The second episode of Gotham already feels a little too at home in its time slot and station. Holistically broken down, Gotham isn’t honestly that good. This is difficult for me to write. I’ve spent quite a bit of time breaking it down into its parts over-and-over again in my head, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I was misled by my own hobby. I am a huge comic book fan, but I’m not a huge Batman fan. However, most of the seminal Batman works I appreciate and I keep tucked away in my repertoire for when I write about comics and when I am asked about them.
This is where Gotham gets me. It plays into my fandom. Although, to survive on television it essentially has to be a cop show, because it cannot exist as continuing series merely focusing on all of the many characters of Gotham— Even that would run its course quite quickly. It has to be one to last, because the origin story of Batman, or a retelling of Miller’s Batman: Year One, is not enough to create a sixteen episode series that will last multiple seasons.
So when you start to breakdown the cop elements of the show, you begin to notice the poor construction of the show. Basically the good cop (Detective Gordon), bad cop (Detective Bullock) follow a loose lead on the good cop’s intuition and goodwill— From there they have a tussle with the bad guys (but they get away), the investigation hits a wall, and in a last minute saving grace the good cop figures out where the bad guys will be and the two go and bring ‘em down.
Both episodes have played out exactly like this, which unfortunately makes for uninteresting television. It is bad, formulaic writing for a show that should be well-within its ‘Wow, it’s Mr. Freeze’ stage of its life. But, that is where it hooks comic book and Batman fans, because now audience members are looking for the next Clayface and Penguin references, or when is the Joker going to crop up? It is more about the minutiae and detail of the lore, rather than the quality of the television series.
Episode two runs the same gambit— Street kids are being kidnapped off the streets, Gordon pushes to investigate, eventually they find out where some of the operations are taking place, there is a tussle, the villains get away, and the show wraps up with the good cop, bad cop duo tracking down the kidnappers and bringing them to justice. There are two small subplots intertwined throughout the second episode: One following Kyle as she gets entangled in the street orphan, kidnap plot. The other as the Penguin begins his brutal climb to (hopefully and eventually) criminal kingpin.
The episode’s title, Selina Kyle, suggests that the episode is primarily about her, but she is relinquished to the background and only crops up as a means to further the fairly straightforward plot. The writing is merely ok (this is self-evident in the title), but the acting is often muddled and overplayed. It already has the marks of an aged show.
However, it’ll most-likely retain its numbers, because well…it’s Gotham. It is Batman and it strikes a chord with comic book nerds (like myself) and the millions strong that hold Batman dear to their little nerdy hearts. As TV show, Gotham is below average— Not the worst, but with offerings like Sleepy Hollow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. there is far better television to watch than Gotham this 2014-2015 season.