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Gotham Review (S1E8): 'THE MASK'

This week’s crime of the week involves a corporate sanctioned fight club that leads to a death and brings in Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock to investigate. For a police procedural this is the weakest point of the show. A Wall Street banker pits applicants against each other for job openings as a metaphor for the vicious dog-eat-dog world of finance. It’s these type of weekly investigations that really distract from the far more interesting mob drama that serves as the recurring subplots. We know the major crime will be solved, often times predictably, while yearning to know what Fish, Cobblepot, Maroni, and Falcone are up to instead.

While the fight club is a pretty disposable device as far as advancing the character development on the show it did provide some highlights. Edward Nygma got to be creepier than usual running his own autopsy of the victim, a nice scene between Gordon and the banker who runs the firm where they basically measured manhoods, Bullock rallying the cops to help save Gordon, and Captain Essen starting to back Gordon. And even though the banker wore a black mask in ‘The Mask’ it may not be related to the comic book version which would have made it more interesting.

Meanwhile, Mooney and Cobblepot have a predictably tense and uncomfortable sit-down trying to make peace amid this mob war. It doesn’t end well for Cobblepot but it’s this overall mob drama that really propels the show. They could do away with the crime of the week and focus more on the various movements of Team Falcone versus Team Maroni. This could be ‘The Wire’ for comic book fans. But alas there isn’t enough of it. Jada Pinkett Smith and Robin Lord Taylor have been the best parts of Gotham and whether you think their performances are over-the-top or hammy they keep viewers riveted.There are actual stakes in the fight for the underground of Gotham City and their actions resonate with consequences that affect Gordon as opposed to the procedural that seems forced and inconsequential.

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Bruce Wayne returns to school and is immediately bullied by future Hush, Tommy. Tommy asks a bunch of creepy questions about what he saw when his parents were killed. Later, Tommy says a disparaging word about Momma Wayne and gets slapped by Lil’ Bruce. That leads to Lil’ Bruce getting his first beat down. His relationship with Alfred has always been the most awkward one on the show and never really gelled but here Alfred provides some advice and helps enact some revenge. It becomes a sorely needed bonding exercise where Alfred is showing him how to fight and stand up for himself. Something that will resonate as we all know. As if we didn’t know Lil’ Bruce found fighting exhilarating. Oh, if he only knew what was to come.

Note: Selina remains on the fringe of the show stealing stuff...poorly, getting caught and back at the station looking for Gordon for some reason. This is one subplot that needs help.

Check out scenes for next week's episode, Harvey Dent.

Gotham 1x09 "Harvey Dent" - Trying to close the Wayne murder case, a young Harvey Dent (guest star Nicholas D’ Agosto) and Gordon team up, much to Mayor James’ (guest star Richard Kind) chagrin. Meanwhile, Penguin makes contact with Mooney’s (Jada Pinkett Smith) secret weapon, Liza (guest star Mackenzie Leigh).


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