Gotham my Review Part Two-end of Series One
(Nb. I found this final review which was started at Christmas time last year)
So Gotham, as they most cruelly informed us via voice-over last night on TV: is taking a break and will be back in the New Year. No!..what am I gonna watch now? My available stock of good TV programmes is dwindling. It’s that Christmas television desert come creeping. Not to rub it in or anything: next year could mean any time.
Same goes for The Walking Dead boo hoo. Oh well. I never seem to like much Christmas TV. Apart from the officially feel good Christmas movie. The children’s ones are the best. Elf for example. I might have seen that at least three times. It’s really kind of boring now except for Will Ferrel as an elf and Bob Neuhart as his Dad.
Then when Will Ferrel makes the journey to New York. I don’t think I can ever forget when Will as the elf picks the dried chewing gum off the undersides of railings and eats it and first tries to cross the road. There are more dangerous crossing before that for him, traversing the North Pole.
But I digress.
So Gotham just got better and better. Didn’t it. I realised I had secretly upgraded Gotham from tea-time watching fun category-to full blow proper evening series. The feature film of the night so to speak.
So this process wasn’t quite secret really as it became beknowest to me. Gotham had taken a few leaps and jumps along the way into fully fledged something really rather good. Of course, as I declared, I was already in love back in episode one.
So as I predicted in my first write-up on Gotham: the drama was a little cold at first but eventually grew a heart. And that heart was the relationship between Bruce Wayne and his butler, Alfred.
Yes, Alfred who as I mentioned acts pretty much everybody else off the screen except possibly Ben McCenzie as Jim Gordon. it was my opinion that that two men were a wonderful pairing. As they joined forces to look after the boy, Bruce Wayne.
Alfred, upon whom now I may be experiencing a minor girly crush as a character, is original old school butler. From days of old when Queensbury rules ruled and a butler was a wise cracking cockney who was rather more than handy with his fists. In fact said butler was likely to have been in and fought in a war. Had adventures. Was all round resourceful.
I am reminded of Drake in Ripper Street. Alfred is the butler you might find in days of yore as an adjunct to a young Lord adventurer. He too would have had experiences as in wars, travelling and adventure. Exploration even. Back in the day, I am pretty sure that an Officer’s valet during war was called (wait for it) as batman. Funny eh.
The other strand of storyline in Gotham that succeeded in giving Gotham a heart was the story of Cat. probably my favourite character (well apart from my secret crush on Alfred) . Hugely enjoyable and believable is Cat’s story and her as a character.
Plus Cat’s eventual meeting with young Bruce Wayne (much as we expected) is a deftly told prequel explanation. Of possibly how Bruce Wayne and Catwoman come to know each other. Even how Bruce Wayne learns some highly valuable skills. He also grows, visibly before our eyes. Under Cat’s tutelage and as a result of their friendship. Ah.
Fisho is a fairly frozen faced yet incrementally impressive baddie. She has an enviable array of evil gangstress outfits I suspect she designed herself. Along with her wild and serpent-like jewellery. Naturally in gold.
Then there is Fisho’s henchman, Wayne. Who is truly sinister in his baby faced chubbiness. And we know why he is truly a bad guy and just what he has done. By now.
Then there is Fisho’s unholy alliance with Don Carmine Falceone. Don Falceone’s performances raises the bar of quality acting in Gotham. For some reason he strongly reminds me of Gene Hackman.
Oh and the ethereally beautiful subversive Nikita style assassin. Making the Don tea, in beautiful china.
Although I did like the character of Charlotte she just had to go as she was becoming plaintively annoying. Whilst most likely still suffering from Post Traumatic Stress disorder. Of course the crusading Jim Gordon, as all such heroic and broom cleansing (of corrupt departments) roles require; that he can never be happy in love. Ever. Ah.
Still, Jim Gordon does get to keep (I think) Charlotte’s completely fabulous apartment. With an actual log fire. As previously noted in my first review. In a skyscraper. it must be the penthouse. I guess they have chimneys.
Then there is Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, another excellent performance as Jim Gordon’s world weary sneeringly cynical side-kick. The dialogue between Harvey Bullock and Jim Gordon is witty and eloquent. Harvey gets all the best lines.
Of course there are various mad cap adventures and madder, much madder murderers. Huge and dark cavernous sets: crumbling old municipal buildings, factories, the ever eponymous warehouse. Oh yes and the ever sinisterly lurking in all its glorious shadowy lamp-lit edifice: of Arkham Asylum.
Jim Gordon is believable if a little stony faced as the true hearted crusader for justice and clearer out of corruption. From the city, Gotham. which is suffering this corruption as some kind of sickness or so it is portrayed. In this Batman prequel as graphic novel made real.
Gotham is also awash with a mighty paintbox. A palette of imaginatively and stunningly realised scenes. Gotham is a master class in shadow, light and blinding concrete bright. Dull greys and blues and monolithic blocks of buildings.
Inside the Police station however it is almost the inner circle of hell. All circular open staircase, other levels, old wooden bannisters. In the Police Station the colours are jewel deep in dark shadow. Artful yellowed lighting glows around.
Gotham as a dramatic creation has style, verve and panache. The drama has that tea-time zaniness and zap. Yet dwelling in the painterly land of the graphic novel.
Last but not least there is the monosyllabic but eventually engaging Serious Crime Detectives. Including an Amazon tall and inscrutable ex-love interest storyline.
Then of course there is the Penguin, originally described by me I believe as Jonny Depp as Edward Scissor-hands in appearance and charm. The Penguin gleefully steals every scene he appears in.
Capriciously unpredictable and psycopathically evil: the Penguin manages to make us like him. Even with his unfortunate habit of dispatching potential enemies and obstacles forthwith. With some nearby handy pointy object. All sorts of random items The Penguin uses. Really.
The Penguin inveigles himself into all the warring camps of the ailing, almost infected (it is essayed) corrupted Gotham City. See it is not just Jim Gordon as the true heart fighting evil: there is Don Carmine Falceone, Fisho and Wayne. With The Penguin secretly working for/ and or pretty much running everyone.
Oh and lets not even talk about the Penguin’s mother. A truly horrific and sinister character, mad as a hatter and most brilliantly acted. No wonder The Penguin is so weird. Save me from the Penguin’s mother.
Some dialogue from Gotham.
Harvey Bullock to crazy Siornis from Sironis Investment:
“What’s with all the warrior baloney?”!
Harvey Bullock to Detective Alvarez:
“Alvarez, Put a zipper on it”
Harvey motions with his thumb and finger pinched together to his lips.
I haven’t seen anyone do that in a long time.
Charlotte to Jim Gordon:
“Tell me it will be OK”
“Tell me there aren’t any monsters?”
“There aren’t any monsters”
But she gazes over his shoulder.
She knows there are monsters.
So does he.
I am pretty sure that Harvey Bullock quotes Shakespeare at one point.
The giant see-through clock in the walled window of Charlotte’s apartment is the same as in the top floor cafe’ window of an art gallery in Paris. You half expect to see Buster Keaton outside, hanging as ever on one of the clock hands.