Admittedly, Gotham is not the most consistent of shows. There are times that it seems lost and episodes can turn into a confusing, over the top mess. However, the show is blessed with some solid characters and actors and when it focuses on its strength and tightens up its story lines, wonderful things happen. In the finale of this mini three episode plot arc, “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies” delivers in every way possible, building tension, characters and story in a way that made for an episode that might have been the best this series has ever seen.
While it has been fascinating to watch Cameron Monaghan at work, I was beginning to wonder if his amazing work as Jerome/The Joker was going to overshadow the show. Thankfully, David Mazouz stepped up as Bruce Wayne and delivered a fantastic performance, not just in his showdown with Jerome but in moving one step closer to his transformation into Batman. Watching Bruce come to grips with who he is now and his uncertain future was very moving, especially in his scenes with Alfred. The chemistry between Sean Pertwee and David Mazouz has always been solid but this week they take it to the next level and it was great to watch. Jerome has been the perfect enemy for Bruce, pushing him to become more aware of what evil really is and what he must be willing to do, or not to do, in order to stop it.
This story line alone would have made this episode great but thankfully Gotham decided to resolve the ongoing Nigma/Oswald love/hate relationship as well. I use the term ‘resolve’ loosely however, as nothing is ever what it seems in this show. While these two eventually have their own wonderful head to head moment, with some interesting results, it was good to see Oswald get back some of his crazy mojo. Both Cory Michael Smith as The Riddler and Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin are excellent in this episode and you really feel the pain and anguish that both characters are dealing with right now.
Even though it was not nearly as dramatic, The Court of Owls did play an important role in this episode. What they plan to do with the Bruce Wayne doppelganger and what part Jim Gordon’s Uncle Frank (James Remar) plays in this seemingly endless cloak and dagger stuff remains to be seen. It does seem like they are preparing for something big though, which is good news for fans, bad news for the good guys of Gotham.
Speaking of good guys, where was Jim Gordon in all of this? Well, he was in the episode, and he and Bullock had their hands full with the craziness going on in the city but thankfully the writers did not feel the need to make Gordon the center of attention for once and let the story line play out as they should, without his interference. Don’t get me wrong, Gordon is important to the city of Gotham and the show overall but having him in the background once in a while so the talent on this show can flex their acting muscles is a very good idea.
This episode really had everything a Gotham fan should ever want, Joker, Penguin, The Riddler and some wonderful foreshadowing concerning our young Batman to be. Gotham has delivered maybe its finest episode in its three seasons, now the question remains if it can keep this momentum going.
Five stars out of five
- Actors give some of their finest performances to date
- Wonderfully written and executed episode
- Violent, chaotic and emotional
- Can this show possibly continue this level of excellence?