GOTHAM Season 1 Episode 8
Episode Title: “The Mask”
Writer: John Stephens
Director: Paul A. Edwards
Previously on “Gotham”:
Before “Gotham” was picked up for twenty two episodes, this would have been the midway point of the sixteen episode first season. Eight episodes in, “Gotham” still hasn’t found a consistent tone or even decent writing throughout an entire episode.
All we have here is a loose Batman prequel that sometimes manages to have an occasionally good scene. But never a great episode or even a good one. Yet this show is also the fall’s biggest hit, so I don’t expect a course correction anytime soon.
Don’t Talk About Fight Club
In the aftermath of last week’s episode, James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) are not on great terms with their brothers-in-blue. Gordon is taking it kind of personally that no one had his back when Falcone’s men came to take him from the police precinct.
But Gordon and Bullock are back on the job as if nothing happened. The case of the week is a dead man in a business suit with a severed thumb in his mouth. Apparently, prospective applicants of an evil company are being forced to fight each other to win a job.
Hey, I know the economy is bad… but beating people to death doesn’t look good on the resume.
Future Riddler Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) performs an autopsy on the dead man’s body, but it comes off as something perverse when we learn that he doesn’t actually have the authority to do that. Nygma also finds a thumbtack in the man’s body.
After leaning on an underground crime doctor, Bullock and Gordon find the firm led by Richard Sionis (Todd Stashwick), who is so obviously “The Mask” behind the office fight club death that Gordon basically accuses him on the spot and Sionis just says “prove it.”
C’mon “Gotham,” you’re not even trying to make great villains!
The only thing that’s really working on this show is The Penguin aka Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor). This week, Oswald makes a peace offering of sorts to Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), who promptly stabs him in the hand with it. In response, Oswald has Fish’s new second-in-command kidnapped and tortured until he reveals that Fish has someone close to Carmine Falcone (John Doman).
That someone is Liza (Makenzie Leigh), and she is rapidly losing her nerve for the mission. Fish gets Liza back on task with a story about how Falcone was responsible for something brutal that happened to her mother. But it’s an obvious lie considering that Fish’s mother was just on stage performing a song.
The Fighting Batboy
Meanwhile, in some show other than the one we’ve been watching, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) returns to school at the behest of his guardian, Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee). But once there, Bruce finds himself taunted and bullied by a group of rich kids led by Tommy Elliot (Cole Vallis)… who happens to be another of Gotham City’s future supervillains.
BTW “Gotham” writers, Jeph Loeb is at Marvel now. So you don’t have to pander to him with one of his signature creations.
After Alfred sees what Tommy did to Bruce in their brief fight, he gives Bruce his father’s watch and escorts him to Tommy’s house before allowing him to pummel Tommy’s face. Hilariously, Alfred tells Tommy to remember that he let Bruce do it. Then Alfred takes Bruce out for pizza and he agrees to teach him how to fight.
Throughout the episode, Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) has been on edge over her ordeal at the hands of Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan). So when Gordon is knocked out by Sionis and doesn’t answer his phone, Barbara leaves a note for Gordon and seemingly leaves him. Way to stand by your man, Babs!
Back at the GCPD, Bullock realizes that Gordon is in trouble, but he discovers that no one is willing to help him run down leads. So, Bullock gives a speech about Gordon being an “Asshat,” but he’s still a cop before anything else. He even threatens to stop covering for some dude with his wife before Sarah Essen (Zabryna Guevara) offers to help and the other officers fall in line.
Well… that was just embarrassing to watch.
In the office arena of doom, three of Sionis’ latest potential hires surround Gordon and he successfully keeps them at bay before they’re offered a million dollar signing bonus if they kill Gordon. As the rest of Sionis’ employees watch the fight for entertainment, Gordon handily defeats the three men and Sionis before Essen arrives with back up.
While Gordon doesn’t learn that Barbara deserted him this week, he does cross paths with Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova), who mockingly asks if he missed her after she is arrested for stealing dresses.
And with that, “Gotham” lives to frustrate another week. It would be an interesting wrinkle if Gordon essentially found himself foster parenting the future Catwoman. And it almost seems like the show is setting that up. But I don’t have much confidence in the “Gotham” creative team at the moment.
What did you think of this week’s episode of “Gotham?” Let us know in the comment section below!