There’s one thing that always makes me cringe when I watch Gotham: the violence. I admit that, as someone who is a fan of horror and action films, comic books of all age levels, and particularly violent video games, this is a weird confession to make. But there’s something unpleasantly surprising about the violence in this show. Perhaps it’s because it’s a network show (and not HBO or Showtime, where you’d expect this sort of thing) – or maybe it’s because Gotham is trying so hard to alarm the viewers who are jaded Batman fans. Either way, I find it gratuitous.
“Welcome Back, Jim Gordon” featured two heavily violent sequences to propel the plot: the torture of Fish Mooney by Falcone’s men and the murder of a witness in the interrogation room at the G.C.P.D. Both were unpleasant to watch and left a sour taste in my mouth. I know that the writers and producers want to illustrate the crime, corruption, and danger of Gotham City. But at this point, it’s frustrating to watch. As a Batman fan, I know the G.C.P.D. is overrun with crooked cops and is paid off by crooked politicians and dangerous mobsters. But like Jim Gordon, I’m exhausted by this subplot. I’m ready to move on to Gordon’s rise in the force, and to Bruce and Selina maturing into the people they will someday become.
Aside from the violence, the episode was actually pretty interesting to watch and had some decent suspense. Oswald prematurely celebrates his acquisition of Mooney’s nightclub and also seems to consider Jim Gordon an actual friend, which is pretty fun to watch. Bruce forces Alfred to drive around the seedy parts of Gotham searching for Selina in their town car but instead stumbles upon Ivy, who claims to know where to find the missing Selina. Gordon is certain that a cop is behind the murder in the interrogation room, but of course he doesn’t dare accuse a police officer without risking his job or those of his partner and boss. Mooney is tortured and rescued and seeks revenge on Oswald, and Edward is an awkward creep around his office crush and then mercilessly teased by other police officers. I still don’t feel sorry for him.
Equally awkward is Bruce’s request for Selina to move into his mansion. He attempts to woo her with presents but she accuses him of hassling her. Though she claims that she never saw who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne, I truly enjoyed her putting Bruce in his place and just telling him to leave her alone. Whether or not she’s lying, she at least took back some of her agency.
Overall, the episode upset me but also kept me interested. At this point in the first season, I can safely say that Gotham hasn’t wowed me yet…but it also hasn’t fully disappointed me. Here’s hoping the rest of the season improves.
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