Martin Carr reviews the fourteenth episode of Gotham…
Julian Sands has always been a jobbing actor in predominantly risible fare. Warlock with the far superior Richard E Grant anyone? Or perhaps you prefer the less than engaging Boxing Helena with Miss Twin Peaks herself Sherilynn Fenn. Whatever you’re particular brand of vodka it would be fair to say that Sands is always the bridesmaid never the bride, or a lesser son of greater sires if one were feeling particularly nasty.
It is no surprise then that his appearance in Gotham leaves less an impression more of a divot in proceedings. Akin in many respects to an errant piece of turf, Mr.Sands more closely resembles an underpaid government official with grunges than anything as formidable as say The Scarecrow. Whether offing his fellow city dwellers or admonishing his son for neglecting the parking meter, Sands exudes all the quiet menace of a CBBC co-presenter.
David Zayas’s Salvatore Maroni on the other hand gets a decent amount of screen time, which he employs to great affect against Lord Taylor on top form. Exploiting an increasingly bright spotlight Taylor continues playing one against another in a game which is proving progressively dicey. Meanwhile teenage angst returns in the form of Bruce Wayne, who begins isolating himself from others in a search which will come to define him. Whilst the emergence of an easy chemistry between Bullock, Gordon and Captain Sarah Essen as portrayed by Zabryna Guevara, only helps highlight the superfluous nature of other cast members.
Morena Baccarin who was brought in a few weeks ago as replacement to Gordon’s former love interest, is slowly wheedling her way in to little end. In a thankless role for which she is overqualified Baccarin is given nothing to do and no time in which to do it. I said a few weeks ago that her looks would be a problem and so it has transpired. What the writers clearly think is that she only need be on screen for audiences to watch. It is true that this actress is very striking, but the issue is not created by her but by them. Here is an actress with an admirable resume being given walk on and smile scenes which she is coasting through. As a doctor from within an asylum you expect her to have something more insightful to contribute, maybe a rough edge or two which would add depth and emotional substance. This reliance on a genetic factor is sheer laziness in my opinion. I appreciate that her character is only around for a limited time if IMDb is to be believed, but even so this flagrant waste of talent is appalling.
In spite of these flaws Gotham is fast becoming essential viewing for those in search of a break from the norm. Police procedural it may be, but there is a rich tapestry of characters here being readily tapped into by actors on top form. If some are failing to hit the mark then so be it, them is the breaks people. Whether overqualified and under used, or decidedly average and riding a wave of stereotypical type casting, you must take the rough with the smooth. And Gotham; well Gotham is a lot smoother than most.