Gotham Episode 17: Red Hood Review

Gotham, is a wretched mess of a city. Plagued by a seemingly endless stream of criminals and gangs, near unavoidable poverty and an aura of utter chaos, it’s a miracle that people still live there. The people that do live there however, are not content to simply watch their city fall to ruin around them and get buried in the landslide. We’ve already seen an instance of vigilante justice, all the way back in ‘The Balloonman’ where one man took it upon himself to punish the corrupt and the criminal. So it’s no surprise that we’ve now got another episode where the citizens fight back, like white blood cells in the city’s immune system. In all the glory however, it’s difficult to resist the urge to take centre stage and revel in the spotlight. Taking from the rich, and giving to the poor. A modern day Robin Hood. Some people don’t like being Little John however, and would kill to get an opportunity at being the forefront of the revolution. Eventually, all that will be left is a bloody, red mess that can rival the cities. It may not be the noble hero you expect under the hood.

In this episode, a new gang is all the rage in Gotham: The Red Hood Gang. Rising to the summit of popularity after just one bank heist due to their leader’s showy attitude and free money handouts, the villains in this episode may not be big, but they sure are fun to watch! Or at least, they were. At the start of the episode, we see one of the members of the gang put on a red hood, make a big show out of the robbery and survive six bullets at point blank range, leading him to believe there is something special about the hood. Portrayed by Michael Goldsmith, Gus Floyd is an absolutely amazing character the second he steps onto the screen. I couldn’t help but get carried away with all his exaggerated actions and his cocky, flash-like voice. After just a minute of watching him, I silently prayed that he would later become his own, big villain in the series. My hopes were crushed when he didn’t even get halfway through the episode. Simply shot by one of his partners in crime for the hood, his death seemed like an extreme waste of acting talent. All the other wearers of the hood attempt to replicate his maniacal, almost possessed way of acting yet they only manage to fall flat on their face.

Suffice to say, I wasn’t a fan of this week’s case but it was still miles better than the likes of ‘The Mask’ and last episode’s case. Even the episode itself seemed realise that it wasn’t all that interesting after Floyd died as the case took a back seat to develop Bruce and Alfred this episode. We haven’t seen much in the way of development for Alfred so far. He’s just always been there, always being a badass, and I’ve been completely fine with that. A bit of characterisation is more than welcome though. One of Alfred’s oldest friends, a fellow SAS officer called Reggie is struggling to recover on the streets after losing his wife and turns to Alfred for help. Of course, both Bruce and his butler are more than happy to let him stay for a while though it seems that he and Alfred don’t exactly see eye to eye.

Shortly after arriving, Reggie decides to test what Alfred has been teaching Bruce in an incredibly brutal ‘mock’ fight. To put it simply, Reggie seems to have major issues. He tells Bruce to let out his anger and keeps egging on Bruce to punch him harder and harder to the point where he starts bleeding. Alfred obviously isn’t pleased with it and although Reggie apologises, it’s clear he doesn’t regret his actions. Reggie acts as a large contrast to Alfred; while Alfred wants to forget his past as a soldier and put his skills to a noble use, Reggie seems to embrace it in all its gory glory. Posing the question “Why are you hiding from who you really are?” to Alfred, it’s clear they’re both very different and very similar at the same time(don’t think I’ve forgotten the time you helped Bruce beat the shit out of one of his bullies Alfred). They have some good moments and after that ending which I’d be the scum of the earth for spoiling, I hope he becomes a more permanent character.

Penguin’s club still isn’t faring much better after the last episode. Apart from the decline in customers, the club is now completely out of beer. Luckily, brainwashed Butch Gilzean is there to save the day! Thankfully, the torture he underwent under Zsasz hasn’t affected him that much and he still has some fragments of his personality. One of these fragments is his love for Fish Mooney’s club and the desire not to see it face ruin. So, he manipulates some policemen to get some beer off Maroni. Unfortunately, his love for Fish herself is completely gone. Even Penguin admits that he misses her presence in some way as an opponent yet Butch sadly doesn’t even seem to hold the tiniest semblance of affection for her anymore.

On the subject of Fish, not much came of her appearances in this episode… except the part where she lost her goddamn eye! Obviously, the leader of the prison don’t want to play ball with her and attempt to take her eyes out to be sold. Rather than allow that to happen, Fish ripped her eye out as any sane person would before crushing it under her foot. She went from 1 to 100 in the blink of an eye this episode and it had quite the shocking impact on me. The rest of the scenes are pointless however. She talks to the leader and refuses to co-operate with him… so he decides to send her for a shower to try and butter her up then tries to take her eyes out immediately after. What was the point of that? If she’s causing trouble, you could easily kill her. Losing one cattle is better than losing all of them. I’ll never get the mindsets of some of the characters on this show.

Overall, Gotham still seems to be in somewhat of a slump. The Red Hood case was interesting for about five minutes before it became another forgettable case of the week. Apart from Fish’s brief lapse of sanity, none of her scenes were all that meaningful. Alfred’s and Butch’s parts however, were brilliant and got me invested enough to look past this episode’s flaws and continue watching. At the very least, this was a decent enough episode so long as they don’t sentence Reggie to never appearing again like they seem to have done to Scarecrow. This episode was mostly a setup for what looks like some serious trouble coming Bruce’s way soon and it did a good job of it. I just hope that next episode the pace will pick up a little bit again.


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