Gotham, Season 1 Episode 9 Review: “Harvey Dent”

(Beware, spoilers below!)

The newest episode of Gotham just misses the mark but provides enough intrigue to keep us watching.

Perhaps the most interesting storyline comes to us in the form of Bruce and Selina meeting face to face for the first time. Given that ‘Cat’ keeps escaping, Jim’s new idea is to place her in Wayne Manor, where hopefully she’ll grow attached enough to Bruce to eventually be inclined to testify when the time comes. She comes at odds with Bruce and Alfred, and at first Alfred calls up Jim to tell him it won’t work. Selina has her own criticisms of Bruce – he’s trying to discipline himself, with all the boxing and holding his breath underwater. She points out he’s not tough, and without that he’ll still never survive. It’s also obvious Bruce has a crush on her, something that both Alfred and Selina herself pick up on. By the end of the episode however, they’re laughing and throwing food about at one another. “She’s a breath of fresh air.” says Alfred.

Meanwhile, Jim has his own problems – there are many. As part of his investigation into the Wayne’s murder he meets with a lawyer called … Harvey Dent. Given that he’s the namesake of this episode, he really doesn’t have that much of a role to play, but Nick D’Agosto does a great job of conveying how he might become the famous Two-Face in the future. His plan is to use the existence of a witness to scare potential perpetrators, in particular a man named Lovecraft that has had beef with Thomas Wayne in the past. Harvey is convinced Lovecraft had something to do with it and he lets the man know.

Meanwhile, an ex-bomber has been released from custody by men who were once loyal to now dead Nikolai. They hire him in order to break into a bank vault, and we find out that they are working with Fish Mooney. There are two issues at play here: one of the fact that the bomber is mentally unstable. We see Arkham Asylum come into play as the Mayor opens it as a correctional facility so that prisoners can get the right treatment (anyone else disturbed there were so many mentally ill prisoners need to be transferred?). The other one is of Fish’s involvement in trying to unhinge Falcone. It seems everything she is doing to to make dents in the old man’s side.

But she hasn’t counted on The Penguin being involved. He finds Liza’s apartment and through picking up a scent affirms that she’s working for Fish. He threatens her with the knowledge that he knows her secret, but it’s not clear what he’s going to do with it.

Jim’s final (though admittedly less interesting or important) problem lies in the fact that Barbara has left town. She leaves a note saying she needs some time alone to get better and whilst Jim leaves her voicemails saying how he needs her and wants her back, we find out she’s been sleeping with Montoya.

Another week, another episode of Gotham. If anything in the episode thrills us, its through seeing what might be – how Bruce and Selina grow up to be the different people they do (Bruce values his education, Selina isn’t bothered), how Harvey’s personality foretells the future or how Nygma might be starting to be appreciated. What happens in the ‘present’ of the episode is not always quite so reliable. It’s definitely a slower paced one this week, but there are still moments of enjoyment to be had.

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