first brief vacation from the GCPD and demotion to work as a guard at Arkham Asylum. In contrast, Alfred alternating between Furious-Papa-Bear protective mode and playing James Bond with Fish Mooney is a thing to behold, and he honestly works better with Harvey than Jim does.

Penguin is completely detached from the rest of the show along with Carmine. His storyline mostly revolves around handling his smoking gun on Fish and Liza to perfection. It also features a quite brutal scene of Carmine blowing one of his capones' brains out and leaving the rest to finish their meal with his bloody head still planted in his soup. Yet the main gun won't fire now, so nothing much really happens in this department in this episode.

Since David managed to sell "head-over-heels-in-love" with Selina in one second flat, this is the installment that will have to sell Selina's infatuation with Bruce, and despite requiring a fair bit more exposition, it does a mighty fine job. Bruce spends the whole hour following Selina around the shadier parts of the city because "she needs to testify" - surely there's nothing more to that, Bruce - while Selina, having her priorities straight (!) is mostly preoccupied with fishing for a kiss.

"You should come with me to the Midtown Bridge. Kids go up there to make out all the time... I could take you, if you want?"

Selina needs to kiss Bruce. She really needs to kiss Bruce. Her single-minded determination is almost as comical as it's endearing - over the course of these two episodes she's tirelessly soldiered on, managing to bring it up a total of four times! Don't be desperate, Selina! This leads over Bruce's first "poignant observations" about Selina as a person - "I don't mean you're not a good person, but you're not nice" - and Selina's predictable furor in return, over the first really "heroic" moment of Bruce refusing to give her up to Copperhead, to the final shot, where she realizes he's far too shy to do anything about it and decides to take matters into her own hands.

♥ Aww... ♥

Again, it's so important that this chemistry actually works. It's also a breath of fresh air to the thousands of "boy chases girl" ships we've had to sit through. It was a conscious and very successful choice by Gotham to cast Catwoman slightly older than Batman, and interestingly it even gels with Golden Age canon. Being the older and more experienced of the two, Selina has to take the first steps if anything's to happen, and it works wonders for the starting point of their romance.

Does this matter to the main story? Of course it does. Is this the show going off on a tangent? Of course it isn't. This is a vital part of modern Batman mythology, and we can only praise the gods that Gotham's found two such perfect actors for the job.

So, this is a rather short and flippant review. I said most of the stuff I was going to say about it in the last one, but overall, it's my celebration to the quality of Gotham's first of a series of great fall finales. It's peppered with witty sound bites, but unlike some previous installments, they aren't written on the nose and actually come across as funny. The acting is great, and even if the plot might be a little thin, the characters fill it in spades.

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