I went into Gotham really wanting to like it. Sure I had some doubts because it seemed that very early on, just from the trailer, that they wanted to throw as many references to Batman in. That is certainly what happened and if it was handled with a more delicate hand it might have left more of an impression. Instead the references felt rather ham-fisted as they shoved all the references to Bruce’s future run-ins at the very beginning. Combine that with poor acting that was paired directly beside solid acting and the show just felt uneven. Extremely uneven. It wanted to achieve so much. it wanted to evoke emotions. But it ended up feeling like a bit of a mess that wanted to capitalize on the source materials potential rather than making a great story.
Now I say this with complete acknowledgement that the last major arc on the show was possibly one of the better on the show. I really enjoyed having three episodes focus on a villain rather than the problem be solved in one episode. It allowed for the problems that arose because of this lunatic resonate within the story. Barbara effected, Gordon was deterred, and they were really tested on trying to figure out this crime in what seemed a more realistic time span. The arc was not perfect. it was littered with slow moments and character asides that didn’t truly drive home the point that we needed to see, but it was a step in the right direction. From now on I am hoping that they mix in some of these slightly longer arcs rather than purely having single episode contained stories.
One of the things that didn’t really make much sense to me was the shows focus on Bruce. Yes, this is Gotham. Yes, this will one day be the city he protects, but it isn’t yet. He’s just a rich boy that has a bunch of problems. That’s not to say that I hated Bruce. I didn’t. Heck, I’m not even made that he’s in the show. What bothers me was that he was in pretty much every episode and in the vast majority he didn’t have anything important or meaningful to do. He was just crammed in almost because they felt like he needed to be around because this will eventually be his story.
The problem was that it wasn’t his story. It was Jim’s story. While initially I really liked Jim, I came to find that his character was a little bit stale. He went through the same beats time and time again. People are out to get him because he’s upstanding. Yet, being an upstanding cop is a partial illusion as he realizes very quickly that he’s not afraid of making deals with the bad guys to meet his ends. it is a big thing with his character that should be more compelling that it really is.
It wasn’t until Barbara went apeshit that I found her even remotely interesting. It was also this deviation from the comics that felt fresh. Barbara has been warped after her stint on the crazy side. She killed her parents and would have killed Leslie. She’s turned a corner and this could be a real interesting change for her. The problem is she spent the vast part of the season being the most reviled character of the show. She was irritating. She was weak. Her character felt like a major waste of space. It didn’t help that there was an allusion to her relationship with Montoya. I’ll be the first to point out that Montoya faded fast from the show. She didn’t work, neither did Barbara, but they weren’t willing to give up. That said, the change in Barbara may work going forward.
Really this show felt like a bit of a let down. It is not the compelling show I hoped it would be. The villains feel underworked and overhyped. I wanted to love it, but it was just a solid okay. There were no episodes that really pushed to me a point that I fell in love, though the first half episode with Penguin revealing his mechanations was really good. The show has potential it just needs to do the work to make it feel more meaningful and less mundane. Do I think it can do it, I’ve seen glimmers of hope, so yes. The real question is will they be able to?
What did you think of this season?