Gotham 2.7: “Mommy’s Little Monster”
I’m sure that people that linger on this site – or watch Gotham, for that matter – have seen the 1992 film Batman Returns. Remember when a whole army of penguins was marching on in? Kind of silly, eh? Well, in the latest episode of Gotham, “Mommy’s Little Monster,” there is a moment like that, where Gordon is confronted by an army of “Penguins.” In the case, it’s not a bunch of birds as it was in that film: it’s a bunch of guys that look, dress, and walk like Penguin. So, now Gotham is taking from both the Burton-verse and the Nolan-verse (remember when the Joker set a bunch of clowns that look like him?) simultaneously. It’s pretty inspired comic book-type stuff. I keep saying it, but I’ll say it again: comic book fans that don’t seem to care for Gotham might be taking live action adaptations of their comic books too seriously, while, for better or for worse, Gotham is a weekly, live action comic book.
Oh there’s that other subplot in this episode where we see the Riddler emerge from Ed Nygma, as his duplicitous sub-conscious is leaving riddles for himself (complete with question marks) as to where he put Kristen’s body. It doesn’t make me necessarily more interested in the Ed subplot, but I like that approach to the Riddler: that the first person he tries to stump with his riddles is himself. I also think it’s pretty twisted indeed, to keep a severed hand in a snack machine. There has always been – in the history of comic books, something compelling about c character’s initials (for example, there was old comic book cover that had Superman succumbing to the letters LL, as, as it happens they stand for Lois Lane, Lana Lane, and Lex Luthor). So having the Riddler version of Ed Nygma store that severed hand in the KK slot of that snack machine is kind of clever. Indeed, I think Gotham is often more clever than people give it credit for.
All that being said, this episode took a bit of time to find that inspiration. The first fifteen minutes of the show were actually not too inspired. I miss how episodes of the first season all started out with a new case, and Gordon and Bullock would arrive at the scene and have their usual banter. With this season becoming a very long, single story arc, sometimes the exposition has to be laid on pretty thick, and everything can seem a bit staged until the story hits its stride. The whole opening scene, wherein the Penguin tries to rescue his mother from a warehouse prison of sorts but is confronted by Galavan, was a bit stagy and talky. Even the GCPD stuff didn’t quite work for me until Gordon and Bullock, who, while questioning Butch about Penguin, are surround by Victor Zsasz’s gang. The scene is pretty silly, as the two cops pick some heavy duty machine guns and start blasting through the wall. It was kind of funny.
Oh, there’s the whole Silver St. Cloud bit. She’s a teenage girl that Galavan has been using to manipulate Bruce and here we learn without a doubt that she knows what her mission is. It’s not as subtle as I would have liked it to be, perhaps, but I like the real hatred that eats up the screen whenever Selena and Silver are on screen together.
The episode climaxes at a public event for Galavan, the city’s new mayor, as Gordon and his team are trying to protect him from Penguin. Galavan’s hench-woman scores one of the most grotesque kills against a cop in the show’s run (and that’s saying a lot) and the Penguin sends his army (yes, the same one that I mentioned at the start of this review) onto the scene. It’s hard to believe that this inspired, comic-bookey climax is part of the same episode that opened with that really dull warehouse scene.
It certainly took him way too long, but now Gordon’s all on board the whole “there’s something fishy about this Galavan person” now. They almost dumbed down the character of Gordon to make it last this long. As for me, I’m still waiting for this whole “Rise of the Villains” story-line to give us a villain more interesting than Galavan.
My rating: 3.7/5