"Rogues Gallery" (S1/E11)
Author: Richard Church (Follow @RICHARDCHURCH16)
January 6, 2015

EPISODE INFO: "Rogues Gallery" was written by Bruno Heller and directed by Danny Cannon. It originally aired on the FOX television network on January 5, 2015. It is based on "Batman" characters owned and published by DC Comics.

MAIN CAST: Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney, Sean Pertwee as Alfred, Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle/the future Catwoman, Zabryna Guevara as Captain Sarah Essen, Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma/the future Riddler, Victoria Cartagena as Renee Montoya, Andrew Stewart Jones as Crispus Allen, John Doman as Carmine Falcone

GUEST CAST: Morena Baccarin as Dr. Leslie Thompkins, Drew Powell as Butch Gilzean, David Zayas as Maroni, Allyce Beasley as Dorothy Duncan, Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Gerry Lang, Kyle Massey as Mackey, Christopher Heyerdahl as Jack Gruber, Kevin McCormick as Aaron Helzinger, Anthony Grasso as Ganza

EPISODE PREVIEW: Preview #1

PREVIOUS EPISODE: S1/E10 "Lovecraft" Review by Richard Church (11.26.14)

SYNOPSIS: Det. Gordon’s assignment at Arkham Asylum gets off to a rocky start when the murder of a guard ignites an investigation, leading him to meet Dr. Leslie Thompkins (guest star Morena Baccarin, “Homeland”). Meanwhile, Cobblepot continues to build his army.

After several weeks, GOTHAM returns from its hiatus with “Rogues Gallery,” an episode which offered some insight into one of Gotham City’s most famous locations, Arkham Asylum. While this episode was entertaining, it suffered by juggling too many stories and would have been better served by focusing entirely on the asylum that will house many of Batman’s enemies.

The main story was the most interesting element as Gordon worked to solve a unique assault case on Arkham’s inmates. The standout addition to GOTHAM is Morena Baccarin’s portrayal of Leslie Thompinks, a longstanding character in the Batman mythos who, like Gordon, wishes to make Gotham a better place. Baccarin is well suited to the role of the compassionate doctor and hopefully she’ll be utilized more in future episodes.

Another outstanding factor is the twist at the end of “Rogues Gallery” regarding the identity of the perpetrator. “Nurse” Duncan seemed pegged as the perpetrator of the crude lobotomies, but not only was it revealed patient Jack Gruber (Christopher Heyerdahl) was the culprit, he actually escaped to fight another day. One problem with GOTHAM in the past was how quickly it disposed of their mini-villains. Hopefully Gruber will return soon to torment Gordon and the Bullock again. That said, though, the clear Hannibal Lecter vibes Gruber was giving off could have been done without.

Despite having an intriguing main story, “Rogues Gallery” just felt way too cluttered, another recurring problem in this show. Bruno Heller and the writers just try to cram way too much into one 42 minute episode. For instance, aside from the main Arkham plot, Selina and Ivy break into Gordon’s apartment, Barbara underwent more relationship/drinking/drug drama, The Penguin was taught a lesson in hubris and Fish Mooney plotted more moves against Falcone. At least two of those stories could have been dumped in order to expand on GOTHAM’s version of Arkham. And while a return to the growing mob war between Fish and Falcone was welcome, it seems to be moving by at a very slow pace right now. Ever since “Penguin’s Umbrella,” it’s as if that plotline has been shoved to the side when its arguably the most interesting aspect about GOTHAM.

It’s nice to see GOTHAM back from its break, but it clearly still needs to work on the problems that prevailed throughout the first half of the season. It needs to have a stronger focus rather than cramming so much into one episode. Hopefully the series improves on this, but “Rogues Gallery” was, for the most part, a welcome return.

Some stray thoughts:

* It was nice to see Butch, Fish’s right-hand man, given a bigger role to play in Fish’s scheme and even get some backstory on him.

* Still not a fan of Barbara. Also, can’t she tell she’s talking to an 11 year old girl?

* Once again, a bigger conspiracy in Gotham City was hinted at as the doctor told Bullock he had big secrets involving the Asylum he couldn’t spill. Is it Wayne/Court of Owls related?

It seems as if they’ve toned down Gordon’s gruffness and intense demeanor. That is a good thing.

GRADE: B-

Richard Church is an aspiring writer for short stories, novels and screenplays.
He is also an avid fan of the superhero genre.

Follow him on Twitter @RICHARDCHURCH16.


GOTHAM airs Mondays at 7PM CT/8PM ET on FOX.
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