Gotham Sn1 Ep11 “Rogues’ Gallery” Ep12 “What the Little Bird Told Him”

Instead of writing these episodes up one at a time I decided to handle them both together as they are so strongly thematically linked, and yes, there will most likely be spoilers due to this so tread carefully if you don’t want anything revealed.

Episode 11 “Rogues’ Gallery” is the return of “Gotham” after the mid-Winter hiatus and returns with Jim Gordon at his new job at the recently reopened Arkham Asylum. Refusing to quit in the face of Mayor’s plot Gordon accepts his reassignment. Gordon has to deal with improperly housed inmates, indecent facilities, lack of proper surveillance, a bureaucratic overseer, and then a rash of technically detailed attacks against inmates which amount to crude lobotomies. When he finally uncovers the identity of the executor of the attacks an escape is orchestrated and the Electrocutioner is loosed upon Gotham with an ally.

“What the Little Bird Told Him” (Ep12) follows the Arkham Asylum breakout storyline and also details Fish Mooney’s attempt to overthrow Don Falcone. This episode is exceptionally exciting, filled with electrifying action, brutal showdowns, breathtaking cinematography, and an awe-inspiring story. Each storyline is handled with precision and executed with finesse. The culmination of each, coming upon the heels on one another is sublime and the closing moments left me speechless.

First off I want to address the show in general and its premise. “Gotham” is built on the question: what kind of city would exist that would make a man put on a costume and dedicate his nights to fighting crime. This is a major shift from most versions of the mythology and I’m a huge fan. I like this approach that it was the city, so out of control, that gave rise to Batman, and not the rise of Batman, that gave rise to all the crazy costumed villains as Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy positioned.

Secondly, canon, there has been a chorus of sad songs about the break from canon. But many of the same people complaining about the show’s break from canon love Harley Quinn, Nolan’s films, “Batman: The Animated Series” and Burton’s “Batman” all of which broke canon. Truth be told, comics themselves, as long running as they are break canon themselves, which is why both DC and Marvel have (several times) come up with storylines or hard reboots to rectify their universes own inconsistencies. DC is overseeing the production of “Gotham,” is actively involved in the development, and is signing off on each episode. My message: either get over it or stop watching. The show is a damned fine show, it isn’t called Batman for a reason, it’s called “Gotham” and has an interesting premise. Judge it only for what it is, not for what it’s not.

This brings me to the character of Fish Mooney, like the addition of Harley Quinn to the world of the Dark Knight, Fish is a welcome addition and Jada Pinkett Smith plays her with fabulous conviction. She doesn’t wield a gun, an axe, or a blade. Instead she spends her scenes flexing her incredibly sharp fingernails, decked out in her thematic attire, which always has a message, and manages to be so much more threatening than a thug with a gun. Smith is superb as Fish Mooney and her reaction to the takedown of Falcone is proof of the depths of this character. Instead of being celebratory Fish’s eyes are filled with tears, I could feel the respect she has for the man she is betraying. Every word she tells Butch is truth. Her relationship with Falcone is complicated. She conveys more threat with a whisper than a yell, so when she yells…run. Another great character that is highlighted in the last of these two episodes is Victor Zsasz.

Anthony Carrigan was excellent casting as Zsasz, much better than the bloke in Nolan’s films. Like Fish, his low tones exude such menace it makes my skin crawl. When he’s begging Falcone to take action and says, “Please” the way the word just burrow thickly out summon deep terror, terror matched only by his actions and self-mutilation. Which brings us back around to Jack Gruber, the Electrocutioner.

For those of us who played the “Batman: Arkham Origins” videogame, the Electrocutioner is the robust character advertised as one of the eight assassins hired to kill the Dark Knight who dies an ignominious death providing you the overly powerful gloves that from that point forward tip the balance of combat in your favor. Here, he is an older gentleman who is obviously not suited for physical combat so uses his brains and mastery of electricity to do his work for him. The nefarious traps, gadgets, and uses of electricity Gruber devise are amazing and translate well to a visual medium. I am a huge fan of using a slender, elder man as the Electrocutioner instead of a bulging muscleman. I have oft questioned the need for EVERYONE in the superhero realm to be gigantic people, save the Riddler.

Episode 11 and Episode 12 are both great episodes with “What a Little Bird Told Me” bringing closure to the Arkham storyline, yet gashing open the Fish Mooney powergrab storyline. The combination of these two electrifying plots was a wise choice and they worked well together. Episode 11 focused mainly on the Arkham Asylum and dropped some dark subtle hints that may be important later. Episode 12 was our fabulous finale and was purely epic. It was one of my favorites thus far.

“Gotham” is brilliant take on the Batman mythos that places the city front and center of the conflict. The idea that Thomas and Martha Wayne were the lynchpin holding the chaos of the city at bay and that their murder unleashed the madness is another fantastic approach. It adds additional weight to the murder of the Waynes. I’m thrilled “Gotham” was renewed for a second season. There can never be enough “Gotham.”


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