Martin Carr reviews the eighteenth episode of Gotham season 3…
A cavalcade of familiar faces continues to emerge this week as Gotham gains momentum. There is crazy arse ex-Captain Barnes released into the fray as infected loony tune The Executioner, revelations of the medical variety as well as pot plants, coma cases and lots of fighting with sticks. In essence season three has found its mojo and is delivering in spades.
Weaponised viruses are straight out of Batman Begins, training montages lifted from the self-same film while Selina’s storyline harks back to Burton’s Batman Returns. Where the television show veers off is in its ability to humanise villainy and underpin that with back history. If we take ‘The Court of Owls’ as an example, then what ‘Light the Wick’ does is illuminate, ground and validate their reasoning.
Leslie Hendrix who brings Kathryn to life has walked a delicate line between cold-blooded head of an order and moneyed family monarch with an axe to grind. Little more than a voice down phone lines in the early episodes, Kathryn and ‘The Order’ have been given breadth and made tangible in season three moving them out of the darkness. Coming from old Gotham, entrenched in city traditions and looking for nothing more than a return to order, she represents an ancient threat. When juxtaposed against the rise of Penguin, Nygma, Barnes and inevitability Catwoman ‘The Court’ seems a more viable proposition. Beyond a gathering of villainy there is the matter of various relationships which keep things ticking over and detract from Gotham’s more exciting elements.
There are still legs in the Gordon Thompkins dynamic which is drifting into darker water with deeply ingrained resentment keeping it fresh. Penguin and Nygma represent the most friction based pair as one killing the other seems their only option. Whereas the Tabitha, Barbara, Butch triangle has a lot of potential even if it is being played out in the background. And then of course we come to the Kathryn and Gordon conundrum where his darkness draws them together. Although not explicit there is a subtext going on between them, as McKenzie has made him so ambiguous that Gordon has become more dangerous and more like her than he knows.
Consider how Bullock now treats him within the GCPD. Their buddy dynamic has disappeared to be replaced by a caution where the latter is very much in control of things. Playing one side against the other as Gordon has done subtly through season three has only been possible because those motives are so unclear. To their credit Donal Logue and McKenzie have played this shift in control cleverly expanding the potential drama without overshadowing anything else. As I pointed out last week after they dropped the ball with their Riddler evolution episode, Gotham has found its form, gathered those forces and is gearing up a show stopping finale. Bring it on is what I say.