Episode Title: The Blind Fortune Teller
Original Airdate: 2-16-15
It was bound to happen, I had started getting my hopes up about how Gotham had turned a corner and was churning out more episodes than I enjoyed with only minor things that irritated me. But from the very notion that they were going to be introducing the Joker in this episode I had my doubts, and as I watched the episode I knew I was completely right. It wasn’t entirely a hate watch for me, but there was very little throughout the episode that I truly got invested in, and most of that was Dr. Leslie Thompkins who has become my third favorite character on the show next to Alfred and Harvey Bullock. I always thought it was going to be a mistake to introduce so many well known characters in the Gotham universe so soon into the genesis of the show, and I preferred the episodes where they steered away from that. But this episode introduced Robin’s parents as well as a very young and already disturbed Joker in a way that was not very satisfying at all, and honestly felt like the entire episode was all one big joke, which would be fitting considering.
It felt like there were so many missteps and lost opportunities with many of the characters. While it seemed to make sense to have this be a more lighthearted episode as it took place during the circus, but it was jokey in all the wrong moments, and the way the mystery was solved was more fitting of an episode of Adam West’s Batman where he takes in all the clues and immediately puts together how they all fit into place. There’s also this decades long feud between the two circus families that didn’t make any sense how they could still be working together after all these years with such a strong feud between them. And knowing that the kid was set up to be the Joker based on the previews made things very anticlimactic, and when he finally turned the joke on it was ok, but it was a pale imitation of the Jokers that have come before him without anything really new brought to the table. Not to mention the fact that it doesn’t really fit to have the Joker be the Joker this early in the game.
Meanwhile there are still other characters who are furthering their own stories and none of them were very interesting either. Penguin is running his club into the ground by having a series of completely uninteresting acts including his dear old mother. It’s frustrating because it shows him acting completely opposite of how the show has set him up throughout the season so far. He’s very intelligent and manipulative, and it’s not going to take a minor victory to turn him into a completely soft-headed doting momma’s boy who can’t see his own club crumbling around him. The one bright side was getting to see the return of Butch who was also given a personality facelift through Zsazz’s conditioning which felt very flimsy. Fish Mooney was also doing her best to chew the scenery in her little jail cell, forming her own little rebellion and making headway. Again, ridiculous, but at least it was ridiculous in the way that Fish Mooney has always been throughout the entire show.
The one part that was enjoyable about this episode was the continuing relationship between Gordon and Lie, aka Leslie Thompkins. She’s just an absolute bright spot in this show, she makes Gordon lighten up a bit, and has a real enthusiasm for everything that’s going on that no one else seems to have aside from Nygma. Unfortunately, there’s also the return of Barbara who is the complete opposite of Lie where she always seemed to bring Gordon down rather than lifting him up. There were a few brief fun moments with her, Cat and Ivy, but it also seemed like she show was just shoehorning those two in to remind the audience that they are still around. All in all, it was a pretty poor episode and I hope it turns things back around again.