Monday, October 27, 2014

Gotham: Season 1, Episode 6

Episode Title: “Spirit of the Goat”
Channel: Fox
Director: T.J. Scott
Writer: Ben Edlund
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Runtime: 45 min
Rated: TV-14
Original Air Date: October 27, 2014

I enjoyed this episode of Gotham more than any to date. This could be problematic as it was perhaps the least Gotham-y of the episodes we've seen thus far. Yeah, there were a couple of scenes thrown in there to remind everyone that it was still Gotham, for instance the bit where Selina sneaks into Wayne Manor and steals something. I'm sure whatever she took will be important to Bruce, thereby sparking some part of their story going forward, but it really didn't need to be in this episode. They're also still bludgeoning the audience over the head with Nygma, I don't think we really needed to see him with a question mark coffee mug, we get it already.

Other than those short scenes, “Spirit of the Goat” provided us with a competent police procedural. The villain was more campy than what those you normally see from the genre, keeping a little of the comic book flavor, but overall this was a standard cop show episode. Harvey Bullock is one of the better characters on the show, and I had fun seeing an episode focus on him. We saw that at one point he was a lot like Gordon, now we're left wondering what could possibly have turned him into the guy we know now. That's how you make a character interesting, and it's what has been sadly lacking in the characters so far.

The writing at times is still questionable. The medical examiner missed a stitched surgical incision on a victim's scalp? Harvey's prior knowledge could have been shared in such a way that it didn't make a peripheral character seem like an incompetent idiot. On the positive side of things, it seemed like Bullock and Gordon had finally bonded, building the type of relationship that would be necessary between partners. The Major Crimes Unit makes their big play and Gordon is in hot water, and then the big reveal. It was the best moment of the episode, and it ended perfectly with Bullock charging at Gordon, all those good feeling immediately thrown aside.

Conclusion: They broke from their standard episode construction, and the episode was better because of it. Building the backstory for all of these characters is important, and “Spirit of the Goat” shows that when they decide to devote some time to it the characters become much more enjoyable. I question why instead of making The Riddler a riddle, they've decided to beat the audience over the head with it, and really hope they tone it down going forward.

Rating: 7.25/10

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