Martin Carr reviews the ninth episode of Gotham season 2…
Things kick off this week with Tabitha Galavan in a vendetta kind of mood after big brother gets locked away. To be honest it was good seeing her do more than just inflict pain and fulfil that dominatrix role she has been lumbered with. By placing a hit on Gordon sister Galavan has unleashed the beast we know this man can be. Which is no bad thing.
As reams of assassins attempt to take his head for their prize, McKenzie is able to do something denied him for too long. Namely kick arse and push those censorship boundaries. You get the feeling if ‘Gotham’ was post watershed, we would get a load more claret for our money. As it is we get cuts, only hints of a bloody struggle, while Barnes and Gordon do their best stone cold stare. What this pinned down location does give us though is the chance for Chiklis to give Nathaniel Barnes substance. In a rare moment of reflection he recounts ‘that’ incident where he crossed the line and killed a man, which adds poignancy. Which in turn provides a moment of calm amongst the bullets, piano wire and nameless henchmen.
Meanwhile with Galavan behind bars villainous duties rest with Nygma and Penguin. An unlikely but welcome pairing, who share an odd bonding session which culminates in a mutual understanding. Lord Taylor and Cory Smith make an engaging double act. Taylor has worked subtlety into his portrayal, while Smith continues to revel in his alter ego. There is almost an element of black comedy during the latter sequences, especially once Nygma has empowered his counterpart. Beyond the dark vein of villainous levity, there seems to be a real sense of fun on display between the two actors. Finally you sense that Gotham has found its alternate dynamic duo.
One other surprise this week came in the form of Sean Pertwee. Proving himself more than a match for the petulant trickery of an adolescent Bruce Wayne, Alfred made his position plain. Becoming more the guardian, Alfred steps up and deals with his young charge’s school crush diplomatically.
In those closing minutes as men clad in monastic robes advance on a nameless security guard, you get the sense of events concluding. A long-term score is looking to be settled and nothing is stopping it. As we move on to episode ten Gotham maintains the momentum. Proving once and for all that season two has learned its lesson. There is a clear dynamic, concisely orchestrated structure and one hell of a beating heart at the centre of this city. As we leave the identity of Martha Wayne’s murder burning brightly, Gotham has assured us a corking finale.