Gotham truly shook things up with its fall finale, having Jim Gordon demoted from officer to security guard at Arkham Asylum. In the process, potentially creating a dynamic shift for the whole series. The question was, would the show be able to capitalize?
“Rogue’s Gallery” did its best to make the most of Gordon’s new surroundings, and in many ways it did well. Yet once again it fell into familiar habits that will no doubt tick off fans.
The big takeaway from this episode was the introduction of two very different characters. One Dr. Leslie Thompkins, and one Jack Gruber. The former is a staple in the Batman mythos, the other is a more recent addition sure to…lighten things up. You know, strike hard? Ok, I’ll stop.
It was good to see Dr. Thompkins on Gotham, and for what she had in screen time she proved to be a welcome addition to the cast. Part doctor and healer, part tough as nails female, she is no one fools. And she isn’t afraid to protect herself, or slap around inmates, when the time is necessary. Yes, her and Gordon will no doubt be an item. But unlike certain OTHER characters, you can honestly see why. They have a great chemistry, and an understanding of why the other does what they do. Hopefully as the back half of the season rolls on Dr. Thompkins will become more and more important to the story other than possible love interest.
One thing I really did enjoy about “Rogue’s Gallery” was showing just how low Gordon was. He HATED his job at Arkham, especially with a boss like Lang bearing down on him like everything was his fault. It was hard to tell if Lang was fully corrupt, acting on orders to make Gordon’s life miserable, or was just an insufferable jerk, but it played off well. This was meant to be torture for Gordon, and it was working.
Yet as this is a show about Gordon, something had to turn around, and when inmates found themselves more-or-less lobotomized by electroshock therapy, it was up to Gordon to figure out the who, how, and why.
The case was interesting, but truly the bright spots were showing the darkness that lied within Arkham. The sets and tone they used were great, really nailing the comic book feel we’re used to for this iconic place. The inmates were also just as nuts, as a funny montage scene showed us. The showstealer was obviously Gruber, who did his best Hannibal Lector impersonation to great effect. The reveal of him being the mastermind wasn’t a shocker (that was unintentional!), but the promise of him coming back next episode as the Batman villain Electrocutioner? Cool.
Sadly, some of the other storylines just didn’t hold water. Two that did were focused on Penguin and Butch, Fish Mooney’s right hand man. I loved how Penguin got brought down a notch by Maroni, who for unexpected yet very awesome reasons showed that he is indeed a man of honor. As he talked about fisherman in a very poetic yet true way. The “lesson” to Penguin was very much needed, as he’s been more-or-less running things behind the scenes for a while with almost no incident. True, he’ll be boss someday, but he’s got a ways to go.
The Butch storyline was nice, as he both got his backstory, and got to see him struggle with the shifting powers that were swirling in the Falcone family. Him killing his best friend was very interesting, as you could tell he honestly didn’t want to do it. So he made peace with his friend before capping him.
One storyline that was almost pointless, and very underdeveloped was the Selina/Ivy storyline. Yes, this does build upon the relationship that many know will happen in the future, but their friendship could’ve been even more built up if we spent with them. I dig how Selina used Gordon’s crib as a safehouse for Ivy, but why not have more conversations with them two? The only thing we got was Selina looking up at the stars and Ivy answering Barbara’s call. I really wish we could’ve gotten more from them. Mainly because…
…the Barbara scenes suck! I’m sorry to be so strong there, but they are. I hated how Barbara left Gordon, and I REALLY hated how she ran back to Montoya. Then just as quickly Montoya dumps Barbara, who then tries to call Jim (on his home phone? really?), and can’t tell a young girl is on the phone, then promptly freaks out. Really? I didn’t mind this character at first, I really didn’t, she was a good anchor, but now she’s sinking, and fast! If she’s going to turn around, do it soon, or keep her off the show.
In the end, “Rogue’s Gallery” did a good job setting up the back half of the season. Gordon isn’t back with the GCPD yet, Fish continues to make her play for Maroni, Penguin is still a threat to everyone, and there are more dangerous people arriving in Gotham every day. It sucks we have to wait two weeks for Gotham to return (National Championship Game), but this should tide us over until then.