Martin Carr reviews the fifteenth episode of Gotham season 4…
Retribution, collusion, triple crosses and final curtain calls go hand in hand with some dental torture, hammer time pay back and reconciliations this week. For reasons which go beyond explanation Gotham experiences peaks and troughs both narratively and character wise. In a week which feels more like an episode of loose ends being tied off, audience interest could be said to wane.
There are no obvious problems with some big characters playing out their arcs on screen whilst a modicum of violence keeps things challenging. Things fall down however through a sense of overfamiliarity. Motives, relationships, pay backs and bonds have been explored a multitude of different ways in a series which has spanned over eighty episodes. New underworld villainy has been consistently introduced yet these people knowingly represent very little threat to our central protagonists. Gordon is carved from granite, Bullock similarly impregnable, just as Penguin, Nygma and Thompkins remain above both the law and an early bath.
These interweaving plot threads amount to little more than an expensive diversion from the fact that Gotham has no endgame. Now I appreciate that the nature of long running television shows means a self-perpetuating through line leaves us with no closure, but sometimes this fails to help. With such a grandiose title card for episode fifteen I had high hopes here but the nature of how things unfolded scuppered any anticipation. Moments of pay back which provided a certain satisfaction were overshadowed by signposted story telling.
Some characters were given screen time more to remind than actively engage and drive things forward. Assassinations were doomed to fail as those in the firing line were well established and therefore impervious. Production values remained high but the obvious means employed to communicate narrative intentions were transparent. McKenzie, Logue, Smith and Lord Taylor continue to stand out as their arcs contain a substantial amount of character history, while elsewhere others are not so lucky.
Sofia Falcone has turned into a caricature who comes across more like a spoilt child with access to artillery than any sort of viable threat. Henchmen are only wheeled on to unsuccessfully kill our main heroes, while those who had peaked our interest over the last few weeks were side lined in favour of their less compelling counterparts. Which is a shame but hopefully only short-lived as normal dramatic service resumes next week.