Gotham Season 1 Episode 8 Review – ‘The Mask’

Martin Carr reviews the eighth episode of Gotham...

There’s a change in the air. Subconsciously Gotham has come of age. Aside from Jada Pinkett and Corey Michael Smith’s pantomime villainy, there remains little evidence of formulaic police drama. Beneath the surface of this once clichéd animal beats a malevolent heart, carved from granite, etched in stone and poised to pounce. It seems that the once mild mannered cast of actors excluding Mooney and Nygma have literally and metaphorically grown a pair.

 

 

By employing the Wayne murders as a catalyst sparking Gotham’s downward trajectory, it would appear that my hypothetical suggestion from last week’s review is happening. Gordon is becoming a real hard ass. Demonstrating an innate ability to crack heads and remain this side of law and order, while harbouring some serious anger issues. McKenzie is shaping a character which reflects the city he has sworn to protect. Self-righteous, single minded and unpredictable; Gordon is gathering momentum and garnering support despite the odds stacked against him. Donal Logue as Bullock has also revealed himself to have a heart. If anything one could say that there has been a distinct role reversal this week. Elsewhere Alfred became both three dimensional and a man of mettle, proving Sean Pertwee capable of delivering more than silent servitude alongside a one note performance.

Without revealing details let’s just say Gordon is not the only one to get medieval. And it is not so much the act itself but Alfred’s complicit response to it that piqued my interest. In my opinion this, more than anything else, lays the groundwork for Batman’s personality, approach and belief system which follows through elsewhere. After all, acts of violence are sometimes necessary if only to establish boundaries whether on playgrounds or elsewhere. What hinders most are peer group opinion and social expectations. Take away those concerns and replace them with a parental figure who not only advocates but actively condones such actions; well then you have a recipe for disaster. It is one thing to justifiably level the playing field and quite another to take it upon yourself to maintain that stance against all comers. In essence this singular act may prove to be the most important moment amongst many, for a programme some claim pays little homage to the Batman legacy. Aside from this epiphany little has changed.

 

 

Clever homages to Fight Club, Wall Street or The Boiler Room abound within the storyline, which are used to bring out Gordon’s more aggressive character traits. Whereas Robin Lord Taylor continues carving out a furrow between opposing sides as Penguin, showcasing subtlety and skill against the Fish out of water. ‘The Mask’, aside from being cheap chuck away metaphor for that most tricky of conundrums character development, proved that Gotham has no reason to hide behind past glories. Here is a programme with an audience, tone and right to be taken seriously.