There is no denying that Gotham can get lost in its own comic universe, trying too hard to please too many. However this week, “The Demon’s Head” showed just how powerful Gotham can be, how dark and twisted a world/city it really is and so that even when there are minor missteps there is something of substance there to soften the blow.
Bruce and Alfred take their hunt for the secrets behind the knife from last week to a historian at the Natural History Museum. Things go wrong fast, thanks to Ra’s al Ghul and we soon see Bruce in a guardian type role with the historian’s grandson Alex that is not dissimilar to the relationship between Alfred and Bruce. (Of course, you knew as soon as Bruce and Alfred left the knife and promised to come check on the historians progress the next day there would be trouble)
This new role for Bruce offers up some interesting insight into his character and even more is revealed when Bruce realizes that he already has committed to a bigger role, that being protecting Gotham. Poor Alex gets caught up in the madness that is Bruce’s life and what happens next was a defining moment the life of eventual caped crusader. One wonders how much damage this choice will do to Bruce in the short term and how it will play into whatever twisted game Ra’s al Ghul is playing.
Speaking of Ra’s al Ghul, Alexander Siddig seems to be having a great time playing this character and it really shows this week. True evil and power come in many different shades and sizes and Siddig captures the true essence of just how bad Ra’s is, even when he is playing him straight, like in his confrontation with Gordon at GCPD. What his endgame is I cannot say but the smirk on his face at the end of the episode was quite chilling and I eagerly await the chaos that will soon be unleashed.
The lighter side of the episode actually involved Penguin and The Riddler, finally facing off in a hilarious back and forth that showed just how different the lives of these two characters have changed in such a short period of time. Riddler is indeed a few sandwiches short of a picnic, I mean he was crazy anyway but now his freeze-dried brain can’t even come up with a decent joke. Penguins decision, in the end, will come back to haunt him, it was the classic bad guy blunder, but if it makes way for some more great moments between these two then I’m all for it.
There was also a nice little bit with Sofia Falcone, showing off some skills she surely learned from her father. Penguin is going to have his hands full with her as well, even though right now he thinks he has the upper hand. Not only that, but she’s sleeping with Jim Gordon so she’s basically got the pulse of the city at her fingertips, now it becomes a question of what she intends to do next.
Great storylines, wonderful moments with multiple characters, all shrouded in a cloak of darkness…this is Gotham at its best. If only things could stay this way, what a season we would have.
Four stars out of five
- Truly dark and sinister, when Gotham really shines
- Alexander Siddig is terrific as Ra's al Ghul
- Penguin and Riddler are a match made in crazy ass heaven
- Gordon is still the worst cop I've ever seen