Martin Carr reviews the fifteenth episode of Gotham season 3…
Coming back after an extended hiatus Gotham opens with a Nygma centric episode lashings of invention, talking corpses and doppelganger shenanigans not to mention the odd riddle or two. With Oswald consigned to the murky depths of Gotham river, we follow Corey Smith in ‘Force 10 from Navarone’ chewing scenery form popping pills like a crack addict. Mixing film stock, musical numbers and word play these writers send him further down the rabbit hole by way of a top hat and tails segue.
Elsewhere there is the small matter of clones and creepy ladies in limos tutoring them in all things Wayne. First floated as an idea way back in the dark times of Indian Hill, what they intend to do with him beyond simple infiltration remains unclear. What became glaringly obvious however was how distracting and ultimately needless this turned out to be. One of many elements character wise which detracted from our central focus.
One such segue put Gordon in an isolated cabin combining a conversational two-hander and minor bonding session with Uncle Frank, played with gravitas by James Remar. Although he is clearly playing both sides Frank will have issues getting through Jim’s white knight exterior and family dysfunction enough to turn him into a member of ‘that’ society. What was needed was more time with them to engage rather than continually dipping in and out of their location losing momentum. Those gripes aside what time we do get with Gordon establishes new things and opens up other avenues of narrative for our favourite anti-hero to explore.
Outside of that Lucius Fox is drawn into the fray as Nygma seeks out an intellectual replacement for his recently deceased partner in crime. Something which always feels convenient rather than logical and therefore a touch convoluted. One scene in particular may be a satisfying homage to Nolan’s Dark Knight but the flip side is that any threat to Bullock lacks believability because of his necessity within the show. Bruce, Alfred, Kat and Ivy are also given cursory lip service and minimal scenes which accomplish little and feel obligatory than necessary.
There is no doubt that the final result of ‘How the Riddler Got His Name’ is worth it but the obligation to other characters steals Nygma’s fire. That he has a handle on the crazy yet playful demeanour with pitch black overtones is without question, but where the evolution goes from here is questionable. Joining forces with another burgeoning villain failed to work out, while that career in public office is definitely over. However if the last minute reveal tells us anything it is that The Riddler will have his hands full very soon.