Martin Carr reviews the fifteenth episode of Gotham season 2…
These are dark days indeed for Jim Gordon. Never has a tagline for an episode been more apt than it is here with Gotham’s ‘Mad Grey Dawn’. Because as the sun comes up on another day in this grimy metropolis, things have never looked bleaker. With an altered Cobblepot on the streets, one unstable Nygma in forensics and internal affairs reopening the Galavan investigation things are getting juicy. Not to mention the fact that Bruce Wayne has gone all street and abandoned his cash supply and pampered lifestyle, in a bid to find himself.
What we have here beyond the ticking time bombs, savage beatings and father son reunions is an episode and season which continues delivering on all counts. With the rise of Butch and subjugation of Penguin we have one hell of a three sixty going on. With Tabitha’s claws into the former while Lord Taylor goes back to being an oblivious dolt, we have a premise which is sure to deliver big when Penguin finally wakes up. Whereas the Barnes, Gordon face off which was always on the cards feels just like a lot of hot air.
Inside that interrogation room their chemistry felt forced, rather the organic sense you got between Petty and McKenzie last week. It may be the case that Chiklis has simply not figured to highly in the last few episodes, but nonetheless there in lies my issue. Beyond that the relationship between Lee and Gordon feels superfluous in spite of the pregnancy. With the amount of storylines interweaving, converging or otherwise being neglected ‘Gotham’ just felt overstuffed. Everyone is doing their best, but you sense these writers have a destination and will get there regardless of any negative impact.
I could be completely wrong and Bruce Wayne hitting the streets might be essential, but Alfred’s voice whispering to him during a beating felt a little over the top. After all this is not Star Wars and he is no Ben Kenobi. Elsewhere Penguin’s rejection felt more like a comic aside than anything done with conviction. A contrivance of rejection which forces Oswald back to his mother’s graveside and that fortuitous meeting. Lord Taylor plays it well but these scenes felt condescending like we ‘the audience’ required spoon-feeding.
In truth this introduction offered up the only silver lining for me in ‘Mad Grey Dawn’. These moments were very Addams Family with a liberal sprinkling of Tim Burton visuals, intentional or otherwise. But the intriguing development this now presents may well be the salvation of the Penguin we hold dear. Fully funded and backed by a devoted patriarch he could rise again like a phoenix from the ashes. Let’s hope so because right now he is missing and it shows.