Not nearly enough Dent
Weak plot didn't serve the big story much
Harvey Dent makes his debut on Gotham
Many may be used to constantly constantly hearing this, but Gotham has utilized a few too many characters in such a short span of time. Fans were excited to hear about the debut of Nicholas D’Agosto as the city’s to-be white knight in Harvey Dent, but the debut episode didn’t appear as expected. D’Agosto had a strong showing in his first portrayal of the character, but he wasn’t used to the extent that he could’ve, and most definitely should’ve been. Especially since the episode it titled after him, you’d expect him to enter with a bang but he was merely building relationships and targeting the wrong people in his search for the person involved in the Wayne murders. The plot simply wasn’t very great this week.
This week’s episode introduced a new character with a weak plot to try and further develop the show’s overall story
Harvey Dent’s debut obviously wasn’t as glorious as expected. We saw way too many signs to hint that he will eventually be all about the Two-Face persona, but the coin toss is iconic enough for most fans, if not all, to identify who he is. There’s also a noticeable difference in age between Harvey and Bruce in this universe. We know this is a different take on that world also serving as a prequel to Batman’s appearance, so is that relationship we know so well between Harvey and Bruce going to be refreshed with a young friendship between Gordon and Harvey on this show? It’s an interesting idea and when we watched D’Agosto and Ben McKenzie on screen together you could already feel a sense of a partnership in the works.
Dent is very ambitious in this show, which is made clear in his tone when we first meet him, but he’s also very naïve. Throughout the episode we discovered he’d been going after the wrong people, but also revealed his anger through a tantrum he had in his office when speaking to suspect Dick Lovecraft (Al Sapienza). To be honest, it was a guilty pleasure to see the look on the face of a possible suspect with that amount of cockiness to look so freaked out, especially in this city. The problem with this though is that we should see Harvey develop that madness within him through time, rather than showcase it immediately just to hint those traits that are a part of his Two-Face persona have always been deep inside. It all makes sense, only if it stays dormant for a while so viewers can get to know the old side of his character.
There’s a lot to say about Harvey Dent in an episode where he didn’t do too much, around a plot that didn’t offer a whole lot either. The escaped prisoner Ian Hargrove (Leslie Odom Jr.) could make bombs to break into all kinds of storage systems, and was thought to have some form of illness, but that was mostly it. It was more about Carmine Falcone’s greater plans and starting the development of a bond between Dent and Gordon. A pleasant surprise was seeing Bullock (Donal Logue) continue to strengthen his partnership with Gordon, which as we stated in a previous review, will be crucial for the show’s success moving forward.
Bruce Wayne meets Selina Kyle
We’ve been anticipating this interaction for a while, and although Bruce (David Mazouz) hasn’t ever seen “Cat” (Camren Bicandova) before, she’s seen him, keeping an eye on him during the late hours of the night. After an introduction through Gordon, Selina ends up staying in Bruce’s mansion. This relationship made a lot of sense at this point since we’ve seen hints of it for a while now, and Bruce really needs someone else to spend time with besides Alfred. Alfred’s one of the best friends anyone could have, but Bruce needs friends around his age, especially after the beat down he gave Tommy last week.
The duo managed to show us in this episode, they can establish some real solid friendships and participate in more childish fun, much to the delight of Alfred. Then again, Bruce is still up to his usual ways in testing himself, this time to see how long he can hold his breath underwater with his clothes on. Selina and Bruce both questioned each other a few times throughout this episode, whether it was about the boxing training or Cat’s living situation, and it showed their interest in one another. On a side not, Bruce hasn’t smiled so much in one episode!
“You’re the weirdest kid I’ve ever met.” – Selina Kyle
The development in the relationship between Bruce and Alfred was also elevated thanks to their bond while boxing. Sean Pertwee’s portrayal of Alfred continues to improve from where he started at the beginning of the season, and if the Gotham writers team continues to develop this badass version of the character and create more unique dialogue he could be a lot more involved in the show’s story than most of us would expect.
Barbara comes, Barbara goes
There wasn’t much on Barbara (Erin Richards) this week. In fact, we thought Barbara wasn’t going to be a part of this episode at all, but she managed to grind our gears once again, and once again it was her leaving the situation. This time it seemed to be for longer than before, and closer to the end of the episode we found her in bed with none other than Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartagena). Really? Gordon makes plans for her safety out of the city, then she returns to foil his plan, and then she constantly wants answers after he warned her many times that it was dangerous. What happened? She finally got them and put the blame on Gordon, only to get angry when he wouldn’t answer two phone calls and then leave a note before exiting through the apartment door. Wow, that’s a lot to take in.
The point has to be made that she’s very similar to Arrow’s Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), in that she acts like she deserves to know everything, then complains and whines without having all of the facts together. Cassidy’s Laurel has developed a lot already in Arrow’s young third season and is gaining more and more fan support after being a constant annoyance for most of the first two seasons. The same can be said for Barbara, and she’s not dealing with a great loss or trying to fix it in a proper manner compared to Laurel, so there’s no excuse for her to be showing attitude and claiming to be scared when she’s moved in with her lesbian ex-girlfriend in the same city. Hopefully she’s put on hold for now so the show doesn’t suffer from too many side stories after introducing another big character in Dent.
The dialogue was somewhat choppy in this episode, and wasn’t all that great to engage the viewers. Selina’s little speech to Bruce about ruthlessness was uncalled for since he slapped and punched Tommy brutally on two separate occasions. There was also little from Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) except where he makes a very random mention of video games. We’ve always enjoyed his limited screen time but in “Harvey Dent” Nygma simply wasn’t on par with his usual self, and it may be because he isn’t given enough credit for the work he does or he needs to be more involved in the main story. The episode’s writer Ken Woodruff did create enjoyable dialogue for Alfred and Bruce though, as that relationship is still flying high.
Barbara needs a break from the show while executive producer Bruno Heller finds out what exactly he wants to do with this character. The writers have hammered her character into the ground quite a bit, especially in the last few episodes, and keeping her in the mix won’t persuade the viewers to stay optimistic. She was right to ask Gordon what’s going on but defying the direct instructions of her husband, who she once claimed to believe over anyone, only to get back with Renee later on left fans all over social media in frustration. Gordon’s grown more throughout the season and doesn’t deserve this treatment at all, regardless of the situation at hand, especially since he constantly deals with such high risk problems.
Overall, this episode didn’t live up to expectations as Harvey Dent wasn’t seen on screen as much as expected for an episode with his name in the title. If the episodes are going to be named after characters they should at least have bigger roles to play with more screen time. Barbara left Gordon only to cheat on him with her lesbian ex-girlfriend. Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) met with Liza (Makenzie Leigh) to blackmail her situation, only to make other arrangements around Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith). The development in the relationship between Alfred and Bruce was the episode’s strongest feature by far, and will continue to win viewers over if the flow remains consistent. We love Gotham, and the last few episodes have gained momentum until this blockade, so if they learn from their mistakes, next week and the following episodes should have a lot more to offer.
Questions, Comments & Concerns…
- Harvey Dent is a bit naïve, seeing how easily he targets the wrong people.
- I hope Barbara’s secrets are discovered, but in time. For now, her character needs time off.
- Just how close will Bruce and Selina get with the season almost at the half-way point?
- Edward Nygma doesn’t need his own story yet, but should be more involved in the show’s police work
Gotham (1×09) Review – “Harvey Dent”