Gotham Episode 4: Arkham Review

A question I constantly find myself asking about this show is “Why the hell would you EVER want to live in Gotham?”. Crime is more rampant than the Black Plague in the 14th century and not a single person is safe from it. Not the poor, not the rich. Not the unknown, not the famous. Not those who live in the more well-off parts of the city and not those who live in the slums. As shown in this episode, living in Gotham is like constantly having a target painted on your back. Even the politicians-looking to make changes to the Arkham area of the city-and heck, even the mayor himself, are not safe. The two main gangs of Gotham have very different opinions about what they want to happen to the Arkham district and they don’t mind playing a little dirty to get what they want. So, this episode, Gordon and Bullock are tasked with trying to prevent an all-out gang war between Gotham’s two biggest gangs breaking out and destroying the city. A mysterious assassin seems to be adding fuel to the fire, playing both sides for his own gain. Will Gordon and Bullock be able to stop him in time?

This assassin isn’t the only one taking advantage of the two gangs however. One of the best parts about this episode was, again, Oswald Cobblepot who seems to constantly steal the spotlight like a black hole sucking in all the light. Arkham instantly opens with the continuation of the previous episodes shocking conclusion. Cobblepot enters Gordon’s apartment, introducing himself as one of Gordon’s friend to his girlfriend, Barbara. Considering the last time they met, Jim was supposed to kill him but spared his life, telling him threateningly to never come back to Gotham again, you can imagine how displeased he is to see he hasn’t taken his friendly advice. After taking him outside for a brief confrontation, Cobblepot says he can act as a spy, collecting information on the criminal underworld for him to repay him for sparing his life. He keeps his word later on in the episode so it seems that, like a Lannister, he always pays his debts, especially those of blood. I’m looking forward to seeing where this relationship between the two of them goes. Will Gordon come to regret his decision to spare Penguin later on, or will it prove to be fruitful for him? Whether he likes it or not, it looks like his fate is now entwined with Penguins.

Penguin has been busy, working his way up the notoriety chain in Gotham. This episode does a brilliant job of displaying Penguin’s brutal ruthlessness and disregard for human life. To increase his status in Maroni’s gang-one of the two biggest gangs of Gotham-Oswald hires some crooks to rob the restaurant Penguin works at(owned by Maroni), kill the manager and take the majority of the gang money stored there… except for one, which Penguin pretends to have prevented them from stealing. This works like a charm with Maroni promoting him to the new manager of the restaurant and Penguin gaining Maroni’s trust. Cobblepot has easily become one of my favourite characters and it also seems like he’s quickly become a fan favourite. You can definitely see why with his uncanny behaviour and merciless string of deaths that is sure to continue in future episodes. I guess that’s why the creators decided to make him a secondary or possibly even primary protagonist along with Gordon. I doubt I’ll ever get tired of watching him.

Unfortunately, one of the main parts of this episode I did not like was the idiocy of the characters. It’s no surprise that inhabitants of Gotham are dropping like flies considering the intelligence of the people shown in this episode. First off, the assassin finds the politician he’s being paid to kill and just walks straight up to him, saying he voted and that he has something to show the politician. He then proceeds to take a strange and suspicious looking object out of a case, put it together and ask his bodyguard to hold it in front of his eye, to which he obliges. Are you serious? A random guy comes up to you, a politician and asks your bodyguard to hold a strange device straight in front of one of his most vulnerable parts and your FINE with it? They deserved the blade’s in the eye that killed them. On the subject of the weapon, it’s incredibly impractical, requires assembly, has short range and is made of metal meaning it will easily be detected by metal detectors and scanners. I see no reason why he would use it, and it’s not like we get any backstory to give a reason why. Near the end of the episode, when he tries to assassinate the mayor, he has TWO guns trained on him, Gordon’s and Bullock’s. He then CHARGES THE MAYOR with absolutely no plan of action saying something ‘edgy’ like “An assassin always finishes his job” and is instantly killed off. To say the least, he’s a disappointing and boring villain. I barely even remember his name.

There’s also a part with Penguin later on but because I like him so much, I’m willing to overlook it. On the other hand however, Gotham is starting to improve one of the worst aspects(in my opinion) of its show: Bruce himself. The Arkham plan to build a top-notch mental asylum affects him personally as it’s his parents that came up with the plan in the first place. So when the mayor cancels the plan to prevent the gang war after Jim saves him, Bruce proves he can actually be a developed character. He argues with Gordon, saying that the he thinks everything his parents worked for is being ruined showing his desire to continue his parent’s work of making Gotham a better place to live. What’s this? Some semblance of character and emotion is being portrayed? I only hope this continues in the future of the series.

Finally, we see more of gang leader Fish Mooney as she searches for a girl to act as some kind of ‘weapon’, most likely to use to overtake Falcone. I haven’t really talked about Fish much in my previous reviews but she’s a fascinating character to say the least. She’s one of the few, new characters that were made specifically for the show and didn’t appear in the original comics. She’s cold and cruel, similar to Penguin but is a lot cooler, calm and isn’t triggered every time someone calls her a certain waddling animal. She keeps up appearances and demands respect with an iron fist rather than doing a lot of the dirty work herself like Cobblepot. I enjoy watching her, not as much as Penguin, but she’s still manages to be a compelling character. There was also a bit with Gordon’s girlfriend Barbara, threatening to leave him unless he tells her the truth about everything. Not wanting to get her in trouble, he refuses and it can be assumed she has now left him. I never really found their relationship all that interesting so all I could think was “Well, that didn’t last long.”. Maybe they’ll be more of her in the future or maybe they just decided they disliked her as much as I did and have completely taken her out of the picture. We’ll have to wait and see.

Overall, I had mixed feelings about this episode of Gotham. While it was entertaining to watch Penguin climb up the gang ladder and Bruce is getting more development, the episode was let down slightly by a weak villain and unbelievable actions of some characters. I’m amazed there are still politicians and street thieves alive with some of the downright stupid actions that some of the characters made in this episode. There was also a lack of Selena and Poison Ivy, who was teased in the first episode, yet still hasn’t made another appearance. Suffice to say, this was probably my least favourite episode so far. Not to say it was bad. It was just kind of mildly good. Here’s hoping Gotham will pick back up in the next episode.


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