The Wolf of Blood Street
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Gotham was improving and this week is the unfortunate example of regression that I was hoping ardently the narrative would avoid. The stark irony of Gotham that has become more apparent than ever is that the very idea the show was built around is crumbling apart while another aspect of the show is proving to be its saving grace. The entire plot of the crime lords going after one another with Cobblepot as a sort of unifying conduit is absolutely fascinating. It’s become obvious that that aspect of the show is where the writers’ attentions truly goes to. Where the attention crumbles and falls apart is when the show tries to focus on the criminal of the week. It’s not as if some of the criminals aren’t intriguing characters of their own, it’s just that more often than not they don’t have a large impact on the overall narrative and that’s a problem. If you want to have random criminals, go for it, but when after a couple of episodes it fails to actually build up to something more crucial to Gotham and its characters, someone on the show’s team needs to realize that that approach isn’t working and get rid of it. Or at least write those aspects into the narrative in a germane way that makes those scenes feel consequential and not superfluous filler.
The villain of the week is basically your typical Wall Street ass who has a superiority complex where he believes that he’s simply better than everyone else and has seemingly developed a taste for a mix between The Hunger Games and Fight Club while he’s at it. Okay, that’s stretching it, but you get the idea. Gotham’s elite has been a focus of the show before and perhaps one of the greatest strengths within its narrative, but for some reason it just doesn’t work her. For one, the whole “fight to the death” thing is way too reminiscent of one of the worst scenes this show’s ever done with the Fish Mooney’s obviously-sexual-in-nature-but-not-sexual auditions, which certainly isn’t helpful. Nor is it helpful because of how obviously uninspired and bland it is. But for all of the set-up and premise, the storyline is washed away in the blandest of manners possible, which makes you wonder why you bothered with those roughly twenty or so minutes of your life to begin with. The one sliver of hope here is that GCPD is suddenly competent again. But even within that sliver is the realization that if that competency is going to become reliant on rousing Bullock speeches, we may be in a significant amount of trouble.
Where Gotham shines and frankly prevents me from giving up on this show as a whole is when you have Mooney, Falcone, Maroni, and Cobblepot embroiled in each other’s narrative struggles. There’s an incredible admiration the show aims for and achieves with its acute understanding and exploration of some of the vilest men and women in this universe. After a few episodes where I frankly didn’t care about basically anyone besides Cobblepot, the show has managed to give these villain overlords a sense of layered characterization where it’s now possible to buy them as actual human beings worth giving a damn about. And in between this personal drama is the one place where the tonal imbalance of Gotham actually becomes balanced and consistent. We can understand at last what drives Mooney and Cobbelpot besides chewing the scenery and the show is all the better for it. Unfortunately, there are few precious others to whom the show has offered the equivalent courtesy. Gotham has promise in some areas and when it displays those as well as it does this week, the areas where it falters in comparison totally fall apart. I’m still hanging on nevertheless, waiting to see where this goes. Until next week, folks.
Note: Sorry about the short and late review. I just saw the episode this morning and I’ve been so busy it seems odd that I had time to catch this show this week at all.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+Surprisingly, the show even manages to tie in Bruce Wayne and Alfred into its roster of well-developed characters. Alfred helping Bruce knock that kid out was pretty great. While I didn’t care
-The show still has no idea what to with Selina Kyle and it’s so evident that it’s painful
-Same for Barbara
-Music this week is terrible
Title: The Mask
Written By: John Stephens
Directed By: Paul A. Edwards
Image Courtesy: IGN