Martin Carr reviews the second episode of Gotham season 4…
R-rated post watershed territory is still in full effect this week following up that meaty season four opener. Nightmare visions, asylum inmates running wild and one pissed off kingpin Penguin out for retribution are all on the agenda. Consider also that half the GCPD would rather be under payroll to Cobblepot than help out a colleague and you see how murky the waters have become. Underworld sands are shifting whilst a certain pint-sized vigilante is out and about flexing his muscles and causing more problems. Whips are cracked, artillery is fired and some seriously deep-seated issues come home to roost as we peer into a savagely cracked psyche.
What we get beyond the haunted house scenario which carries straight on from episode one is a sense of urgency. People are being sent off their rocker by Jonathan Crane who seems to have absorbed his fear and is looking to convert anyone else. Kevlar coated billionaires drop through skylights, dodge pistol shots and narrowly avoid the clink, before R & D department heads step in. Lord Taylor grandstands once more as a slighted crime boss who is looking for payback and intends to shame a particular officer into making that happen.
Elsewhere people have returned from the dead once more sporting Sia blonde bobs, black dress suits and a liking for high calibre armaments. As returns go this is pretty low-key and comes nowhere near Fish Mooney’s resurrection, but still brings something interesting back into play. Couple that with a few meaty dialogue scenes between adversaries and ‘The Fear Reaper’ adds another fine addition to Gotham’s fourth go round.
Beyond the visuals Gotham has a grittier quality yet still retains a high-end production value. Scarecrow is successfully realised and delivers on a par with the Cillian Murphy incarnation from Nolan’s first two Batman films. Whereas anyone with a clown phobia best avoid this episode if only for five minutes, when we are left alone in the head of a certain victim. That being said this forty minutes and change is more about progression than regression and more specifically evolution on a broader scale.
Small moments with Bruce Wayne, smaller ones with Selina Kyle and whole minutes with detective Gordon allow these people to grow. This criminal underworld is constantly switching allegiances, people are getting blown up, shot or frozen meaning there is a constant sense of fluidity. Only the city itself remains a constant shrouded in mist, steeped in factory smoke and knee-deep in its own criminal fraternity. Legislated, legalised and legitimate it may be, but half the fun amongst an ever evolving cast of characters is watching to see when those wheels come off.