A dark, yet beautiful portrayal of Gotham City
Many easter eggs
Tons of DC content
A few too many characters introduced
The city of Gotham is not beyond saving.
We’re all aware, as fans, that DC Comics failed to keep up with Marvel’s cinematic universe after a disastrous Green Lantern film. Sure, they finally released a well done Superman flick in Man of Steel and that’s been a long time coming, but it’s not nearly enough to compete with their arch rival. That’s where the small screen business comes into play. DC kicked off their television properties with Arrow two years ago and now have five in total including The Flash, Constantine, iZombie and of course, Gotham. Monday night’s pilot almost immediately reveals the alley murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, as the viewers get a more in depth experience into the hard pressed and raw emotions of their child, the iconic Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). A gritty introduction is given James “Jim” Gordon (Ben McKenzie) who is a former soldier turned cop and his new partner, seasoned detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) and many others. As a matter of fact, this episode was packed with a few too many characters in a great yet dark city, but that also means there’s a lot to discuss, so let’s get to it!
“However dark and scary the world might be right now, there will be light.”
The first major point in the plot is the death of beloved Thomas and Martha Wayne. Coming out of the movie theatre into the alley, a thug robs Thomas of his wallet and Martha of her pearl necklace, before shooting them both in the chest, leaving young Bruce Wayne in agony. This tragically historic event is witnessed by a young Selina Kyle (Camren Bicandova) prowling the rooftops of Gotham. Bruce’s pain is constantly shared by fans, and David Mazouz has outdone himself in this episode depicting that darkness that will grow within him, yet stays true to the source material.
Harvey Bullock arrives at the scene with Jim Gordon only to realize that he’s dealing with the death of one of the most rich and influential families in the city. Harvey, seemingly on both sides of the clean/corrupt spectrum, wants nothing to go with this case as it will come with the upmost pressure from the people of Gotham. Gordon begins speaking to Bruce immediately which falters Harvey’s plans to give the case to the Major Crimes Unit. This discussion between Gordon and Bruce truly establishes the beginning of their friendship, as Gordon promises that he will find his parents’ killer. Gordon is also somewhat overly grim more often than not, a tone I expect to change throughout the show. We also receive a pleasant introduction to the Wayne’s butler Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) who reveals an edgy, rough and sarcastic personality of his character opposed to the wise and proper depiction that fans are more accustomed to, all with the same unending love for young “Master Bruce.”
“You have a little danger in your eye; I wonder what you plan to do with that…”
As Gordon observes and learns more of the crooked ways of his partner, and the GCPD overall, he also interacts with someone who has more “leeway” on the wrong side of the law. A local crime boss in Gotham’s theatre district, we meet a long time friend (yes, friend!) of Harvey’s who goes by the name of Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett-Smith) and her personal assistant Oswald “Penguin” Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor). During this initial first meeting we get a great taste of this sexy, seductive, yet intelligent, dark and vicious woman under the wing of the mafia don Carmine Falcone (John Doman). I can only picture Pinkett-Smith portraying this new character now that there’s been a lot revealed about her arc. The raw intimidation in her voice, the piercing gaze from her eyes to her cold lines, she definitely brings her game to the show! When Fish meets Gordon for the first time she sees something different in him, which can either become a benefit for a major problem for her. He witnesses some of her henchman beating a man out back who’s apparently been stealing money from her, and realizes he has to leave it alone, abiding by how this society works. This is where he first meets Cobblepot, a smaller man who was allowed to beat the traitor and took tremendous joy in doing it, with the evil laughter revealing there’s a lot more than meets the eye. Cobblepot’s “sometimes calm, sometimes devilish” demeanor definitely makes me want to see more!
“Hero Cops Slay Wayne Killer.”
Bullock and Gordon track down a lead on the Wayne’s murderer, and enter a hefty chase when confronting him. The suspect they’re chasing is a very big and chunky man who doesn’t look to be able to last two minutes in a marathon let alone running for an extended period of time from two cops. To me, this is one of the big flaws that stood out in the pilot. After being forced to kill him, the praise and relief felt by the two is short lived when they come to find out that the crook had been framed. Gordon attempts to explain the situation and any possible ideas or leads he may have to Bullock, who immediately shuts down all notions. Throughout this episode Bullock frequently has to explain to Gordon how exactly the system works, and that if the people of Gotham are at ease knowing someone’s been taken down in regards to the Waynes, they’ll feel safe. Again, we see the corrupt views and ideals of the GCPD.
Gordon: “Even if the real killer’s still out there?”
Bullock: “Yes! This is perilous stuff you’re messing with. Listen to me, for once Jim, forget about it.”
Gordon, unable to bottle this up, visits Bruce at the Wayne manor where he apologizes and explains the truth of the situation. Bruce, with all his grief, accepts this and another large development step is taken in the friendship between the two. I particularly love this scene because we see how sincere and driven Gordon is to serve true justice in honor of the Waynes.
FINAL VERDICT: Let the origin stories begin!
There were very small glimpses, with little detail, into the lives of some other characters such as Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) a coroner with the GCPD, Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) who is Gordon’s beautiful fiancée, and Ivy Pepper (Clare Foley) whose individual stories will gradually take larger steps as the season goes on. As for the main characters revealed in this episode by the likes of James Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Bruce Wayne, Fish Mooney, and Oswald Cobblepot I have nothing but praise. Creator Brian Fuller did an excellent job with the casting of these characters, who can definitely act the part and draw the fans in. What I would like to see moving forward especially in the next few episodes is a Gordon with more color to his personality, and more story development on different characters instead of trying to crowd them all up in one. It makes sense that the show needs to plant as many Batman-related easter eggs as possible, since we most likely won’t see the caped crusader on screen. All in all, I enjoyed this new portrayal of the legendary city that follows DC’s dark, traumatic themes and though they may have had a few too many characters in the pilot with different relationships, the show runners have a lot to work with going ahead!
QUESTIONS, COMMENTS & CONCERNS…
- Oswald Cobblepot’s inner demon is revealed as he confronts the fisherman, couldn’t he just ask for the sandwich?
- Wanted to learn more about Barbara’s background.
- Hopefully Gordon will smile a bit more for us next week.
- Is Selina Kyle more interested in gaining a friendship with Bruce, or just to prey on his grief and use him?
- Need I say again.. FISH. MOONEY. WOW!
Gotham 101 “Pilot” Review