Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Review - Gotham: 2x15 - "Mad Grey Dawn"


Gotham
Episode 2x15 - "Mad Grey Dawn"

Synopsis

In an effort to prevent Gordon from discovering the truth about Miss Kringle’s disappearance, Edward Nygma engineers a complicated plot to discredit and distract the GCPD detective. Meanwhile, the Penguin discovers a secret that his mother kept from him until her untimely death.

Review

Wow, that was some episode of Gotham! After one and a half seasons of slowly building up the Riddler’s back story, this episode finally brought the character to life as Ed Nygma crafted a trap for Jim Gordon that drastically changed the status quo of the show. Nygma’s scheme gathered up pace throughout the entirely of the episode, starting off as a museum theft before evolving into a bomb attack, before the final reveal that everything had been put in place to frame Gordon for the murder of a fellow officer. Those whirlwind moments when Nygma’s plan came together and Gordon came to the dawning realisation that he’d been framed by someone in the GCPD were brilliant, and it was great to see him lose everything so quickly. Obviously, this status-quo won’t last too long, although Gordon seems to lose and regain his job surprisingly frequently! The ending of the episode definitely felt like a season finale, especially the scene with Gordon saying goodbye to Lee – in fact, it would have made such a brilliant finale that I wonder how Gotham intends to surpass it.

While the main thrust of the episode was on the Riddler’s game of “cat and mouse” with Jim Gordon, it was interesting to see the show revisit Poison Ivy for the first time this season, giving her more of a horticultural bent than her previous appearances. I doubt we’re going to see her get any meatier storylines than occasional cameos, but Clare Foley does a great job at portraying the haunted teen girl. In fact, all of the series' teen actors do a fantastic job with their characters, going toe-to-toe with the veteran actors in the cast. It was good to see Selina and Bruce paired together again on the mean streets of Gotham, with David Mazouz continuing to take footsteps to becoming the Bruce Wayne we know and love. I was surprised at the beating he took in this episode and his conversation with Selina afterwards certainly pointed towards his growing strength of character. I like that they are moving him away from the whiny emo-brat and giving him some actual balls – he looked genuinely tough as Selina sewed his face up.


The other sub-plot followed the Penguin as he discovered the father he never knew he had. In a genius bit of casting, Paul Reubens played Cobblepot’s father - a role he had also played in Batman Returns. The scenes between him and Robin Lord Taylor were brilliant, and I found myself truly believing that the pair were related to each other. While we didn’t get much chance to find out about his extended family, it seems Penguin may have some jealous step-siblings to deal with and a family fortune floating about. It’s interesting to see the writers pick up this plot-thread, moving the Penguin away from his organised crime roots and pushing him as an illegitimate child of nobility – one of many back-stories used for the character in the comic book continuity. I imagine that his backstabbing behaviour will resurface, possibly due to the machinations of his step-family, but it’s still not clear what Hugo Strange’s motivations are.

Overall, this was stunning episode of Gotham and easily one of the best so far. It goes to show that a ongoing drama can introduce shocking plot twists in the middle of a season without having to wait for season finales. While Agents of SHIELD has hit a mid-season lull, both Gotham and Supergirl have really hit their stride with some fantastic status-quo smashing storylines that proves both shows aren’t continue to rest on their laurels. With bold, uncompromising writing, Gotham continues to position itself as unpredictable and willing to take risks with its core cast. While I doubt Jim Gordon will remain in Blackgate Prison for the remainder of this season, I am eager to find out how he intends to unravel the Riddler’s lies and prove his innocence. Hopefully, the show’s writers will give this storyline time to breathe and give Donal Logue’s Harvey Bullock the chance to shine out from the shadow of his partner – the character has felt under-utilised all season and with Gordon in the clink, this is the perfect chance for Gotham to focus on the rest of its ensemble cast.


Score - 9.9 out of 10

Next Episode - "Prisoners"
After Gordon is removed from protective custody, he begins to face new threats and dangers from inside the prison walls. Meanwhile, Penguin grows closer to his father, while his step-mother and step-siblings move forward with their own plans for the family.

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