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Gotham: Trespassers

Barbara: "Here he comes, Gotham. Your judge. Your jailer. Your most hated son. Have at him!"

I'm so relieved, for a moment there, I thought Gotham was really going to try and convince me that Barbara sincerely blamed Gordon for the death of Tabitha, while choosing to ignore the fact that Penguin was the one that stabbed Tabitha, and that Barbara had just as clear a shot as Gordon did to execute Penguin in that moment as well. Almost had me there Gotham, you little trickster, you!

No, by the end of 'Trespassers', Barbara has taken the time to clear her head and decides to temporarily work with Gordon until Penguin is down for the count. At any point earlier in the series, I probably would have critiqued some characters for such an abrupt 180-degree change of heart, but with only so little time left for Gotham, at this point I'm just relieved to see something unconventional for the series. I can't remember the last time Barbara and Gordon were actually on-screen together working towards a mutual goal since the very first season. So if the end of 'Trespassers' is indicating that an alliance is brewing between the GCPD and the Sirens, that's fine with me, especially since it seems Barbara (and the showrunners) has dropped the whole 'men-are-the-only-problem' shtick.

The plot this week is pretty much split between Gordon's and Bruce's separate journeys. Gordon and Bullock attempt to rescue a horde of abducted and orphaned children being forced by some crime gangs that model their masks after the marketing for The Purge to dig tunnels. In the process of rescuing the tykes, Gordon and Bullock briefly take refuge in a building where they cross paths with Orphan and Mother, before a final shootout with the gangs ends abruptly thanks to Barbara's assistance. Bruce meanwhile, in search of a potential cure for Selina's paralysis, goes looking for 'The Witch', who turns out be a mysterious assailant lurking in a greenhouse and is capable of ensnaring males with vine – it's Poison Ivy. How it took Bruce longer than any of us watching to puzzle that out is beyond me. Color me flabbergasted when I saw that Ivy was still being played by Peyton List, considering Gotham recasts the character faster than a black marlin closing in on a cephalopod for lunch.

The best I can say about what Gotham accomplishes this week is the world-building. As grim the circumstances may be for some civilians, I like seeing how different sectors of the city have become corrupted as a result of being cut off from the rest of civilization (and how it's also affecting their dress codes). I also enjoy the weekly dose of Gordon admirably throwing the U.S. Government's hypocrisy back in their face via speakerphone. By the end of 'Trespassers' run though, all that's really changed is that Barbara's now an ally to the GCPD and Selina can walk again. The fact remains is that 'Trespassers' all around feels like a step backwards from 'Year Zero'. One of Gotham's greatest features is its magnificent cast, but because half of 'Trespassers' is dedicated to two subplots concerning a villain-of-the-week, some secondary characters and a guest appearance by Ivy, much of its main cast - Selina, Lee, Penguin, Nygma, Alfred, Jeremiah - are all either pushed to the side or are exempt completely. Similar to how Season 3 made Oswald Mayor of Gotham, or how Season 4 showed just how many were being affected by Oswald licensing crime, Season 5 setting up No Man's Land should have had the potential to weave together its entire talented cast into a single narrative, yet with this week's episode, I'm a tad concerned that the showrunners seemed to have forgotten that nifty little gambit.

What's more, why can't the medicine Bruce acquires from Ivy for Selina just be medicine? Ivy insists the treatment may also unleash a user's 'dark angels' and change them from the inside-out into something else, and other mystical things one might expect to see penned in a J.K. Rowling novel. Is all this rhetoric meant to imply that the medicine will somehow enhance Selina into something more than human? Into a brooding she-devil? I know it's practically futile to compare adaptations with their source material sometimes, but it just strikes me as something that's not broken, so there's no need for any fixing; part of Catwoman's appeal is that in many ways, she's an inverse of Batman – just an ordinary woman trained nearly to the peak of physical fitness without an underlying need to be superhuman.

'Trespassers' is a narrative misfire for me, but if you think about it, that's a fitting metaphor too, given the average accuracy of these GCPD cops and their handguns.

Aaron Studer loves spending his time reading, writing and defending the existence of cryptids because they can’t do it themselves.

1 comment:

  1. I would love it if the man-hating bs went away. Come on show, you can do it.
    Selina walks and I'm reminded of Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman and her becoming.
    So wheres Lee? Alive and altered?


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