Episode Title: A Bitter Pill to Swallow
Original Airdate: 11-16-15
I can’t entirely tell if this show is actually getting better, or if I’ve finally just given in and accepted that this isn’t going to be the show that I want it to be. But I really enjoyed this episode, in fact I’d say that it was my favorite of the season so far. It just did all the right things with all of the characters with only a couple minor missteps towards the end. Gordon is really going down a much darker path than I expected, and more or less so is everyone on this show except for possibly baby Bruce. But there’s still room for a bit of comedy here and there to lighten things up.
The main focus of the episode really feels like it’s about Gordon’s descent into darkness. He’s not just bending the rules of the law, he’s nearly throwing them out the window, literally. Things come down on him hard as he is hunted by a group of hitmen sent after him by Galavan’s sister, and excuse me if I take a moment to comment on the world of Gotham itself as I have never really paid much attention to it until now. I always more or less took for granted the fact that it essentially takes place in the modern day, with those extra added touches that gives it that Gotham feel. I mostly noticed it because the woman in charge of the assassins used an old fashioned, land-line phone which doesn’t entirely feel out of place in this version of Gotham. But then I noticed that all of the cell phones used aren’t the full on smartphones, but instead are the earlier generation flip style phones. It doesn’t entirely detract or enhance the feel of Gotham, it just gives it that little extra touch to make it feel like it’s this other place and time that feels just a little dated.
The stand off between Gordon and the assassins in Galavan’s office was mostly handled well, though it does help lead me to believe that Captain Chiklis isn’t going to last too terribly long. He may have survived his arterial leg wound, but I think it’s only a matter of time before he gets taken out to leave yet another hole in the Gotham PD lineup. It also feels like Gotham PD has one of the highest police mortality rates in the country. It was nice to get a moment with Chiklis where he’s not just the new hardass in town, even though it was mirrored way too closely when Gordon confronts the skunk-head cannibal near the end. And then the writers just had to hit it home a little too hard when Gordon finally lets the guy live only for him to kill the fresh-faced cop that was with him at Galavan’s
What really helped out this episode was the great chemistry with what I’ve heard referred to as Nygmobblepot. Riddler has really taken to his new attitude on crime, but still has a hint of fresh faced naivety. Meanwhile, Penguin is defeated and despondent, ready to give up and move on. There is a little bit of a question how Riddler has already come so far as to be able to break one of Galavan’s minions out of prison completely undetected, but I’ll let that slide as it was a great selling point to their newly formed relationship. It really helped show some of the best qualities of Riddler as he was able to glean so much out of so little and figure out what makes Penguin tick in such a short amount of time. And he does it with that great awkward charm of his. There’s still an element to where he’s still new at this, but this really does feel like the early seeds of the Riddler without taking it too far. Well, technically I do still think that they made him turn way too early, but since that turn has already happened, I think that this is an appropriate level of progression.
And finally, there’s the thread with baby Bruce and the information contained in that little manila envelope, this new role of Alfred, and the schemes of a young Silver St. Cloud. As usual, these sequences were completely saved with the mere presence of Alfred. He is just such a great character in this show that he completely overshadows the rather bland Bruce Wayne. I have a tough time seeing David Mazouz turn into something resembling Batman, he’s still over-playing the role of the petulant young child pretending to act older than he really is. It’s starting to get a little old at this point and I’d really like to start seeing the seeds being planted for him to grow into becoming Batman in the future because he still has a very long way to go.