Hot off the reveal that Gotham was getting a full season order, the series delivered yet another good episode. One that involved a key piece of Gotham City lore: Arkham Asylum.
“Arkham” delivered on many levels, not the least of which was pushing forward the storyline of the season, the gang war that’s looming over the horizon.
For me, the inclusion of Arkham Asylum into the series was huge. But more than that was how the show connected the infamous asylum to both the Waynes and the mob. Having the Wayne’s want Arkam Asylum to be…Arkham City (insert video game pun here) was classic. And having Bruce recite the reason why was almost poetic. Though the Wayne’s are gone, it’s clear that they’ll be a constant presence in both Bruce’s life and the lives of Gotham’s citizens.
But what elevated the storyline was the power struggle between Falcone and Maroni to get their vision for Arkham to come to life. One wanted a waste disposal plant, the other wanted to follow the Wayne’s plan and create low income housing. What’s a mobster to do? Kill people of course!
Enter Gladwell, a villain with a very unique kind of killing tool. Though maybe not the most flamboyant villain, Gladwell was very competent, and delivered some very chilling moments as he killed councilman after councilman.
The interactions between Gordon and Bullock during this case was really good as well. You can tell that Gordon is really getting frustrated with Bullock’s antics. Even going so far as to shout, “You can’t be this lazy!” Yet you could see that Bullock is slowly becoming impressed with Gordon’s drive, as he went out in search of his own clues, and once again saved Gordon’s life at the end.
Which actually leads to an interesting point, this was the first episode where we saw Gordon get into a fight. True, he chased after Mario Pepper in the pilot, but this was the first time he had to go toe to toe with a villain. It was a nice scene that showed that even without a gun, Gordon is dangerous.
The ending of the case though was truly noteworthy, as Gordon went from proud to stunned as he found out that though he did good, evil was still winning in the end. As the Asylum took a step towards its inevitable future. His conversation made that sink in, especially when Bruce asked if Gotham could truly be saved. And Gordon gave the only answer worth giving:
“I believe it’s worth trying.”
Truly though, the star of the episode was Cobblepot, who embraced his genius and took another step towards becoming the kingpin of crime we know he will be. From the opening scene with Gordon and Barbara, to his brilliant plan to insert himself more into the Maroni outfit, to his “disposal” of the hired help, it was all spot on. And…he now has the Penguin suit, you’re welcome.
A curious storyline in “Arkham” concerned Fish Mooney, as she tried to find a “weapon” to use against Falcone. It wasn’t the best, but you could tell that she’s ready to strike at any moment, and just needed the right weapon to strike with. Tick tock Falcone.
Finally there was the growing conflict between Gordon and Barbara, as she confronted him about Montoya told her, only to have it reversed and have Gordon mad about Montoya and Barbara being together. It was an interesting twist, and the result was another good step, yet there were some holes in the dialogue that you wish would’ve been filled in.
In the end, “Arkham” brought the growing tension between the mob and the history of the storied Asylum to life in an interesting episode that showed that sometimes the winners and losers of certain conflicts aren’t who you expect them to be. A war is coming to Gotham…the only question is: How long until it boils over?