Gotham 1.13: “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon” Review

The Uptown Assassins

A Television Review by Akash Singh

NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!

Because of ratings, Gotham is coming back for a second season. In all honesty, I find it quite difficult to give a damn. Consistently and for thirteen episodes now, there are flashes of brilliance and subtlety that give fans hope. Great shows have often taken a bit of time to get there and others lose their way before coming resoundingly back and taking those narrative conceits into account, I’ve been astonishingly patient with Gotham. Time and time again, however, this show refuses to grow and become something remotely resembling an intelligent narrative. It is so fastidious in its commitment to being mediocre entertainment that at best is watchable for half of its running time that you just perhaps have to admire how strongly it sticks to its backfiring guns. As a matter of principle, if I find a pilot of a show watchable I will stick with it until the end of the first season. If it has remote promise, I’ll be back for round two. As it is, if the next nine episodes of Gotham continue to tread the line between filler and trash, I won’t be back for season two and The Film Chronicles will cease their reviews of this show.

Welcome Back, Jim Gordon is a dreadful affair with some bright spots of entertainment that momentarily trick you into believing that you are watching a halfway decent show. That momentary trick is an actual ending to a procedural that is well-executed (unlike the splash of water from last week), even if the case itself really isn’t. Gotham’s Achilles Heel (among its many, many faults), is how severely the writing lacks any palpable sense of providing suspense. If Gotham was the first procedural show ever made about a corrupt city, I would be at the very least willing to give it some excuse in that regard. But in an era where there are more Law & Orders and SVUs than frankly necessary, it’s almost cringeworthy how awful the procedurals on this show can be. This week, continuing the trend of awful naming on this show, is about the Uptown Assassins killing off a potential witness while he’s sitting in the waiting room (were the writers listening to a Bruno Mars album and or thinking of hip names for a new designer fashion label?) It’s an exciting premise poorly executed despite a decent amount of effort thrown at the screen, hobbled by a consistent reliance on the destruction of any palatable tension.

There’s one good scene this entire hour (that wouldn’t be a problem if it was a great scene in an otherwise good episode). That moment belongs to Fish Mooney and Jada Pinkett-Smith, who continues to relish every ridiculous thing thrown at her. She chews and thoroughly digests the scenery, which elevates the scene in and of itself while rendering everything else as being even more hideously conducted in hindsight. Mooney within one sequence demonstrates exactly why she is so feared, why she was able to accumulate so much power in the first place. There’s a sharpness to this sequence, a threatening danger emanating from each scene that crackles with absolute fury. There’s never really a question of either of them dying this shortly into the game, especially Cobblepot, but that the show was able to milk out that much tension is impressive. It shows a dedication to determined, resolute storytelling that the rest of the episode lacks, or even the show for that matter. Can the show improve? Yes. Does it look likely? Well, Dexter ended with the titular character becoming a lumberjack, so who knows?

Average

5/10

Title: Welcome Back, Jim Gordon

Written By: Megan Mostyn-Brown

Directed By: Wendey Stanzler

Image Courtesy: IGN

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