Gotham S:01 E:03

Episode: Balloonman
Original Airdate: 10-6-2014

Gotham has been a strange creature these past few weeks. Each time I watch the show, I do enjoy it quite a bit. But then after the credits roll and I begin to think about it a bit in order to write my thoughts on it, I start poking holes in it. Whether it’s the Penguin, or Fish Mooney, or Jim Gordon himself, there’s a lot of elements of the show that just rub me the wrong way as it pertains to the Batman mythos, at least the corner of the mythos that I know about. This was the first episode where I started poking holes in the show as I was watching it, but at this point there is still enough good in the show for me to latch onto to stick with it for a while longer at least.

One of my biggest gripes about this episode was the bisexual addition. At first I thought it was an interesting choice to have Barbara be a bisexual and the woman from the Major Crimes Unit who was shown to be a good friend in an earlier episode was revealed to be her ex-girlfriend. And then my wife was curious about how Gordon’s relationship ends up in the future of Gotham and while I knew that at least in the Year One storyline, Gordon cheats on Barbara with his partner and later marries her. While I would like to see more all-encompassing characters in a show like this, it doesn’t help the cause to show characters that reject a homosexual lifestyle for a more “normal” heterosexual one. It doesn’t help that I get some of the characters confused within the Batman mythology either as Montoya from the MCU and Sarah who is the police chief are both slightly shifted from their earlier roles where initially Sarah becomes Gordon’s partner and is the one who he leaves Barbara for, which seems unlikely to happen in this continuity at this point. My problem has been that they keep throwing out characters who will be important in the Batman universe, but they are apparently throwing them out in completely the wrong ways. I’m usually all for changing things up and re-imagining things, but there’s just something off with the way the show is presented, and they way things are actually unfolding.

Aside from that moment, this episode went back to the problem I had with the pilot where there is too much “on the nose” foreshadowing of Batman’s Gotham. Especially how this episode essentially deals with Gotham’s first notable vigilante, and when he is captured by Gordon, little Bruce Wayne just happens to be watching the television news when they say “if he won’t protect the citizens of Gotham, who will?”. Hmm… maybe Batman? It’s just things like that moment that irritate me more and more as the show goes on. There are still a few things that I can grab a hold of that still make the show worth watching for me, and the biggest part of that is Donal Logue’s Harvey Bullock. Week after week, his corrupt cop with a reluctantly good heart deep down, at least when it suits his needs, has been the highlight of the show. While Jim Gordon himself seems to spend most of his time making a pruneface as he struggles with his own decisions of trying to be a good man in a corrupt system. It’s tough to keep watching a show when the main character often comes up as being the weakest link. But time will tell

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