Martin Carr reviews the twelfth episode of Gotham season 4…
Bombs in biplanes, fist fights in alleyways and physicians controlling gangland turf are just a few of the things which Gotham throws up this week. There are rifts dividing enemies and friends alike as some long standing characters battle their inner demons. As we attempt to fit together those ‘Pieces of a Broken Mirror’ story threads evolve beneath us, while Gotham eyes journeys end for season four.
Intriguing sub-plots and long-awaited reveals come to fruition in episode twelve as Gordon gets his eyes opened, Alfred falls in love and Bullock gives everyone the cold shoulder. However Bruce Wayne feels like an afterthought, just as Kat, Tabitha and Barbara do little to move proceedings along. Shoot outs and harsh words are exchanged while end production value is all up on the screen for audiences to enjoy.
Gotham as a series now has so many levels of underhanded criminality that telling friend from foe is becoming difficult. Thompkins is especially interesting as she has been developed into a conflicted character with an emotional centre but Teflon coated outer shell. Her moral ambiguity coupled with the psychosis of Nygma makes their screen time not only entertaining but far from cut and dried. Elsewhere there a somewhat larger casting problem that showrunners Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon need to address.
For reasons which remain unclear beyond the basic idea of visual evolution Poison Ivy has changed again. From nubile teenage temptress with sass into an out and out Victoria Secrets model who could melt through sheet metal with her body heat alone. Now the obvious and rather shallow idea is that this draws in the eighteen to twenty-five demographic, but thankfully this reviewer does not fall into that audience banding. If we take it that this Poison Ivy will be the final version then her means of re-emergence, method of reeking revenge and general characterisation is entertaining at least. However her integration into the more established cast members will perhaps be a measure of that longevity in future.
Elsewhere Alfred is finally free of the constraints that Wayne Manor placed on him giving Pertwee room to flex those acting muscles. Looking extremely healthy he plays the disarming romantic, accidental hero and would be tough guy without breaking a sweat. Forever on the edge fulfilling a small but important role you get the sense that there is an arc in play here that will give Gotham’s most indentured servant an important goal to achieve. Teaming him up with Gordon and Bullock for a brief time this week showed an easy chemistry that it would be foolish to ignore.
Other plot points of note are worth exploring first hand rather than on paper because in my opinion Gotham continues to be worth the watch. Every episode might not be a home run but this was never about short-term pay offs. Gotham lays out the cards carefully, dictates pace, mood, emotional engagement and reveals with care. Still entertaining if not riveting stuff there is more than enough life left here for another run or two.