[This is a Review of 'Gotham' Season 1, Episode 3 – There Will Be SPOILERS!!]
Gotham returns with its first vigilante tale. Now with the world and its characters established, viewers get to see what happens when the series has to stand on its own feet as an actual procedural. The results are quite encouraging, to say the very least.
In “The Balloonman,” written by executive producer John Stephens, a mysterious man strikes back at the city and its corruption by sending a murderous message, which forces Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bullock (Donal Logue) to combine their own unique skills to solve the case. Elsewhere, Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) returns to Gotham and begins working from the bottom up, while Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) continues to watch as the city decides its own fate.
With all of the many familiar characters at its disposal, this episode can easily be referred to as the Gotham-lite of the bunch, as the additional characters are largely absent, though not missed. After watching a story of Bruce Wayne, then Selina Kyle, this week’s episode essentially takes us in to the day-to-day life of Gordon and Bullock, revealing why these two men might by be the best thing the city has going for it right now.
McKenzie and Logue, who have strengthened as a duo in each and every episode, appear to have settled into each of their roles much more. This week we’re now able to delve further into this new partnership in an attempt to see how two morally different men could actual work together. The answer, it seems, may very well be Donal Logue.
It was clear from the Gotham series premiere that Logue had yet to fully embody the character of Harvey Bullock, and those who have followed his career over the years had every reason to be excited for that moment to come. This is not an episode which puts his character front and center, however. This is where Logue’s ability to consistently deliver clever quips, seemingly as a throwaway, is finally beginning to reveal itself, which now provides the show with two solid characters they can anchor an always growing, ever-evolving television experiment to.
Of course, the world of Gotham is much more than two police officers, and one simply has to look at the manner in which the supporting characters are serviced to see all the potential this series has going for it. Cobblepot, who started off strong as the fan-favorite, is now a more controlled character whose actions, while quick and often violent, are also extremely calculated. Young Bruce Wayne, too, in all of his brief appearances, continues to learn the rules of humanity, and is quickly becoming as complex a character as the legend he will soon become.
Through all of this, Barbara still remains Gordon’s guardian angel. Though in this instance, perhaps Barbara is showing some signs of once again losing herself to the city, if not literally than surely mentally. The series is still using her to help keep Gordon on the straight path, but it’s absolutely clear that it’s only a matter of time before her entire backstory is told – perhaps to Gordon, as well. No matter what the city throws at him, this might very well be his most defining moment.
This week’s Gotham may not be the character-filled tale that its first two installments were, but it more than makes up for it by providing a surprisingly solid foundation for the series to continue to grow upon. What happens next week is anyone’s guess – but it’s hard to deny the fact that, after watching three episodes, there might be a more careful hand crafting this adventure than anyone initially thought.
Gotham returns next Monday with “Arkham” @8pm on Fox. You can check out a preview of next week’s episode below: