Martin Carr reviews the eighth episode of Gotham season 2…
Barbara Gordon has been ill served of late. Her particular brand of crazy has been side lined by the whip wielding, bodice filling Tabitha Galavan. All sass and sado-masochism wrapped up in a brothel madam demeanour. In other words Jessica Lucas has been a distraction. In an effort to rectify this we get a serious Barbara centric episode, which provides the main meat in this week’s televisual sandwich.
Opening on a dream sequence where everyone from Gordon through to Penguin make an appearance. We are allowed inside the unbalanced psyche which Barbara possesses. Actress Erin Richards has more fun here than she has been allowed in weeks. Rapidly in danger of becoming another Galavan trinket for the siblings to play with. She spends a large amount of time manipulating those around her, while trussed up in a wedding dress.
In a scene lifted straight from the closing moments of Se7en, Gordon and Bullock accompany a suitably unhinged Babs to an undisclosed location. It is a carbon copy set up, where she waxes lyrical about still loving Gordon and getting inside his head. In fairness the only thing missing is Lea’s head in a box come the finale.
Elsewhere Galavan uses emotional blackmail to convince Bruce to sign over Wayne Enterprises. Using his niece Silver as a lure, Galavan has worked his way into Bruce’s confidence enough to almost get pen to paper. Although we know that such things can’t and won’t happen, it is nonetheless entertaining to see the tangled web expand. Whilst these mind games and car chases are playing out, writers have offered up Nygma as comic relief in an odd body burying running gag.
Donning a flat cap, waxed overcoat and large suitcase, we follow Nygma out into a wooded area. With picnic basket, chequered blanket and wine glasses at the ready, we are treated to an oddly comical set up. As a means of alleviating tension it is surprisingly effective. Smith continues milking this thread of darkness for everything its worth. Showing a character in control of an unbalanced psyche. Who treats dismemberment and burial as mundane but necessary. Only in the final moments does this diversion come across as heavy handed, manipulative and convenient.
I say convenient because things are tied up a little too neatly for my liking. Characters give away information too easily, or meet in painfully obvious ways. Aside from this Gotham proves itself more than adept at keeping an audience entertained. Following on from the arrest and incarceration of a certain major, it will be intriguing to know who else they serve up. We hanker for a new kid on the block or tag team if you will. There are at least two that spring to mind immediately. Let us see if my gut instinct is right about that burgeoning criminal combo shall we.