spreading the talent

Review: Gotham Season 3 pt 1 Mad City

gotham-season-3-poster-mad-city-gotham-39872020-333-500Since seasons of TV shows seem to be split into two mini seasons with certain ones, I figured I’d review this fur the break.  Gotham Season 3 has so far made some good decisions, but some very very bad ones.  Let’s take a look at the characters and what worked or what didn’t.  There will be spoilers, so if you want my non-spoilery rating, scroll down to the last paragraph.

James Gordon – I’m a little disappointed so far.  This is not the guy who becomes commissioner.  This is a guy who is lost in every sense of the way.  They really need to step up his character in the second half of the season to rectify what they are doing here.  Prime example of this culminates at the end of the winter finale.  WHY would he go alone to find Mario?  He has to be the dumbest detective ever to see how many ways this would go wrong.  Plus it felt rushed.  Everything he’s done so far this season is very amateur, and I hope we aren’t seeing him go back to prison again because of his actions.

Lee Thompkins: Now that she isn’t attached to Gordon, she’s much more bearable to watch.  So far her story arc is convincing and enjoyable.  The aftermath of this last episode will be interesting to see.

Harvey Bullock: Easily one of my favorite parts of the show, though I don’t get him being Captain all the time.  Sure he’s the highest ranking officer at the force after Barnes, but it doesn’t work well for his persona.

Ivy Pepper (Poison Ivy): I’m not sure of how she’ll play into the future of the show, but there’s good character development here.  Her rapid aging to a mature woman fits well with her adolescent demeanor.  I can’t wait til she throws another temper tantrum and goes full on Ivy.  So far so good here, and they are playing up her sexuality which is a key part of her character.

Valerie Val, Lucius Fox, Alfred Pennyworth, and Carmine Falcone – all seem to have a solid role in the season.  The first of the group I was wondering how they’d use her.  Is she related to Vicki Vale?  Who knows, but her short lived presence worked well.  Lucius and Alfred were as they should be.  Carmine’s return was amazing, because I feel he really is the most convincing person to be in that role.

Tabitha, Barbara, and Butch: While in prior seasons these three annoyed me, but this season is doing much better.  In fact, Barbara, who was my least favorite character (aside from Fish), is shaping up to having a much better place.  She’s no longer annoying, but more of a Harley Quinn.  I hope she doesn’t end up becoming the Joker’s love interest, but she’s starting to be interesting to say the least, and the three of them teaming with Riddler has potential to make the second half of the season a wild ride.  Will we see more of the Red Hood gang?

Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle – Both are beginning to take on more of the characters they will one day become.  They don’t act the best in the show, but as the actors mature, so do their skills.  Wayne’s doppleganger was strange to me.  What is he supposed to be?  Is he a precursor to Hush?  It felt a little strange, but the possibilities are intriguing.

Isabella – speaking of look alikes, WTF was this?  Worst story arc ever.  I don’t even want to go into it.  Sure it served a purpose, but the writers on this show make some really stupid decisions that make no sense.  Motive for Riddler could have been handled much better.

Riddler – Edward is just awesome.  He IS the Riddler already, just not calling himself that.  What he did to Tabitha and Butch was a classic scenario that made him even more fun to watch.  Can’t wait to see how he exacts vengeance on Penguin.

Penguin – AAAAnd here’s where I got really upset.  F You, DC!  This is stupid!  Again, you’ve changed a character.  Penguin now is gay and is in love with Riddler.  If you spent half the time focused on who Penguin is rather than his infatuation with another man, then you’d realize you butchered one of the best characters in the show.  This has nothing to do with the focus on the sexuality, but rather the fact that he was an intimidating and interesting character to watch because he was so unpredictable.  Now he’s very predictable, and a bit of a tantrum thrower without much of a cause.  Penguin doesn’t need to have any romantic interest (male or female) to make him work, and here we are seeing someone stray away from what made him great (a loner who relied on only himself, and his henchmen).

Fish Mooney: Do I really need to revisit how much I hate this character, and the need for her to stay dead or off the show?  Horrendous acting on Jada Pinkett’s part, and now that she’s got powers it has made the cheese factor with her unbearable.

Mario Calvi: Although a smaller role, he was crucial to the story for this first half.  I was sad to see him die, but it served a greater purpose in the long run.  Perhaps now we will see Carmine in full mob mode again, making him the antithesis to Gordon and the GCPD.

Chief Barnes – Michael Chiklis plays his roles well.  It seems like he’s a proto version of the Executioner here.  I thought it felt a little forced when it all happened, but his swift turn of motives made for interesting TV.

Zzasz and the Court of Owls – Zzasz needs to become more like his comic counterpart in order for him to be interesting.  This hired gun thing doesn’t feel right and its time for him to become full blown serial killer.  Perhaps Gordon’s punch to his head will change his personality to become that darker version.  Otherwise it’s just a name on a different person.  There isn’t much to say about the Court other than their presence is well known now.  It’ll be interesting to see what exactly Selina and Bruce stole, and how her mom plays into the whole story.  Even Falcone seems to be afraid of the Court.  So the question needs to be answered “Why are they so intimidating?”

Jervis Tech (Mad Hatter), Alice, White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum: I put them all together because it plays hand in hand.  Alice’s story gave us a little history of Jervis and how he is.  He’s a sick man that it is implied raped his own sister.  He’s so mentally disturbed that he’s easily one of the best villains so far.  The minor roles of the White Rabbit and the Tweedles fit well and worked.  For this I can say the writers did something right.

Assessment: I’ve many unanswered questions… for instance: Was that supposed to be Man-Bat or a vampire early on in the season?  Who are all these other “freaks?”  I’m glad they’ve killed a few off.  Where does this all lead?  It truly did end on a cliffhanger.

In conclusion I have to say this.  These writers are out of their minds and clearly don’t care for source material.  There’s enough here to keep me watching, but I don’t know for how long.  The Batman universe is so vast that there is no need to add countless new characters, short of a few here and there.  To top it off they need to stop changing key characters into something they aren’t, or adding pointless story arcs.  As a writer I’m appalled that this show even continues with its countless plot holes and rushed nature.  As a Batman fan I’m aggravated at what they’ve done to the existing characters.  As a comic book fan, I’m always interested in seeing what they will do, but I have my limits.

I will continue to watch in the hopes that they keep the things that work, and fix the things that don’t.  For part 1 of Season 3 (Gotham: Mad City), I give it 2 sCrypt logos out of 5.  It’s certainly not the worst comic adaptation, but it could quickly become that.  It has potential to get better though, so here’s hoping.

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