Gotham 1.03: “The Balloonman” Review

Double Personalities

A Television Review by Akash Singh


Grrrrrrrrrrr. Gotham’s most irritating element is absolutely frustrating. There’s nothing wrong with being campy and gritty at the same time, but this show has no concept whatsoever of subtlety. Everything is so **** over the top, it makes it phenomenally difficult to buy into the moments when things are supposed to be over the top. This is Gotham City and we have a plethora of extreme villains but if everything around them is in the extreme, they don’t stand out, they just sort of uncomfortably blend into the environment around them. We know what will happen in the future with a lot of these characters and it’s extremely unnecessary for Gotham to wink towards that every other scene. It’s a signal that the show feels that it can’t stand on its legs alone.

Vigilantism is one of the most vital threads in the Batman universe, embodied within the titular character himself. It’s a reminder of the corruption in Gotham, but considering that corruption in the show has mired into an open display of sheer ineptitude, it wasn’t the best time to introduce this in the form of the Balloonman, who ties people to weather balloons. It was a fanciful little sequence. We finally get David Zayas’s introduction as Maroni, which is great considering how often his name has been thrown around in the previous two hours.

Meanwhile, the GCPD is openly the most ridiculous and stupid force I’ve seen on any show, and that’s saying something in a landscape where we have the most vapid reality shows in existence. The problem with Gotham and its portrayal of its titular police department is that it’s trying to make Gordon the hero by making everyone else have the equivalent intelligence of the Coyote in the Road Runner cartoons. Needless to say, this approaching isn’t working whatsoever. Bullock refused to investigate a rather fantastical murder because the murder victim in question was a businessman with less than positive ways of working the business. Tbey openly beat basically anybody they want, investigate what they want, talk about secrets so openly it defeats the whole purpose.

The comedy was well done this week at least and the Penguin remains easily the most watchable part of the show. Bruce’s story was integrated well, especially considering the fiasco that was last week. And the hints of Fish versus Falcone are incredibly intriguing. Yes, Gotham is only three episodes in, but this has been a steady decline since the premiere. I believe that this show has the capacity to turn itself around, it just really needs to tune about half of its mechanics. There’s some really good stuff buried in everything here – they just need to clear out the rubble that exists in an irritating plurality. This is a phenomenally intriguing universe that gains strength from the plethora of ways it can be interpreted. But for the future, please can we avoid things that are so on the nose that subtlety seems like a farther reach than a human settlement on Europa in the next twenty years? “There will be more like me, Detective.” God **** it.

Above Average


Title: The Balloonman

Written By: John Stephens

Director: Dermott Downs

Image Courtesy: Screen Crush


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