I have never watched an episode of Gotham until now. I’ve heard it’s crazy, all too happy to jettison anything considered canon in favor of spinning its own intricate web of bonkers. Once James stepped down from our normal weekly coverage, we decided it might be interesting if the Multiversity staff covered one episode of the show week-to-week. I’m kicking things off, prepared for anything from the moment the intense announcer tells us this show is rated TV-14: “Viewer discretion . . . is advised.” Then, after a quick recap of the last season, we launch into this whole thing again.
Reminder, there are spoilers for this episode.
1. Is This Show Even Taking Its Audience Seriously?
I mean, first off, there’s the kid playing Bruce Wayne in his DARK LEATHER Battwink getup trying to do the gravely Christian Bale voice. After all that’s done, we cut to this wedding reception and the show literally Rick Rolls us. I’m not kidding. The plot revolves around the Penguin unionizing organized crime, even going so far as to cut a deal with the Mayor and Police Commissioner to let his goons get away with what they’re doing if they’re carrying a card. “Do this or we’ll return to the good ole days,” the Penguin says, forgetting he’s not in Sin City. Zsasz spends the rest of the time wandering around, tracking down goons without licenses and . . . Penguin’s trying to open his Iceberg Lounge.
2. Are the Actors Even Taking This Show Seriously?
The performances here are on a level I don’t think we’re ready to comprehend. Zzasz is channeling John Malkovich in Burn After Reading. The Penguin is playing to the broadest audience. Battwink has spent a lot more time watching Christopher Nolan movies than is probably healthy. Gordon just looks confused about everything that’s going on. There’s the crazy guy in the asylum eating the cell bars instead of the scenery
3. Does the Script Even Take Itself Seriously?
It’s super great the writers of this show provide plenty of exposition and detail to make sure we’re not lost. “My finger was on the button, Alfred. I feel responsible,” Battwink sez. “If you see this card, you walk,” Gordon’s captain (or what is he? he’s the dude from Terriers and Grounded for Life, that’s all I know) tells Gordon, literally seconds after we watched the same scene play out. Just in case you missed it the first few times or couldn’t figure it out for yourself, the show’s got you covered.
4. Is It Possible for Anything to be Serious?
I can’t even with the dialogue over here. I’m just going to list some particularly memorable instances.
“How would you describe Victor Zsasz?” Donal Logue asks, like we’re going to have some over-the-top simile. Instead, Gordan sez, “A homocidal maniac and sadist.” “A homicidal maniac and sadist,” Logue echoes.
“Penguin wouldn’t give you a license until the cows come home, you stupid hick.”
“Don’t turn your back on a guy unless you’re sure he’s down. Otherwise not bad.”
“Does this mean we can get pizza?”
“Didn’t you ladies used to be rich?”
“That was before your boss stole my club.”
“Well . . . you murdered his mom. And tried to kill him. So call it even?”
“Pax Romana? More like Pax Penguina.”
“Remember how you accused me of being a slave to my emotions? No more. I’ve banished those feelings. And look how I have risen. But at what cost? I wonder which of us is frozen….”
“Him. He’s like totally frozen.”
“Ivy. Go somewhere else.”
“We were just admiring your frozen mate.”
“Honestly, sir. Why can’t you just go to the cinema like normal teenagers?”
Cheers to the actors for being able to deliver these lines. Mostly deliver these lines. Well, manage to get the lines out of their mouths without twisting their tongues into pretzels.
5. Ultimate Batman
I think Gotham is like all versions of Batman rolled into one banaynays experience. You have the gritty realistic presentation from Christopher Nolan. You have the extreme Dutch angles of Adam West’s. The sheer amount of villains from Joel Schummacher. The so dark-it’s-silly of Zach Snyder. This is apparently supposed to be based on “The Long Halloween,” so there’s some Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale in there, too. Maybe.Continued below
Im not even sure how to begin describing this show. It’s not anywhere near good, but it does have a sense of humor about itself and the source material, so it’s better than pretty much every Batman comic being published right now. I think it’s entirely possible the writers and producers have embraced the sheer ridiculousness of this show and are just seeing what they can get away with before FOX cancels it.
5.5. Stray Note
My favorite part was the lady taking pictures of the Penguin’s monologue with an old film camera. The sight of it made me happy.