BRUCE | Gotham “Damned If You Do” Review
The 2015 fall TV season is finally upon us, and we get the chance to delve back into the gritty streets of Gotham with episode one, “Damned If You Do.” A series that started pretty average in season one, turned a corner around midseason and changed from the show “we’ll DVR” to a “must watch.” So, can Gotham return to form in its sophomore season, or does it start as slowly as the series began?
The show picks up right where it left off as Bruce and Alfred venture down to the presumed Batcave. The two bicker and argue about how to open it and what the code could possibly be. To their chagrin, they try every password they can think of to no avail. So, take a guess who you think would come up with the idea to make a bomb to blow the door open? Of course Bruce is the one wheeling in bags of fertilizer to crack the door. Their banter is quite hilarious throughout, and Alfred obliges and says that he can’t let Bruce make the bomb himself.
They blow the safe and find a letter written by Bruce’s late father. It goes onto explain that if he is reading it, that his father met an untimely demise. The way this played out was equal parts intriguing and saddening. I feel this is Bruce’s moment where he turns into the man we know of in the future. The key quote that was in the letter said,”You can’t have both happiness and the truth. I beg you, please choose happiness, unless you feel a calling, a true-calling.” It’s definitely a hair-raising line, and I can’t wait to see Bruce’s journey into becoming Batman.
As for the fallout after the huge deaths of Maroni and Fish, things have certainly changed around Gotham. Bullock has quit the force and is now, of all things a bartender. It perfectly fits Bullock though even with him being 32 days sober. As for Jim Gordon, he was demoted by Loeb and is now a crossing guard. Yes, a crossing guard. Things do get interesting for him when a guy calling himself Zaardon pulls out a samurai sword. Luckily, Gordon takes him down and cuffs him. But maybe it wasn’t just luck after all?
I’m sure you remember the scene in The Dark Knight where The Joker intentionally gets himself arrested. Well, Zaardon did the same thing here. Zaardon, most appropriately, was placed in Arkham along with with old pals Jerome and Barbara. The dynamic between the two is interesting because Jerome is so good at using people to his advantage. He sort of teaches Barbara the way things work in Arkham. Once Zaardon arrives and starts spouting his nonsense, blue gas starts flowing out of his mouth. The prisoners are all suddenly blind-folded in an office room. A jail-break at Arkham, who would’ve thought?
The duo that broke them out are new stars, Theo (James Frain) and Tabitha (Jessica Lucas ) Galavan. We won’t spoil their identities just yet, but they will definitely be on Gotham for the long run. Theo talks about needing someone that resonates power, and Jerome says it fits him to a T, quite laughable because he was clearly talking about Barbara. Richard Sionis speaks out and promptly gets choked with a whip by Tabitha, and she stabs him right there.
Through the dialogue and word usage, this seems like it could be some form of the Suicide Squad, which would further our suspicions that Barbara is some incarnation of Harley Quinn.
Last but not least we have Cobblepot, the self appointed king of Gotham. With all the mob bosses gone, it’s time for Cobblepot to take over. However, things aren’t going smoothly for him. People don’t want to pay their debts that were originally owed to Falcone. So, who does he convince to do his bidding? No other than Jim!
Jim needs Loeb out of office so that he can return to his place as a detective, and of course Cobblepot has the means to get it done. But, it’s going to cost Gordon. It’s simple; Jim collects the debt and Loeb is done. But with Cobblepot, things are never straight forward. He knew the debtor would run off, forcing Jim to fight his thugs, steal the money and kill him.
The twist is interesting because, at first, Jim wasn’t going to do it but his visit with Bruce convinced him that sometimes you have to do bad things for the right outcome. Things do work as Jim is eventually reinstated after Loeb resigns. Cobblepot was able to force his resignation with one of the creepiest characters on the show, Victor Zsasz. There’s a scene where Zsasz uses a decapitated head from Loeb’s guard as a puppet; it’s ridiculously funny and creepy at the same time.
Speaking of creepy, Barbara manages to get a cellphone in Arkham and uses it calls Jim. She tries to convince Jim that it was Leslie who attacked her. Leslie tells Jim that they can just leave, but Jim admits that he did a very bad thing. I love this scene because it juxtaposes the craziness of Barbara with the presumed normalness of Leslie. And then there’s Jim, just smack dab in the middle of that line.