Gotham 1.12: “What The Little Bird Told Him” Review

God’s Gonna Cut You Down

A Television Review by Akash Singh

NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!

In one of Gotham’s best episodes (that’s not saying much, but hey, I’ll take improvement where I can get it), the underground war plot finally begins to move forward in a somewhat logical and consistent manner. Gordon and Bullock try this week to gleam some semblance of competency for the Gotham PD by attempting to capture the Electrocutioner and bring him to justice. They have a time frame of twenty-four hours, a typical ticking bomb device that the show is nevertheless able to use to at the very least decent effect. There is, however, a logical inconsistency that the show continues to lose ahold of, as if it’s afraid to pick anything and stick to it. Think of a child at a pizza place who simply can’t decide what topping to get. He simply continues to fathom for what seems to be days on end. At last he is told that the optimum number of pizza toppings is, let’s say, three. After deciding the three toppings that are pretty great on the pizza, instead he goes for the jugular and selects every topping available at the shop. The result is a less cohesive pizza that simply can’t decide what it wants to be. Is it spicy, sweet, a bit of both? You simply can’t tell because the competing flavors are completely overwhelming the finished product.

That’s a bit like Gotham, if you excuse the messy metaphor. The best example of how much this show needs to grasp the concept is the case of the Electorcutioner himself. Considering how this is a holdover from last week, it brings a sense of forward momentum to the proceeding (even if it ends up being excruciatingly ersatz). He’s an interesting character and one of the few moments of good direction, his opening shot immediately sears itself into memory by becoming one of the best in the show’s history. And then he opens his mouth. There needs to be a conference for the writers of Gotham or something, because so rarely has a character with such an imposing presence and atmosphere said so many idiotic things. It’s supposed to be menacing, but if you start chortling uncontrollably, know that you have sympathizers out there. And the resolution to this entire chase is simply underwhelming. It’s kind of like going on a massive journey towards an awesome destination only to discover that Floo Powder was actually real and you had to suffer through an obnoxious flight for no reason. It’s irritating and supremely deflating.

Cobblepot, Mooney, and Falcone form what is easily the show’s most delicious and enticing dynamic. There’s a sultry display of fireworks every time one of those wonderful scenes involving them that makes just about everything else on this show look supremely lackluster in comparison. The writing for these characters is so much sharper that the mere mention of any of those names between the three manages to ruffle up enough tension to almost forgive all of the other irritations this show offers on a regular basis. The strongest performances lie here, embedded within the darkened labyrinths of Gotham’s nefarious tunnels. The stakes are palpable, so even when the vaguely stupid subplot with Lisa reaches its foregone, ugly conclusion, the episode milks a surprising amount of effective suspense from it. It’s as if there’s an entirely different unit within this show that collaborates on this segment, able to provide the sharp storytelling this show deserves and requires. As it is, I can’t recall a development on this nearly as thrilling as Mooney being captured by Falcone. Bring on next week.

Great

8/10

Title: What The Little Bird Told Him

Written By: Ben Edlund

Directed By: Eagle Egilsson

Image Courtesy: Critic Too

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