Martin Carr reviews the nineteenth episode of Gotham season 4…
I wish people would make up their minds. If you want to be dead, if you want to pass on a sacred power and if you want this all to go off without a hitch then try to avoid doing it in Gotham. This would appear to be the chief lesson in a rather perverse episode, where villains are resurrected, infatuation and love co-exist within the split personality of one person and there is lots of talking.
Now normally talking is important for television shows but for some reason this made little difference and things moved no further along. Barbara did some posturing in front people dressed in black, was rescued in an improbable fashion before being in the same predicament minutes later. Our long dead ex-League of Shadows boss turned up looking like an extra from The Mummy with Brendan Fraser, while everyone escaped without a scratch. There was some night driving from Bruce, a little word play between Tabitha and Alfred and suddenly a knife appears.
In amongst all this pointless plotting there were breaks for Ed and Lea to play another game of unlikely romantic entanglement, where they both try to sell us on the idea. Suddenly Penguin and Butch turn up and do little to raise the calibre of storytelling on display. With female ninjas swearing allegiance to al Ghul before turning around two minutes later to do the same for Barbara, things started to lose their impact. Who has possession of the Demon’s Head no longer seems relevant, whether that finally gets us to a bona fide Batman or not. Possibly the most interesting parts of Gotham this week were the comedy double act of Tabitha and Alfred, combined with Kat pulling a Mission: Impossible moment to great effect.
Symbolically speaking Lea Thompkins’ final transitional moment over to the dark side played well, but was let down by almost everything which had come before. Yet again there were nods to Nolan’s Dark Knight both in dialogue and narrative structure, which were nice touches but nothing more. al Ghul’s reappearance still seemed surplus to requirements and added nothing more beyond a sense of theatrically, because his return made no sense. After the barnstorming episode last week this felt like a poor substitute. Not because these characters are undefined or two dimensional, purely because Monaghan set a fire under the series with his turn in dual roles. As we creep towards the close of season four and there is still no word on renewals for Gotham, you would hope they are planning to exit with a big bang.