Martin Carr reviews the eighteenth episode of Gotham…
This was to be my grand gesture. A return to form and way back from literary oblivion. Gotham was the weapon of choice, episode eighteen and nineteen the literary armour I chose to swathe myself in. Prepared for battle and cloaked in metaphorical attire I would advance with one intention. To meter out critical justice and in the process earn my redemption. However it offered up more moments of frustration than reward, more occasions of deflation than exultation. In short I began to side, in spite of myself, with those internet detractors and naysayers who would prefer it never existed.
Screened over a month ago ‘Everyone has a Cobblepot’ gave us over the duration of its running time something new; a villain worthy of the title. No more half arsed psychotics who made up for threat with theatrics. By casting Colm Feore as Francis Dulmacher they have cloaked their threat in intellectual arrogance, high mindedness and a sense of entitlement. Standing in the shadows twiddling a wax moustache might have worked in the seventies, but they understand that this generation prefer things a little more visceral. What Feore brings to Dulmacher is a sense of mission which all great psychopaths possess. To him humans are no more than body parts for reconfiguration.
Pinkett Smith opposite Feore plays it to the hilt sporting a shiny blue contact, white overalls and hospital issue moccasins. Elsewhere McKenzie, Logue and Lord Taylor are forced into an uneasy alliance. Corruption meanwhile remains a force bubbling away beneath the surface of an episode with few standout moments. As usual Gotham execs spoon feed an audience they believe have neither guile nor perseverance. For those not keeping up with current events Gordon and Penguin have an understanding which will doubtless come to play a larger role in season two. That everyone within this universe has secrets is a given and not worth wasting a title card on. The cloak and dagger nature of all these characterisations has never been under question, it remains the inconsistency of tone and narrative flow that ultimately hamstrings events. For every Dulmacher, Penguin or Reggie, there is a Nygma, Poison Ivy or Barbara Keen. In terms of writing it smacks of favouritism. For me Colm Feore and Nicholle Tom as Miriam Loeb gave standout performances with little screen time, while others spent their time treading water.
By placing an unconventional spin on the ‘mad woman in the attic’ stereotype Tom created something unique amongst the mundane. Psychologically unbalanced from years of enforced isolation, Miriam was given a childlike innocence despite her obvious psychosis. That this big reveal was done in a subtle manner went some way to appeasing me. However the patchwork feel of Gotham’s other elements undermined both Feore and Tom’s contribution, causing me to lose interest as a result. It was a sense of ‘been there done that’ narrative and lack of audience respect, which explains in part why this review took two months to finish.