Martin Carr reviews the third episode of Gotham season 3…
Once again Gotham season three is jam packed full of narrative tangents, colourful characterisations and enough kookiness to keep those sceptics at bay. With plotlines gaining traction it felt like Gotham was once again moving in the right direction. A none too subtle homage to the Tim Burton’s Batman sequel made an appearance, adding some theatricality to proceedings with Lord Taylor revelling in the chance to grandstand. Benedict Samuel’s Mad Hatter is both sinister but somehow paternal in equal measure, contributing a level of villainy just the right side of vaudeville. He reminds me of The Master’s side kick in Lake Town from Jackson’s second Hobbit movie, with just a dash of Jonathan Pryce from Something Wicked This Way Comes.
His sharply defined portrayal feels instantly at home within the confines of this incarnation of Gotham city. Chief manipulator, showman and purveyor of parlour tricks, Tetch makes a mockery of Gordon, reveals Barbara Kean for who she is and settles himself in nicely with minimal fuss. Elsewhere we have some old flames renewed beneath the veil of indifference, while Bruce Wayne befriends, shelters and uses this opportunity to question his new house guest. Alongside this we get someone intriguing from a past season making an appearance that only manages to add spice to proceedings, but may well signal trouble for Gothamites everywhere.
So what we finally have here is a three dimensional series that lives and breathes, feels organic yet plays to the crowd and manages to make primetime salacious once more. Between Tabitha and Barbara, Valerie and Jim, even Penguin and Nygma there is a charged chemistry that allows Gotham to feel tangible. There is a history here finally being mined with skill, confidence and precision and people would do well to tune in and take note.
There were those who considered a series with this sort of legacy in the hands of the man behind Stallone’s Judge Dredd nothing short of car crash television. Internet pundits came out in their droves raining derision, judgement and hyperbole down on Fox before a single frame had been aired. Pretty boy McKenzie as Jim Gordon, that most sacred of policeman to be portrayed by a former US teen soap star. He was lucky there were no effigies of him burning on the lawns of prominent political offices, such was the outcry that went up across cyberspace. How times have changed. McKenzie has transformed his image and that character into the hard drinking antithesis of everything that Gordon stood for. And done it with style, clarity and barely a misstep. Which interestingly enough is a good comparison for the show right now.