Gotham, Season 1 Episode 8 Review: “The Mask”

(Beware, spoilers below!)

After an exciting episode last week I suppose it’s only fair that this week’s episode of Gotham is not quite up to par, instead dealing with the aftermath of what’s happened. The show is delving more and more into handling as many characters as possible per episode, though they deal with each character to varying degrees of success.

The villain of the week is back in the form of a crooked businessman that gets employees to fight for their jobs – literally. Whilst the identity of the man is uncovered relatively early on, this storyline is more of a vehicle to uncover James’ clash with the police force on the back of last week. His going against the grain clashes with the police force in question who usually stays under the thumb of the powerful. Even with Bullock on his side, the other cops are resistant to helping him. It’s down to Bullock’s more forceful personality and the Chief’s remorse that we see the tide begin to change. However James makes it clear that he’s going to go after every crook until the dirty end.

James has problems at home too with Barbara. On the back of her rough treatment last week at the hands of Victor she’s slowly unravelling, taking to brandishing James’ gun when nervous. She calls him at work to see if he’s okay but he hangs up abruptly, busy with the case. Before the end of the episode she leaves the apartment with only a note left behind for explanation, but misses the voicemail where he tells her everything will be better.

The future Batman is also starting school, and he’s targeted by a particularly nasty boy who starts taunting him about the death of his parents. At the end of the day he’s disappointed that he wasn’t able to hurt the boy more. He ends up in the boy’s neighbourhood and beats the boy up until Alfred stops him. It was an unexpected turn of events which gives us insight into how Bruce would one day become Batman. As Bruce admits he enjoyed hurting the boy, he asks Alfred to teach him how to fight.

The Falcone/Moroni rivalry is whittled down to Fish and Cobblepot today. Whilst they iron out terms together Fish makes it very clear that she hasn’t forgiven Cobblepot for what he’s done, stabbing him with a brooch he gives her. Later as he gives the brooch to his mother, we find out that Cobblepot’s mother was as wily as her son is, reporting a bully’s father to the secret police in her childhood. He uses this inspiration to extract information that Fish has a person close to Falcone.

We also see Fish give Liza a mission to retrieve some information from a ledger in Falcone’s desk. When Liza asks for out, Fish tells here a story about her childhood where her mother was killed by one of Falcone’s goons. After she extracts the valuable info from Liza we find out that Fish has spinned the story to meet her own ends. The wily woman.

In ‘The Mask’ most of the fun is actually had by either Cobblepot or Nygma, the latter of which has the fabulous anti-joke “What do a dead man, an emu and a cruise ship have in common?” “Nothing.” Catwoman is also back through means of a slightly sloppy reintroduction. What’s she doing back under the care of Gordon? I guess we’ll find out next week. Like I said, this week’s episode is a bit of a drop in quality, with more of the audience’s attention taken up by the B or C plots than the main thread featuring Gordon. I also want to point out what might be the most erratic character in Barbara, and I hope that the writers are merely doing something I’m missing. It was great that the episode didn’t just brush over the events of last week, but I certainly hope next week’s episode picks up pace.

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