Two words: Badass. Alfred.
That was the high point of this episode for me. As a Batman comic book reader, I’ve long known that Alfred is capable of major kickassery, but it’s usually subdued under the stiff posture and dry British witticisms. The Alfred of Gotham is a more earthy, rough-and-tumble sort of butler and I kind of dig it.
“LoveCraft” featured Alfred getting all papa bear over the missing Bruce and it tugged at my cold heart. I also greatly enjoyed Selina and Bruce’s romp through the underbelly of Gotham, a place that clearly 12-year-old Bruce is totally unfamiliar with. By bringing these two polar opposites together, Gotham has done a solid job with showing the slow education of Bruce into the darkness that is his hometown. It’s easy to forget that Bruce Wayne didn’t just wake up one day as Batman; he worked at it for years and though viewers may get impatient with Gotham’s portrayal of tweeny Bruce, I find it oddly refreshing.
Along with Alfred, Selina was awesome to watch and the interplay between her and Bruce is a definite high point of the series. While there is something gimmicky about kid!Batman and kid!Catwoman working together (it’s been a while since I’ve read a Batman comic; did Batman always know that Catwoman was Selina?), Gotham manages to keep it from becoming too cartoony.
The Gordon and Bullock subplot was sadly dull. Gordon is reassigned to Arkham Asylum and Bullock worked with Alfred in tracking down Bruce. Their partnership, which had been gaining momentum in recent episodes, seems to be at an end for now. I have mixed feelings about this, though I am grateful that Gordon wasn’t a major player in this episode as he hasn’t been the most interesting in central characters. Bullock, with his slowly growing moral compass and sarcasm, is a great deal more entertaining, especially when he teams up with hard-hitting Alfred.
The inclusion of Lesley-Ann Brandt’s Copperhead could’ve been more engaging, especially since I love seeing more women of color in the comic book genre. I also got a kick out of Poison Ivy’s quick cameo, while Harvey Dent’s appearances were not only uninteresting but seemingly narratively unimportant. That wasn’t as bad, however, as Oswald’s continued interactions with Falcone and the mob. At one point, this was the most interesting subplot of Gotham but it’s been stretched too thin in recent weeks. Here’s hoping it improves soon.
Overall, this was a mediocre episode with several standout moments: Alfred and Bruce’s tender relationship, Selina as a great thief, and Edward and Gordon’s awkward hug. If the writing was just a bit more clearcut, it could’ve been a lot better. Also, as a huge Joker fan, I have to admit that I got chills when Gordon arrived at the infamous Arkham Asylum. I can’t wait to get a better look into the place that is so crucial to the Batman and Joker mythos.
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