Gotham Season 3.1: Better to Reign in Hell
So, the first episode of Gotham season three opens with a very short scene where Gordon goes off to reunite with Lee wherever she’s living (I forget) and finds that (surprise, surprise) she’s with some other man. It’s about here that I got put this review on pause. I don’t have cable TV, so I can’t watch these episodes when they air, and since I’m pinching pennies and decided to can my Hulu subscription (though they are offering me a deal I may use) I can’t even watch the episodes a week late. I went to the network’s site and watched the premier there, and it told me I only had sixty minutes to watch it. I paused it as soon as it started streaming, got some grub, finished this that and the other thing and was surprised to find that even though I had the stream paused, that countdown timer was still going. I had just over 40 minutes left to watch a 45 minute episode, if that’s conceivable. (Remember Bela Lugosi’s line in Ed Wood – “Twelve cities in ten days if that’s conceivable” – is how I felt.) So: I couldn’t rewind any of this. Why do I bring this up? Because when I saw that guy Lee was with I half-suspected it was Gordon himself (it kind of looked like him at a glance) and thought it was another clay-face clone of Gordon masquerading as him and luring Lee to…
That’s absurd, of course. The point: the joys of Gotham is that nothing is too absurd for the show. If the show-runners had thought of the the idea that her new man was just a fake Gordon with a scheme, they might have done it, and fans of the show would not have batted an eye, would they?
So Gordon comes back as a bounty hunter, and he’s even got the black leather jacket reminiscent of Jack Walsh from Midnight Run (DeNiro’s best movie that, for some reason, no thinks about) and he’s out trying to find the monsters that escaped in the final minute of the last season. He eventually learns that the Penguin has but a large bounty on Fish, and – as per usually in Gotham plotting – Fish knows people are after her so she uses Selina to tip off the new reporter named Valerie (not Vicki) Vale to her to Hugo Strange’s assistant because that lady might have the drugs that can help Fish, who’s new powers are actually killing her. Or maybe Selina betrayed Fish. Or maybe– well I don’t know. But Fish wants that assistant so she can give her drugs to keep hr from dying so she sends a monster that resembles Man-Bat (you comic book fans know who that is) and the episode because unhinged as we all expected. The assistant isn’t able to help Fish or her monsters, so one of them, who has the ability age them by touching their skin, makes the assistant grow to be over one-hundred years old physically in a few seconds. He eventually does this to Ivy, who happens on the scene, but the little girl decides to escape but she’s been touched by him so, uh, remember the season three promos that show a new, mature woman playing Ivy this year.. Well now have an explanation.
Bruce, meantime, knows that Court of Owls has been the puppet master of his father’s company the entire time, and after he threatens to expose this at a board meeting, they send a thug after him. The last plot-line has to do with Barbara and and Tabitha’s brutal methods for keeping an exclusive club in mobster territory.
Well, that’s not quite the last plot line. The Bruce Wayne-looking kid that came out of that bus… is lurking around following the footsteps of the Bruce we know and Selena. We’ll learn more about him soon enough, I suppose.
So, there you have it, folks. The season premier was quite good, and it gets there by having a serviceable plot (most season premiers have the main goal of just catching people up on the characters after a few months and often feel a little stilted as a result, and this episode is no exception) but the production values are as high as ever and the characters all seemed true to themselves. Gotham still feels like an absurd, live action comic book.
A good start.
My rating: 4.2 out of 5.