Martin Carr reviews the nineteenth episode of Gotham season 3…
Pigeons are coming home to roost, schemes are being uncovered and two villains form a truce for the purposes of escape and murder at a later date. There is indeed a dark vein of humour running through Gotham as we approach the final few episodes. Bloodletting, network warnings and severed limbs are scattered like confetti, while certain people cloak themselves in darkness for their own purposes. Amongst all the interesting mayhem which kicks off in ‘All Will Be Judged’ there are three characters which show a return to form.
First up and somewhat lacking of late is one Alfred Pennyworth. Cunning, loyal, resourceful and vengeance personified when needs be, this butler is definitely out for blood. Pertwee has receded into the background playing foot soldier and confidant to a cloned Bruce Wayne for most of season three, but that all changes now. Both himself and Selena are given time alone in a room which is always worth the entrance fee, even if all they do is scowl at each other. Cast iron pokers, bitch slapping and harsh words are exchanged in an episode full of surprises.
Lucid dreams and flashback fantasies also put in an appearance showing us a side to Lee Thompkins which has had little opportunity to shine recently. Somewhat side lined as GCPD autopsy expert there has been nothing but stern faces, minimal dialogue and a lake of resentment to immerse herself in. Which if we’re honest makes for bland viewing, but what they have done with her is both plausible and if handled well, will be extremely entertaining.
Elsewhere the Penguin, Nygma, Barnes double act of nuttiness reaches new heights, as pacts are forged, uneasy allegiances tacitly agreed and all hell kicks off. For all their double talk dialogue Nygma and Penguin still make for a very watchable pairing, working seamlessly with the sort of chemistry only time provides. This grudging agreement serves a purpose and provides us with longevity in the promise of further conflict. Barnes meanwhile looks like a metal plated, hydraulically assisted gimp smeared with boot polish. Proclamations of guilt, grandstanding court scenes and super stern faces do not an Executioner make.
Chiklis though is not to blame for this exaggeration of character. This Executioner is more pantomime and vaudeville then anything more threatening. Administering sentence whether that is the loping of an arm, leg or head from its body looks comical, even if warnings beforehand suggest otherwise. For all the bullets bouncing off his armour why someone failed to put in a decent headshot is beyond me. Dodging bullets when he has a cumbersome stealth about him with all that costume makes for good theatrics but nothing more. Pennyworth with a blade and pinioned hand is scarier, more convincing and requires less stage make-up.
As for Bruce Wayne there is a muddy logic going on here, where ‘The Court’ are getting perpetually less threatening. With all this talk of locking away emotions, banishing fear and becoming a living weapon for manipulation, his storyline is lacking interest. Mazouz is doing well with the material, it’s just that the material could be stronger. However this minor weakness is sure to be remedied next week as the villains converge, Bruce starts to exact his true purpose and Alfred goes full on Pulp Fiction in his search for the elusive Wayne.