Martin Carr reviews the twelfth episode of Gotham season 3…
With Gotham breaking again after the next two episodes it feels we barely have time to warm up before another hiatus is enforced. Which is why getting comfortable, becoming engaged or generally investing beyond a casual curiosity is ill-advised right now.
There are the usual shenanigans you come to expect, a funereal, assassination attempt and harsh words exchanged in full view of Gotham’s finest. But ultimately what we get here is a revenge tale, family reconciliations delivered with the subtlety of an incumbent President and our chief manipulator metaphorically waxing his moustache. Guest spots involving the return of certain characters provide that necessary shot in the arm, while Gordon, Bullock and company chase a coroner around Gotham while dodging pot shots from Victor Zsasz. Between that and Oswald’s slow mental disintegration, this is a disjointed if welcome addition to the season thus far.
Beyond that the gravitas is supplied by Carmine Falcone in the guise of a consistently good John Doman. His moments are rare but the screen time is well spent as himself and Lee share some meaty dialogue scenes, both bringing their A game and steering things away from the melodramatic. Bruce and Alfred also seem strangely side lined in ‘Ghosts’, as any plot time is spent with Kat and her mother just returned from out of town after eleven years. Giving us a reunion is not without its own issues and in moments both actresses play to a tee.
Elsewhere the genuine respect between Zsasz and Gordon makes the episode surprising light in tone even though people are perpetually popping their clogs. There is a casual friendship playing out beyond all the guns, shootings and verbal threats. Helped in no small measure by Tim Booth who brings a humanity to this hired gun, whilst also striking a balance between comic book creation and caricature. Where things branch into the realms of kitsch however is in the depiction of Penguin’s mental meltdown and subsequent actions.
Lord Taylor takes mania as far as possible without getting hammy, but things soon turn a little Christmas Carol, as the sight of Paul Reuben wandering around in a night-shirt feels slightly incongruous. Take into account the strange case of people rising from the dead for no discernible reason and Gotham ultimately felt very fragmented. While Gordon’s peril also felt less than tangible as we all know our chief protagonist is unlikely to bite the dust.
Those quibbles aside ‘Ghosts’ remained engaging if a touch neat and tidy. With minimal episodes remaining until Gotham returns in April, here’s hoping we get something more concrete, slightly slicker and more in keeping with season three thus far.