Gotham Ep. 3: The Balloonman
By Rob Jefchak
It’s been 3 episodes so far of Fox’s “superhero” show about a pre-Batman Bruce Wayne. The show has been stuffing as many wink-wink, nudge-nudge villain cameos in as possible. Still…the show isn't exactly sure who or what it wants to be. I also am not sure what I’d like this show to be. I was very impressed with the first episode despite the overly obvious shoveling of Easter eggs into it. I was intrigued to see where the show would go with hinted villains like the Riddler and Catwoman. Well in the series 3rd episode, we got the closest thing to a gimmick/themed villain with a criminal known as “The Balloonman:” a vigilante who latches Gotham’s most corrupt higher officials to weather balloons and lets them float to the sky til they drop to their deaths.
As usual, the moral debate between Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock remains black and white, constantly disagreeing over the “punishment” or lack thereof criminals receive and with this case; it’s no exception. A good man fighting against an evil world is one of “Gotham’s” best themes and it plays out no greater than in this episode right here. Despite the murmured talks of mob bosses feuding and gangsters acting like well…gangsters, Jim’s mission to cleanup a corrupt city is what drives the series above all other gimmicks. However, aside from a well-developed story of Bruce training with Alfred and a literal “blink-if-you-miss-her” Catwoman appearance…not much comic book goodness has been brewing lately.
Young Oswald/the Penguin continues to be one of the show’s best assets and actor, but lately he’s been reduced to just randomly killing people over every little thing. Maybe it’s just me, but what I liked about the mix of “Gotham’s” cop and mafia drama was the concept of seeing the super villains developed as people; see winks of what’s to come in the future. I appreciate the realism Nolan-esque approach, but a comic book show still needs its comic book characters…including fictional heroes/bad guys that we care about and not just one shot crook of the week characters. Here’s hoping (especially thanks to this episode’s ending) we see more of our future, fish eating crime boss: Penguin.