Gotham pulled off a major reveal in the form of the Oswald's alliances in Gotham Season 1 Episode 7, a twist that I wasn't expecting at all.
So could its follow-up, Gotham Season 1 Episode 8, keep that momentum going?
It looks like the answer is that while things are being moved into place with respect to the mob battle (it is peace time!), the hour was pretty much more of the same from what we've come to see on Gotham.
While Jim remains as headstrong and determined to clean up the streets, causing perhaps a bit of friction with Harvey, I'm glad that their buddy-cop duo relationship didn't break apart. If anything, Harvey was able to rally some of the other policemen to help out.
Unfortunately, their case this hour involved a brutal office fight club led by a man in a mask. My immediate thought went to the Batman character Roman Sionis who is the Black Mask, especially seeing as the man's name on Gotham is Richard Sionis. But by the end, even with all the sword swinging and villain posturing, this fight initiator ended up just being another bad guy of the week. Not even a fancy weapons room or suspenders could change that outcome for him.
At the same time, while this type of character and scenario fit in with Gotham's styled universe, he didn't really act like anything other than an obvious bad guy. If he is indeed a variation of Black Mask, I would have loved to know more about him in order to truly make him a character, especially if we do wind up seeing him again. I think the actor was the right choice for the role, but it just felt like we only barely scratched the surface.
Jim may have come out the victor in his job, at least for the day, but his relationship with Barbara crumbled again.
I get that she's still traumatized from Victor Zsaz's treatment of her during the Carmine Falcone battle, and she felt she needed to call Jim at work just to hear him. But to just put a note out and leave? I thought that was her place she was staying at? And will she really be gone for long? She has a habit of coming back pretty quickly after her exits.
Unfortunately I just felt like shrugging my shoulders when she left. I can only imagine Jim's reaction when he gets home though.
On the bigger bad guy front, Oswald has definitely stepped up his game into what feels like a very similar position that Fish is in, just on the opposite side. Clearly, Fish isn't going to let things go, but we've also seen that Oswald will retaliate. He's definitely become much more than his umbrella-carrying self of the past.
His mother on the other hand is just as wacky as ever. I get she loves her son, and maybe some of the eccentricities have rubbed off on Oswald, but I wish she wasn't so campy.
I really do find it funny that all the characters on this show seem to be on different tone settings.
I really appreciated that Bruce finally left his
one room apartment mansion to go back to school. However, I was a bit surprised that Bruce seemed to be more of a loner and was getting picked on immediately. Maybe it was too quick of an assumption to assume he was popular, but the fight definitely pushed the story towards Bruce learning to master those combat skills he'll inevitably use as Batman. Plus, to give the more rough around the edges Alfred a focus on something he seems to be rather adept at, (he grinned at the prospect of teaching him to fight, right?) was a good change of pace.
I'm still on the edge about Bruce's involvement overall on the series, but switching things up and giving him something new to do was a positive swing.
I can't say the same about Selina, who feels like she's just thrown into the hour to remind us she's future Catwoman and still on the show. I liked the joke about Jim being in sewers, but is she actually going to contribute something this time? The last time she offered Jim help we didn't really get anything new.
This hour, even with its positives, is still following that line of a Gotham that wants to be very dark and violent and then campy and exaggerated at the same time. I really want to dig into who these characters are and where the stories are headed, especially with the big twist in last episode. But instead we got mostly just a case of the week that left me wanting so much more.
What did you think? Did you enjoy seeing Bruce go back to school? What did you think of the masked bad guy? Sound off below and be sure to catch all the pre-Batman action when you watch Gotham online.
Here is your first look at Gotham Season 1 Episode 9, which will introduce viewers to Harvey Dent:
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.