GOTHAM S1E4 ‘Arkham’ Review

                                                       MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD.

While the 4th episode
retains the quality of the previous episodes but unfortunately it
also retains the series prior failures which consistently scupper the
series potential. While the political machinations and Cobblepot’s
ambitious subterfuge kept me entertained I couldn’t help but notice
the glaring flaws that need to be addressed, but more on that later.
The episode deals with a major part of
Batman lore, Arkham. Long has the Asylum been tied to The Dark Knight
and the his myriad foes and here we get to see the genesis of the
most famous, infamous Mental Health facility this side of One Flew
Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The surrounding land which the old Asylum
occupies is at the center of a feud between the major players in
Gotham’s mob scene, Carmine Falcone and Sal Maroni. It is also the
motive behind a series of grisly assassinations of Gotham politicians
by a articulate hired killer who prefers to use elaborate spikes to
stab his prey. This plot thread of the story leads to an escalation
in the series violence, which is depicted more graphically than
before. While some may balk at this I believe the darker tone does go
a ways to separate it from the other comic book based TV series.
The conniving Cobblepot, after
revealing his return to Gotham to Gordon, finds a way to use the
escalating mob feud to his benefit. It’s very entertaining to see him
manipulate both Gordon and Maroni to further his own agenda. Again
Lord-Taylor solidifies his position as one of the main draws for
Gotham. He is both endearing and wicked.
As for of the rest of Gotham’s players
Gordon is the only one other than Cobblepot who really has anything
to do here. McKenzie is still solid in the role and as always keeps
you interested. Everyone else is sorely underused. Bullock barely
gets a look in other than to act as opposition to Gordon’s idealism
and chase down leads while the plot plays out. Pinkett-Smith’s Fish
Mooney, who has proved herself in the previous episodes to be the
highlight of the series, has a few scenes but they are mishandled.
The episodes intent was to have her interview segments be alluring
and provocative but instead they come across awkward and forced. A
waste of the character but in the end the scenes do serve to set up
further episodes even though they were lackluster in execution.
The villain of the piece was a
generic, talkative hit-man that we have seen before countless times
and really held no appeal. There were so many ways to make the
character more compelling but instead we get the mundane.
What really hurts the episode are
elements that have popped up previously. My main gripe was the
Barbara/Jim dynamic. There is simply no chemistry or warmth between
the two and every time they are on screen together it falls
completely flat. I tried my best to give Erin Richards a chance but
at his point I have accepted the fact that she is seriously miscast.
There is simply nothing in the character to hold my interest.
Richards plays Barbara so cold that I for one hope they depart from
traditional Batman mythology and go a different direction for
Gordon’s romantic life. Or failing that recast. Perhaps its the
writers fault and they simply can’t find anything for Barbara to do
other than be suspicious and secretive.Another problem I have is the forced
inclusion of Bruce Wayne. While I enjoy Mazouz as Bruce I simply
don’t see the need to have each episode connected to him somehow. The
scenes between he and Gordon are well done but wholly unnecessary.
All in all the quality hasn’t dipped
for the series it is just that it still falls victim to the
persistent flaws. The main cast, especially Lord-Taylor, still
impress and keep me entertained throughout and the story was
intriguing enough to hold my attention.

Overall a quality episode despite the
stumbles. 7.5

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