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Gotham Finds a Sense of Humor

Mike Hoffman | 20 Jan 2015 19:00
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Gordon's Back? Gordon's Back.

When Gordon was sent to work as a guard at Arkham Asylum, it looked like this could be an area the series would explore for some time. However he returns from his month-long exile in "What the Little Bird Told Me" and it looks like he's here to stay. His sudden return to the GCPD as a detective isn't a huge surprise, but at first it's a bit disappointing to see the Gotham wouldn't commit to what appeared to be a major change, even for a little while.

It's for the best, though, as Gordon is far improved compared to the earlier episodes. He was never a terrible character, but he was rather boring as a protagonist driven only by the desire to make things right in the twisted city of Gotham. Now that he has seen just how warped the politicians, police, and criminals can be, he's coming back with a fresher, more direct attitude. Gordon is still committed to changing the city for the better, but he's learned he has to be a little devious and have a sense of humor about it.

There was always some chemistry between McKenzie (Gordon) and Logue (Bullock) - mostly thanks to Logue - but thanks to some better writing, that chemistry has been kicked up and is reciprocated by McKenzie. It's refreshing to see Bullock and Gordon take turns being the jokester and the straight man. This new attitude for Gordon compliments his new methods for handling everything from the commissioner to the villain-of-the-week, the Electrocutioner.

Ignore the "Science"

Jack Gruber, or the Electrocutioner, returns this week after escaping from Arkham, seeking revenge on those that betrayed him. Mainly, that's Sal Maroni, leading to a pretty exciting confrontation with a fun villain. His brutal electroconvulsive therapy to brainwash and control his victims in "Rogues' Gallery" was creepy, and now he has all his toys.

His weapons are inconsistent and odd and I'm pretty sure electricity doesn't work like it does in this episode, but just ignore the bad science and enjoy what's happening. Whatever nonsense is going on is entirely worth it to see how Gordon finally takes the Electrocutioner down. It's a fantastic moment that proves both that Gordon is fairly clever, but also that this show is capable of not taking itself too seriously.

Killing Off Loose Ends

This week's stories set in the seedy underworld of Gotham City are less humorous. Rather, the focus is on cleaning up the show's convoluted stories on that side of the series.

Untangling the threads of deception on Gotham could take an extra page of text, and no one wants that. Not surprisingly, it's not too appealing to general audiences to keep up with from week to week either. "What the Little Bird Told Me" works to unravel these threads as both Maroni and Falcone become aware of the betrayal in their ranks, with Falcone taking lethal steps to address it.

Jada Pinkett Smith is a big enough investment to avoid the death of her traitorous character, Fish Mooney, until (potentially) the end of the season. Rather, when Falcone literally takes matters into his own hands, it's to kills off her mole, Liza. It's a great characterization moment for Falcone, simultaneously brutal and heartbreaking, as Liza was manufactured by Mooney to take advantage of all his sympathies.

Bottom line: It's still not the top of the comic-based series on TV right now (especially with Agent Carter out there), but Gotham has far improved over its previous episodes.

Recommendation: A fun episode with a few big adjustments for the seasonal arc, don't miss "What the Little Bird Told Me." Those that have skipped the series so far should really look to get on board.

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