Gotham Ep. 4 Review: Arkham
By Rob Jefchak
Sometimes when you keep your fingers crossed for something good to happen, you get rewarded; double rewarded in this episode’s case…with a an unfortunate bitter taste at the end though. Things continue to become complicated for Gordon and our future Penguin, Oswald Cobblepot when he returns to Gotham and claims “a war is coming” between the two mob bosses (Falcon and Malroni) and he claims to want to help Gordon save lives for sparing his own. However, Bullock and Gordon have another gimmick like crook/killer who utilizes a strange metal spike to take out high profile targets; not to mention Gordon’s much-fought-over girlfriend Barbra wanting to know more about Gordon’s suspicious friendship with the Penguin.
The bitter taste part I mentioned is the unfortunate rehashing of another weird weapon villain killing people. We already got that in “Balloon man” and the last thing “Gotham” needs to be doing is putting their own realistic spin on the “freak-of-the-week” routine that ruined “Smallvile” for me and may very yet ruin “The Flash” for me. In a crime filled city like Gotham, one has to wonder why high profile citizens are stupid enough to stick around for a weirdo in a parking lot; brandishing a metal toy that clearly isn’t from Toys R’us. I’d rather talk about what actually works here and that’s the Penguin’s return to true villainous glory (and not just a run of the mill serial killer) and the growing tensions between the two crime families.
Gordon’s constant placement in rock/hard place situations keeps his situation as the sole good man in Gotham complicated and interesting; it’s why the show works more so than the use of all the cameo crooks. The need for Barbra to want to be let in is an expected plot point that isn’t particularly compelling…yet but I have a feeling her relationship with Gordon will still provide fruit before this season closes out. Seeing more Penguin and less Fish is ALWAYS a good thing. Penguin continues to be a charmingly polite yet conniving little monster at the same time and his rising role in the mob continues to keep me hooked into seeing how this will all end for the future fish eating freak.
Bringing Arkham into the picture created some surprisingly good conflict with Bruce Wayne; making the problem actually emotionally tied to Bruce so as not to just have another flimsy excuse of shoe horning him into the episode. Arkham seems to be being played up as going to play a larger part in the series than just for the future villains to crash at, I can only hope it’s used more often in the future and not left to the side as a weak means of one time episode story fodder. The spike slinger subplot aside, I’m pleased to see “Gotham” getting back on track from where it started from. My interest remains stable and the show’s quality has done the same so far; keep plugging Penguin and flushing Fish and this show can only get better in my opinion.