What Goes Up, Must Come Down | Gotham “Balloonman” Review
As we continue our ascent into Gotham, it’s clear that Gotham city is far more corrupt than we could have ever imagined, and we get our first vigilante in Gotham.
Vigilantism is the staple of Gotham, and we were given quite a comical look at the vigilante, Balloonman. Posing as a food cart vendor, the Balloonman gets close to his victims and connects them to weather balloon; I swear I’m not making this up. It’s weird to think that this new villain fits into the universe, considering the most recent villains in Batman were ruthless murders. Alas, later in the episode, we understand that what goes up, must come down. To add to the comedic value of the episode, a woman crossing the street stares up at one of Balloonman victims and just watches the body coming towards her. Through experience, if you ever see an object getting bigger and bigger, move!
The Vigilantism shows that the citizens of Gotham are happy that someone is actually trying to clean the streets. But, as Young Bruce Wayne points out, his gesture made him the criminal. It’s a neat idea, seeing Bruce start to learn that, although this guy killed criminals, by doing so he became that which he tried to rid the streets. Thus, the values of what soon will be Batman begin to take shape. As Bruce Wayne begins to define his beliefs, other characters does the same, although in far more devious ways.
Cobblepot finally makes his way back home, and after seeing crime run rampant across the city just as he arrives, would rather be in no other place. Of course, he gets spotted shortly thereafter and does what he usually does and shanks the guy shortly there after. The rest of the episode shows Cobblepot getting a job, after killing a guy for his shoes. The hiring process in Gotham must be quite lenient. But, it is not the job that piques Cobblepots interest but the people of which he encounters. David Zayas, Angel Cabrera on Dexter, makes his debut as crime boss Sal Maroni and leaves quite the impression on dear Cobblepot. The interaction between the two is great and further solidifies that Cobblepot is the main reason to tune in to this show week in and week out. Quite honestly, it could be titled, The Rise Of The Penguin, considering he is the keystone that holds this show together. Capping off the episode, once again was the Penguin at Jim’s doorstep. What a chilling ending!
As corrupt and villainous as Gotham is, this episode does a great job of showing that there is light in the darkness, however faint it may be. When Gordon and Bullock were attempting to detain the Balloonman, Bullock was going to let the Balloonman suffer the same fate as his victims. But, Gordon couldn’t become the criminal and standby and watch another murder go down in Gotham. He jumps on the balloon with him and forces Bullock to shoot it down, which he does. Thus, we are shown that Gotham has one decent cop, because Bullock surely isn’t one of them.
The corruption in Gotham is no joke, and that could be the show’s downfall. The way it is portrayed in the show, it would take far more than one honest Detective to maintain the city, let alone save it from its eventual demise. It’s amazing the city is still standing, considering there’s little to no resistance to the scum of Gotham. We do get a good look at the true underbelly of Gotham with the mob bosses, but really they don’t do much to sway us into thinking they are important or worthwhile. Hopefully the introduction of Maroni pulls this mob boss action (or lack thereof) into some coherent picture because right now, there’s little reason to become invested in that side plot.
Gotham is clearly still trying to find its stride. It’s great that they’ve kept the addition of more characters to a minimum, but the pacing is still a little off, and they have to give us a better reason to care about these characters. It’s crazy that the character that I’m most invested in is Cobblepot, he is the reason I continue to come back, he’s that good! Not a bad episode, but not as strong as last weeks offering either.
+ Showing Bruce Wayne start to craft his ideals was neat
+ Gordon also shows that the whole town is bad, but he doesn’t have to be
– Gotham is a cesspool and well past saving
– Pacing was a bit weird, would be more effective if it was a procedural, a la Smallville
– Mob Boss story still seems inconsequential