Gotham: Selina Kyle (1×02)
Synopsis: When the Dollmaker starts collecting wayward street urchins from all around Gotham for some sinister purpose, Gordon and Bullock have to find a way to rescue them. Selina Kyle, unfortunately, gets caught up in all of it and certain information she has about the Wayne murder comes to light after she chooses to trust Gordon. Meanwhile Cobblepott and Mooney continue on with their dastardly scheming and Montoya and Allen keep trying to build a case against out dynamic cop duo.
After kicking off with a mostly okay pilot episodes, Gotham honestly could have gone one of two ways. It could have collapsed under the pressure of the premise and the expectations that came with it or the show could have shined. I’m glad to say that so far – after it’s second episode – Gotham has managed to do the latter.
I won’t lie to you all, I had my doubts.
The pilot was enjoyable but it wasn’t perfect. There were plenty of things that I didn’t like about it and thankfully the “Selina Kyle” episode managed to avoid bringing up all of that while building on everything I loved.
In the second episode, Gotham throws us right into the dark underbelly of Gotham where we get out first real look at just how far this city has fallen and where it’s going to go in the future. Homeless children and runaways are being rounded up off the streets for a sinister purpose by lackeys working for “The Dollmaker.” Which version of the Dollmaker this is remains to be seen as several characters in the DC comic book universe have taken up the moniker. And we don’t get to find out too much about him. I appreciate that because it means that we have a real, crazy, on-going bad guy who is not one of the main characters we’re following. Fish Mooney, Carmine Falcone, Oswald Cobblepott, and Edward Nygma among others are people we’re being shown as or immediately through point-of-view characters. Yeah, they are bad guys. But we can’t completely hate them.
Assuming the Dollmaker pops up again, he’s the sort of antagonist that we can all rally against.
But in the mean time, the character’s rounding up of children laid down a foundation for a lot of other discoveries in Gotham. Namely, we learn just how corrupt the police and government are without the Falcone family’s influence when they refuse to alert the people of Gotham about what’s going on. And then, after Jim and Bullock initially manage to rescue the kids, we watch the Mayor use the whole thing as a reason to round up all the homeless kids in Gotham and either throw them into the system or ship them off to juvenile detention. That might have worked out just great if the Dollmaker’s people hadn’t used it as the perfect opportunity to kidnap a whole bus full of orphans headed for a juvenile detention center.
Great job, Mayor.
I mean, yeah, eventually Jim saves the day. Of course he did. This is Gotham, he’s the hero, and this show airs at 7 PM in the Central Time Zone. Other than some police brutality and some artfully edited attacks, we’re not going to see a bunch of kids get cut up and murdered. It’s just not going to happen. Especially not to Selina Kyle whose got a bright future head of her. Though, to be honest, for an episode called “Selina Kyle,” though, she doesn’t play that much of a role. She bares witness to a friend’s near abduction and gets wrapped up in the abductions after the Dollmaker’s people k. And eventually – to save her own skin from a juvie cell – she tips off Jim to her witnessing the Waynes’ murder. But other than that – and for some reason stupidly demainding to be called “Cat” (c’mon) she’s important but not crucial to the episode. It probably should have been called “The Dollmaker” and “Selina Kyle” could have been saved for later.
Some other points worth mentioning:
- I loved Barbara in this episode. We realize just how attentive Barbara is when she not only calls Jim out on how something is clearly wrong with him but wheedles enough information out of him about the kidnapping case to call and tip off the newspapers about the abductions.
- Robin Lord Taylor is still amazing. Seriously. This guy makes this show. I would watch it just for him even if the rest of the show sucked. In this episode our little Penguin finds himself determined to return to Gotham someday to seek out his vengeance. After getting picked up by some frat guys who he actually tries to be nice to until they insult him and he takes a razor blade to their faces, dude goes a bit crazy. And it’s absolutely perfect just how well he balances that rage and his budding, calculating criminal mind.
- I appreciate Jim stepping into a sort of surrogate father for Bruce. I like the vulnerability of Alfred who realizes he’s out of his depth trying to raise Bruce on his own. David Mazouz is really starting to own the character and it can’t be easy to pick up a character as iconic as Bruce Wayne at that age. Yeah, he’s kind of a little idiot at times but he’s a troubled kid who is going to grow up to be a troubled adult. And I am really enjoying the evolution. (Though, I’m not going to lie, the burning and cutting and “testing myself” stuff really needs to be nipped in the bud because c’mon, kid. That’s not healthy.)
- Falcone is a freakin’ bad ass. He goes to Fish Mooney and tells her off in the way only a hardcore criminal boss could. In her own house. And it’s fantastic to see how she responds. Jada Pinkett Smith plays her so full of raw emotion, rage, and determination. It’s amazing to watch. It further validates just how much value you can find in an original character created just for a television show like this.
- I still don’t care about Montoya or Allen. But I liked them better in this episode. Yeah, they are still building a case against Bullock and Gordon but they aren’t being mismanaged like they were in the first episdoe. They are doing things by the book and they aren’t having their characters assassinated in order to make them the bad guys on the show.
- Penguin’s mom is freakin’ crazy. Just saying.
So now that we’re an episode in, what do I think?
I think I’m going to be writing Gotham recaps for a very long time. Because this show? I think it’s here to stay. That’s not to say that Gotham doesn’t still have a whole lot of issues to overcome. There are a lot of characters who still fall flat and it’s too comical at certain points, the motivations of certain people unclear.
But that potential I saw in the pilot after SDCC is shining through
In lieu of posting a trailer for the third episode, I’m going to post a recently released trailer for the upcoming season. While I’m sure the third episode will be good – it promises some more Oswald Cobblepot and that is always a wonderful thing – we need to be keeping our eye on the prize. And the prize is a fulfilling season that leads us into subsequent years of great episdoes.