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Gotham Review (S1E10): 'Lovecraft'



As with every episode of Gotham you have to take the good with the bad. Perhaps the best thing about 'Lovecraft' is the emergence of Alfred Pennyworth as a bonafide badass. When assassins come to kill Selina and Bruce, Alfred springs into Bond-style fight mode dispatching assassins left and right taking a grazing bullet to his arm without a flinch. The valet, err butler is a man of action.

He teams up with Harvey Bullock to track down the kids who escaped the assassination attempt and have gone missing. The Alfred-Bullock crime fighting duo turns out to be more charming and entertaining than Jim Gordon and Bullock have been all season. While Gordon is the growling do-gooder to Bullock's wild card, Alfred is the smooth operator, calm and collected but not afraid to put down Mooney's Butch to get his point across. He charms information out of Mooney too which we haven't seen anyone do thus far on the show. Alfred is full of all kinds of tricks apparently. Once one of the weak links on the show Alfred got to strut and fight and ultimately lead the emotional charge of finding 'Master Bruce.' His relationship with Bruce is evolving and becoming more convincing. 

The ongoing subplot of finding the Wayne's murderer and how it connects to the mob underworld is still a thing but seems unnecessarily twisted into the show. Somehow Lovecraft is suspected to have placed the hit on Selina thanks to the details of her whereabouts from Harvey Dent. Dent has been a cartoonish distraction thus far and this latest gaffe complicates things further for the sake of creating drama. It puts Gordon in danger too and unfortunately and embarrassingly leaves him the victim of a sleeperhold  while Lovecraft gets a bullet in the head with Gordon's own weapon. What is this  all for?!

Again, the bright spot for Gotham has been Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot aka the Penguin. He steals every scene he's in and playing scared when confronted by Falcone about the leaks about his operation is just another con in his manipulation of the mob bosses. If the show concentrated on Penguin and the mob struggle and Bruce and Alfred the show could have some coherence and consistency. Instead it wants to wink at the home audience with another guest appearance from a comic book character. 

The show is ambitious but maybe too ambitious. It has a hard time juggling storylines from week to week especially when they throw in a crime of the week procedural. This midseason finale should have exploded with consequences for the rest of the season. Gordon gets security duty at Arkham Asylum at the end because again, he wouldn't "follow the program" when the Mayor suggested that Lovecraft's death be deemed a suicide instead of an officer losing his gun to assassins. It should have been handled with more pop and awe. It just felt and looked like what it was - a demotion. 

Bruce and Selina together on the streets, on her turf made for some interesting dynamics. It took Bruce out of that goddamn estate he's locked himself into and injected his prissy self among the lowest rung of people. There was even an Ivy Pepper sighting. It also gave him a chance to play off the streetwise Selina for some preteen bonding. 

Overall, it was an okay finale lead by Alfred's heroics and pretty much dominated the episode in ways I didn't think he'd be allowed to. The scenes with Bullock saved 'Lovecraft' all by themselves. Going into the next part of the season, a season that was extended to 22 episodes from 16 to the chagrin of producer Danny Cannon, the show will have to find a clearer narrative with higher stakes and less procedural work. 

Let the stars shine, let Penguin play the mob bosses like puppets, let Mooney counterattack while looking fabulous, let Falcone drop the hammer on his enemies and give Alfred and Bruce more to do. I know Gotham is suppose to be about Jim Gordon's rise in the department but if you don't reveal his motivation and give him more to do than sneer and growl at everyone then he'll remain a weak spot. 

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