Gotham Season 1 Episode 19 Review – ‘Beasts of Prey’

Martin Carr reviews the nineteenth episode of Gotham…

For anyone up on their entertainment news it comes as little surprise that Jada Pinkett Smith is leaving Gotham. With a heavy heart we bid farewell to someone who has remained dignified amongst a shit storm of criticism. In an online media frenzy akin to the release of Apple’s iWatch she announced there were no plans to renew contracts. This was obviously done under a ‘mutually beneficial’ banner often used to hide more deep-rooted problems.

 

 

In a strange way Fish’s location of late has been symbolic of her fundamental dislocation with the Gotham universe. Stuck on an inaccessible island, housed in a basement and devoid of purpose, fiction would be hard pushed to mirror public opinion more accurately. Her desire to be more than mere body parts awaiting dismemberment, tossed out some momentary narrative salvation but this was short lived. For all the effort Pinkett Smith put into rising from the ashes of online derision every week, she was forever destined to lose. That her exit which comes this week should be such a damp squib is proof enough of corporate manipulation and narrative disregard. For those old enough her comeback would be as plausible as Bobby Ewing emerging from that shower in Dallas like nothing happened. Another convenient way to keep the contract open and narrative intact. Anyway having washed their hands of Fish Mooney for the foreseeable, we move onto this week’s smooth talking bar steward of choice.

Channelled through the chiselled features of Milo Ventimiglia we find ourselves at a character crossroads. To the left Patrick Bateman whilst opposite loiters Christian Grey. In my opinion Ventimiglia combines these two homages with panache without going too far either way. After all there are limits when it comes to sadomasochism and torture chambers on primetime. Where the problems lay are primarily in juxtaposing these two elements. ‘The Ogre’ is such a fully formed entity of such deviance that everything else seems tame in comparison. There is the ever present scheming which makes the show tick over, but ultimately there remains a lack of emotional involvement.

 

 

Sub plots seem to be there in order that underused cast members earn the pay check. Wayne Enterprise espionage, high level manipulation and double dealing amount to nothing, in an episode which feels like padding. Now I am not averse to tying up loose ends because these things are necessary for closure, but this approach is slovenly and lackadaisical to say the least. In a series which should pride itself on tight narrative, dynamic characters and comic book roots stretching back seventy odd years you expect better.