Rule # 1 | Gotham “The Mask” Review
In the latest episode of Gotham, “The Mask,” the office meets Fight Club in another scene reminiscent of the “tryouts” in The Dark Knight. There’s nothing like watching people beat each other up with common office supplies like printer toner and staples. So you want the promotion huh? Well, you’re going to have to fight for it, literally. Although a bit overboard, it does fit nicely within the whole framework of Gotham, even though it’s not necessarily legal there either.
This episode not only started off with some nice Fight Club action, it also gave us a much better look into why Bruce Wayne becomes the symbol of hope for Gotham. After being convinced to go back to school by Alfred, Master Bruce quickly learns that getting along with all the other kids won’t be quite so easy. At the prep school, Tommy Elliott, a name which will be familiar to fans of the comic, asked Bruce details about his parents’ deaths. Bruce said he didn’t want to answer them, nor should he have, and Bruce essentially slaps him in the face. Wayne tells Alfred and explains that he’s always angry, and proceeds to do what any normal parent would, head on over to Elliott’s house and allow Wayne to confront him. While Wayne gives him a nice beating, Alfred says to Tommy that he should be aware that Alfred allowed him to almost kill you. This is what should really worry Elliott.
The scene did a great job teaching Bruce Wayne a great lesson, that Alfred only allowed the beating because he deserved it, thus being the seeds that will grow into Batman’s overall character. It also forces you to remember that, while his methods may be a little unconventional, Alfred is really the only thing that Bruce Wayne has in his life, and it also stresses the reasoning as to how Alfred is Wayne’s moral compass. Even in The Dark Knight Trilogy, Alfred was always there to guide Bruce Wayne. Alfred and Wayne finally had a great episode, and I’d be amiss to say I thought the rest of the cast would fare as well as last week’s episode, but surprisingly they had.
Gordon and Bullock are tasked at finding out why numerous people are ending up in the morgue riddled with ink toner, staples and an array of other office supplies. As they are trying to come up with leads, Nygma decides to start on the autopsy himself. His excitement is quickly met with disdain when the lead coroner scolds him for doing this again. Nygma’s curiosity just cannot be helped, and this episode shows every character going off on him and not allowing him to help, as he feels he can. Later in the episode, Nygma feels he broke the case, only to realize that the police have already made the connection. Nygma’s scenes are present just enough to develop his character while not taking away from the star of the season, Cobblepot.
Cobblepot is up to his usual in this episode, twisting people up, and taking them out. This time, Cobblepot had his aim on Moony’s new umbrella holder. After having been stabbed with a broach he stole for Fish, he tortured and killed the new umbrella boy. I feel the meeting with Fish was just to get knowledge of whom to attack out of her henchmen, so conniving as usual. The tension remains, and it really doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. Fish has her hands full with Cobblepot, and Liza is proving to be a bit shaky on the terms of their agreement. Although she did go through with drugging Falcone, which allowed her to steal the ledger papers, it’s pretty unclear to how this went down. I have this inkling that she may have double crossed Fish, although that’s clearly conjecture.
Rounding out the episode is a strong showing from Gordon. Although he did get caught by The Mask, he held his own and showed some nice brute force. Single-handedly dispatching a handful of the assailants and knocking out the samurai sword wielding masked man, Gotham finally has its savior. While Gordon was strong, Barbara was incredibly weak. In one scene, Gordon was frantically chasing down a lead and cut the call briefly and hung up. So Barbara being Barabara, she leaves him and tosses a note near the front door. Really? A guy is trying to single-handedly hold Gotham together, and you are mad because he didn’t have a tender conversation. It’s strange that she keeps coming and going. But, she has to understand that Gotham is basically in shambles, and he is their savior.
Gotham is finally doing a great job of starting to round out character arcs while not forcing easter eggs in our faces. Where they used to name drop for the sake of doing so, it appears they found the right balance of characterizing characters that will make an appearance later in the season. Sure, there are often still weird scenes with Barbara, and Moony still seems to over act here and there. Overall, the show is finally getting on track.
+ Gordon showing his muscle
+ Tensions between Moony and Cobblepot
+ Cobblepot’s ruthlessness
+ Nygma getting some nice scenes while not being overbearing
– Barbara coming and going per usual