To say that that the first episode in season two of Gotham was a complete success would definitely be a stretch. In fact, on a few occasions it felt like I was watching the same mistakes repeating themselves from season one. However, some important seeds were planted and I didn’t come out of watching the episode frustrated and scratching my head, so I guess that’s a start.
The episode, entitled “Damned If You Do…”, picks up a month after the season one finale. Bruce is attempting to break into his father’s secret bunker, Gordon is a now a traffic cop and playing house with Dr. Leslie Thompkins , Barbara is settling in to Arkham and making new friends, Bullock is off the force and tending bar and Penguin is in the middle of putting the stamp on his new empire. These are good starting points and we all know things are going to change, it’s just a shame that the show feels the need to make changes with some almost comic jumps in logic combined with flashes of brutal violence.
Some of the characters in Arkham are fun to watch, especially the interactions between Barbara and Jerome Valeska, a.k.a. The Joker. I would have loved a few more episodes of listening to these two chat but sadly, circumstances change quickly in this show and that won’t be happening. Still, there is hope for some fun with these two in the future.
The Penguin and Gordon continue their dance of favors but at least this time, Gordon might have to pay a heavy price for what he accomplished, unlike the other favors that seemed to have little impact in season one. The dynamic between these two has a lot of potential and my hold the key to success for the show down the road.
We also get a peek at the continued unravelling of Edward Nygma, a.k.a. The Riddler, talking to himself in a mirror and basically letting us all know that he is going to going to be trouble very soon.
As most are probably well aware of by now, the showrunners behind Gotham have labelled this season ‘Rise of the Villains’. Watching the first episode is indeed a confirmation that the villains are going to dominate many episodes. This is not a bad thing, except for the fact that it is going to take a huge effort to not make this season a big, bloated mess.
The characters and plots can take twists and turns that has no basis in logic and asks the viewer to take giant leaps of faith and come along for the ride. We see Alfred lecture Bruce about his growing obsession with his dad’s secret room, saying maybe he is not ready for what is behind the locked door. Yet in almost the same breath, gives him the proper ingredients to help build a bomb and blow the door open.
Perhaps the show’s biggest challenge and weakness from last year and now this episode is still not being focused on what direction it really wants to go. It moves from being strange and campy to incredibly evil and violent at a moment’s notice, making this viewer wonder just what exactly they have planned in the larger scheme of things.
Still, there were some positives in the premiere and I’m hoping that it will lead to some stronger story lines to avoid the constant head scratching this viewer went through last year in trying to figure out what kind of show I was actually watching.
Three and a half stars out of five
- Gordon owing Penguin a favor that might actually have some consequences
- Crazy Barbara and Jerome
- long plot arcs
- show still suffers from 'crazy logic' syndrome
- The mix of campy and violence is still uneven