Gotham Season 2 Episode 1 Review – ‘Damned If You Do’

Martin Carr reviews the first episode of Gotham season 2…

From the opening frame of this new season Gotham seems like a different animal. There is a swagger in the step, a confidence somehow sealed in stone, which was lacking last year. Those villains are nastier, more sordid and somehow more stylish as a result. There seems to be less cliché and more conflicted cop syndrome. Bullock is tending bar but not drinking. Gordon is directing traffic and being less badass than we are used to.

 

 

It is a month after the season finale and Fish being thrown from that building is ancient history. Lord Taylor’s Penguin reigns supreme over a Gotham with minimal improvements in law and order. Selena Kyle is now a hanger-on, who sits around while Penguin kills people and makes proclamations. Commissioner Loeb is bent as a nine bob note and overdue his comeuppance. While Barbara Gordon wraps the inmates of Arkham around her little finger.

Elsewhere young Bruce Wayne is busy making bombs and cracking open the family vault. Somehow older and wiser than before, with his guardian and master of all things combustible by his side, David Mazouz has grown into the role. Edward Nygma continues having conversations with himself in the mirror, while Jim Gordon crosses the line within twenty minutes.

 

 

If we could call this anything it would be his descent into darkness. Ben McKenzie has instilled a stoic calm into his creation, who is more than aware of moral boundaries. An interesting choice which he must weigh in this opener, is how far over the line must he go. In the end that decision is all but made for him through circumstances, but the journey remains interesting.

By opening up Arkham and giving Gotham that feeling of breadth, Cannon and his cohorts have hit the ground running. By bringing in Theo and Tabitha Galavan as the opening evil element, we have characters who hark back to comic book origins. James Frain and Jessica Lucas are setting out to be a formidable duo in their desire to carve off a slice of Gotham. One proving handy in the evil mastermind department, while his sister is swift with her knife skills and bullwhip.

 

 

This time around you also get the impression that Barbara Gordon will be a force to reckoned with. Erin Richards seems more interested in playing the whacked out kook than a well to do socialite. There is more scope for off the wall behaviour which in turn makes things more interesting all round. Although events seem much the same as before Gotham Season Two has gotten off to a blinding start. On this evidence Season One will be nothing more than a bad memory.