Gotham: No Man's Land

Everything goes to hell in a handbasket.

More than anything, it was the decisions of the show, rather than the execution or any single episode, that left me so disillusioned it took me months to sit down and finish off my coverage of the fourth season. There are other reviewers of this show. Those reviewers may very well be the better choice to cover the popcorn fare that Gotham's ventured into. If I can find no depth whatsoever to the content of an episode, it tends to leave me stumped.

The short version of the plot of this episode is that Bruce's fight with Jeremiah, Eddie's romance with Lee, Penguin's fight with Tabitha, Bruce's romance with Selina and Barbara's fight with "all men" all reach some sort of conclusion. The "few good men" stay behind to take on the monsters.

Bruce's decision to stay behind to fight for Gotham, leaving Selina behind - despite explicitly promising to stay by her side in the opening minutes of the show - was very much expected, yet will only be used to drive yet another wedge between them. Now, to be honest, this is the one love triangle I can get behind when it comes to Baby Batcat - balancing his love for his city with his love for his girl is very much in character for Batman... Yet. I've said this numerous times, in order to make a couple rootable we need to get a sense of what they're fighting for. We need to see some happy moments. Bruce and Selina had a three-second kiss and then it was curtains. Couple this with the apparent bizarre decision to have Selina paralyzed and this leaves us with a setup for a fifth season that may prove really frustrating.

When it comes to Barbara, she can no longer be viewed as anything but a satire of the worst kind of millennial, entitled female supremacist. Nobody but a deranged thirteen-year-old could take her seriously as a female icon. Maybe that's the point, but I sort of wish the show didn't have to quite so inflammatory and on-the-nose about it.

If there is one good story in this installment, it's Penguin, Butch, and Tabitha. It's good because as I've said repeatedly, there's no way that Oswald would just forgive Tabitha for murdering his own mother years ago. It's been so long the audience has mostly forgotten, but for the show to ring honest, there have to be consequences.

Problem is, the show allows the Penguin to have his revenge in a manner leaving no permanent consequences whatsoever, and so it all feels strangely hollow anyway. Once again, Gotham decides to kill off one of the characters on the show who's effectively immortal. It doesn't even have to show any triggering scene of Ozzie bludgeoning Tabby to death like he did her brother. Hey, Butch is a big old hulk, he can take it. Essentially what this story doubles as is as a vehicle for woman-pain, rekindling the animosity between Oz and Tabs in service of yet-another stillborn future confrontation before Solomon Grundy will rise from the dead good as new.

Where does this leave Gotham for the fifth and final season?

To quote Barbara Kean in her most endearing dream sequence, "hell if I know!" The city is in flames. Most character arcs and relationships are dead or reset. I'm unsure if Gotham's writers will manage to turn out anything that won't stink of a rehash.

Finally, it leaves you with one seriously damaged reviewer. I'm sorry for the poor quality of this review. Repeatedly, this show, which I so dearly love at the peak of its form, has driven me so furious over the last two years that I feel I have to give you advance notice. I'm not sure if I can cover it anymore.

2 comments:

Tao Jones T.jones said...

Ok I doubt Butch is coming back. It be stupid to bring him back as Grundy again after everything thst has happend and it would rob Oswald of his revenge. Thst said, Oswald should have kept tabby prisoner and tortured her. But the writers want to continue the tabby/Barb relationship, which is completely stupid.

Thomas Ijon Tichy said...

I am copying a comment I made on reddit to explain my reasoning.

"Dear ladydmaj,

I'm sorry too.

I will not rule out that I will write more Gotham material - either if we get no reviewer for Doux, if I feel the show improves, or both. But, I can't keep up reviewing a show on a regular basis if it takes me a month to get anything written because of the foul taste in my mouth. Writing features, on the other hand, may be an option. In my opinion those have always been my strongest pieces.

I also think the quality of my reviews has deteriorated sharply. Of course I blame the quality of the show to some extent but there's probably an element of being burned out. I work a lot nowadays.

My schedule right now consists of two DS9 episodes, then I have signed up to review the pilot of Titans. If I like it I'll keep covering it.

Take care, and well, the "goodbye" comment may have been overly dramatic... I'm sure you haven't seen the last of me."