Martin Carr reviews the seventh episode of Gotham season 4…
That Bruce Wayne finally turns into a socialite bad ass this episode is to be celebrated. Combine that with the turning of the tide within Gotham’s GCPD and episode seven is definitely down and dirty. Bloodletting, police brutality and dream sequence beatings all feed into this darker edged season four where a pig butcher reigns supreme. Forty severed hog heads being wheeled into headquarters sets the tone for a messy three-quarters of an hour.
Relations between Bullock and Gordon reach a head, turn a corner and level out by the credit sequence, where the morally upstanding cop reads his partner a riot act. Penguin is ineffectual window dressing being there for more theatrical purposes than anything impactful or concrete. Bruce Wayne’s darkness comes out in full force when he goes out looking for reasons to confront a pent-up aggression which needs an outlet. Slick, stylish and packing a malevolent glint in his eye Mazouz carries it off well, making Gotham feel more alive than it has for some time. Confirming that the Batman is present and correct within the confines of this incarnation, merely needing time and opportunity to reveal himself.
In a perfectly timed piece of ambulance chasing the Gotham show runners pull off a ‘Silence of the Lambs’ homage, putting Gordon face to face with his latest foe. Substantial, erring on the side of drama queen but nonetheless effective, Professor Pyg alludes to ‘Pygmalion’ in his plans to transform both Gotham and Gordon into something new. A suggestion which is met with typical resolve by our latter day hero, who goes in all guns blazing showing any doubters what he is made of. Once again showing that McKenzie was a farsighted piece of casting who will continue holding the show together, while others give admirable support.
Elsewhere irons in the criminal fire include Tabitha, Barbara and Kat in a thinly plotted argument resolution storyline that feels like padding. Not given enough screen time due to the GCPD slash Bruce Wayne evolution threads, these girls are left playing second fiddle looking sassy, sexy but somewhat superfluous. With talk of biker gang hits, indifference from certain quarters about continuing and a diverting raid on the narrows, they are more a stylish after thought than narrative concern. Similarly Penguin and Sofia are merely mirroring the relationships Oswald has had with different people in other seasons. This cloak and dagger friend or foe run around is old hat, leaving Penguin out in the cold with no allegiances, a dead-end plot thread and ambiguous motives.
However as often happens when you have multiple storylines going off in different directions someone and something has to suffer. On this occasion certain players have been relegated down to little more than minimal support, while others take centre stage in the fight for ratings.