Martin Carr reviews the ninth episode of Gotham…
Nicholas D’Agosto is a whole bag of crazy. Clean cut image, catalogue model looks and a smile so superficial you know something sinister lies beneath. In political terms Bill Hicks once said that ‘anyone that far to the right is hiding a deep dark secret’, but to what extent Dent could be considered Republican is debateable. However the issue here is not about ideology nor D’Agosto’s interpretation but his screen time.
To name check your show with a landmark character then spend thirty minutes or more ignoring him is a cardinal sin. In lieu of this wasted opportunity we get character development elsewhere, sub plots which end up distracting not entertaining and an introduction that feels like an afterthought. There is no doubt that D’Agosto has potential and his moments of psychosis are effective, but he simply has no time on the playing field.
What I will say is this. Of the three actors to have portrayed Dent D’Agosto is showing the most potential. Eckhart’s psychosis in Dark Knight feels forced alongside this latest incarnation and ultimately a touch over board. Tommy Lee Jones’ pantomime villainy says more about Batman Forever and its execution than his performance, so I am pleading the ‘fifth’ on that one. D’Agosto however is a more intriguing proposition. Similar in many ways to the Penguin this version of Dent brings with it chances for greatness.
In eight episodes Lord Taylor has fashioned a character which stands alongside Gordon in terms of importance. What makes this more impressive is his ability to imply fragility to an audience watching him get away with murder. This neat trick combined with a convincingly original turn gives us an unorthodox anti-hero worth rooting for. This is what D’Agosto has the potential to do with Harvey Dent. His perimeters are no more confined that Lord Taylor yet he has one ace up his sleeve; that transformation. If handled well that moment from hero to villain could be career defining. Disfigurement which we all know is coming can occur in any number of ways. However they decide to approach it Cannon and company dare not drop the ball on this, as I feel they already have with the crime bosses.
Maroni and Falcone represent wasted chances. Both actors are side lined in sub plots which essentially give GCPD something to do between character beats. Both Doman and Zayas deserve better than this and therefore respond in kind. Letting their charisma do the work both ‘Dons’ exude a relaxed menace beyond their scripted dialogue, giving us more than the roles require in an effort to expand beyond type. Any semblance of character development has in my opinion originated with the actors. Thankfully they are both seasoned players who know how to squeeze the most from limited resources, for which we should be thankful. In the hands of lesser men these characters would remain one dimensional mouth pieces, good for nothing more than exposition.
I pray that my words are heeded as Dent represents a golden opportunity to make something memorable. His fall from grace in the hands of Nicholas D’Agosto could make this series great. There are too many people who want you to make the right choices with Harvey Dent. Next time follow your convictions and make bold choices. Otherwise interest will wane, numbers diminish and another opportunity will be consigned to the vaults of television history.