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Gotham's "The Mask" Isn't Ssssssmokin'

Mike Hoffman | 12 Nov 2014 01:00
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Another Batman villain makes a low-impact entrance on the directionless Gotham.

I'm still not sure what Gotham is trying to do. The show plays with some neat elements, but doesn't really seem to have any focus in how it uses them. The people behind this show are basically taking all these interesting colors of Play-Doh, and instead of handling it responsibly, they just squish it all together, ruining all of them, and then hold up this ugly ball like a six-year-old, proud of their creation.

"Look mom, this is a man-vs-society theme! See, it's right there, mixed up with the emotionless/emotional girlfriend and the freaky villains!"

Gordon and Bullock have a new dynamic that's interesting to watch, with Bullock trying to be a decent cop (which he still needs to work at) while being supportive of Gordon. Unfortunately, these sequences are soured by an angst-ridden Gordon, still salty over his fellow officers abandoning him last week. Gordon's poor attitude starts to have repercussions in his relationship with Barbara, who is wildly different in attitude and motivations from one scene to the next.

Hey, Gotham writers: more supportive Bullock and driven Gordon, less Barbara. Actually, no Barbara would be fine. After all, you could start cooking up that Sarah Essen story any time now (Batman comic readers know what I'm talking about).

Bruce Wayne is played differently every episode as well. This week, Bruce is stuck up and too smart and mature for his own good, getting wrapped up in his anger. But at least Alfred is there to show him how to handle those feelings in healthy ways, like violence.

"The Mask" introduces another one of Batman's villains, but rather than capturing the character from the source material, he's more like Councilman Jamm from Parks and Recreation. You never really know why he does what he does, other than the fact that it causes trouble for the protagonists, and his obsession with Asian culture is both racist and ill-informed. At least Jamm isn't boring.

Spoilers ahead, but if you want to watch the episode first, it's available on Fox's website and Hulu.

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