In the season premiere of Gotham, Gordon is fired from the GCPD from Commissioner Loeb, and tries to get help from Penguin in order to get back on the force. Ultimately, Gordon does his dirty work and it all works out for him. Barbara adjusts to like in Arkham Asylum and makes some new friends, but they aren't allowed to get too comfy in their surroundings. Alfred and Bruce blow up the door to Thomas Wayne's secret underground lair. Penguin takes control of Gotham's criminal underground and rules with an iron fist... or with Mr Zsasz's gun.
Even a few minutes into the new season, the show feels more focused and less chaotic. There are still numerous stories going on from Bruce and Alfred discovering a secret lair in the Wayne Mansion to Edward Nygma losing his mind. Each of these stories hold their own. There doesn't seem to be any of these sub-plots that feels extremely weak. Some may get more airtime than others, but that's fine and it suits the episode.
One thing has changed a bit in this season. It's a bit more cartoony at places, and strangely enough, it really works. The stories inside Arkham Asylum almost feel like it's ripped from the 90s animated Batman series. It fits that location though and when you have a character like Jerome inside, who is just all smiles and insanity, it somehow makes it all work. Even the moment where Gordon is running from henchmen, up until the moment where he kills a man is cartoonish, but it works set among the darker undertones of the show, like people's heads being cut off.
That brings us to Barbara, who was one of the worst written characters of the first season. In the opener of this second season, she actually has a personality, motive, and she was probably the most interesting story in this first episode. Finally, someone gave the character something to do that doesn't feel forced. Yes, none of what happens here fits in the continuity of the comic books, but that doesn't matter since almost nothing in this show does. She has her own community of insane peers now to keep her company and she's the perfect fit. Sure, her character is nothing like it was in the first season, but ultimately, that's a good thing.
One of her new peers is Jerome, the character many believe, including the showrunner of Gotham, will become Joker. Jerome is pretty awesome. Everyone around him is incredibly over-dramatic and speaks in monologues, while Jerome steals the scene with being charming and creepy.
It's a little weird that the voice of reason for Gordon is Bruce Wayne. Bruce's dialogue throughout this scene is way too adult for the character. It still sounds like Bruce, but 15 years older.
Penguin has Zsasz as one of his henchmen, and I'm sure there's tons of other loyal folks as well, so why does he need someone like Gordon to go in and get the money that's owed to him. It really felt like a forced piece of plot in order to get things moving and create yet another connection between Gordon and Penguin.
The ending to this episode is ridiculous. Thomas writes Bruce a letter from beyond the grave, in his secret cave. The letter says "if you're reading this, I'm already dead." It's is the most asinine thing that has happened on this show yet. He built a secret lair for his son to find, after he died because he knew he was going to die. Insane.
The season opener of Gotham is a live-action cartoon, and quite possibly, it's the best episode of this show in a long time. If this is going to be the tone of the series for the rest of season, then I am 100% all in. If the show wants to pull more stunts like the last 5 minutes of this episode, then I'm all for it. Gotham seems to found its footing and its voice and it strangely works exceptionally well.
Questions for the Week:
Why didn't Penguin send one of his other henchmen to collect the money?
Is Zaardon the greatest villain Gordon has ever faced?
When's the right time to build my secret death lair for my son?