"Spirit of the Goat" (S1/E6)
Author: Richard Church (Follow @RICHARDCHURCH16)
November 3, 2014
EPISODE INFO: "Viper" was written by Ben Edlund and directed by T.J. Scott. It originally aired on the FOX television network on October 27, 2014. 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: Carol Kane as Gertrud Cobblepot, Dan Hedaya as Detective Dix, Kim Director as Lacey White, Mackenzie Leigh as Liza, Susan Misner as Dr. Marks and Christopher Baker as The Goat/Raymond Earl
PREVIOUS EPISODE: S1/E5 "Viper" Review by Bill "Jett" Ramey (10.18.14)
SYNOPSIS: When a killer begins targeting the first born of Gotham's elite, Bullock is forced to confront traumatic memories from a nearly identical case he worked in the past. Later, Gordon is confronted by past decisions.
While Bullock’s characterization and relationship to Gordon was one of the few true highlights of Gotham’s premiere, Bullock’s gruff demeanor has started sounding like a broken record. “Spirit of the Goat” gave a much needed spotlight on Harvey Bullock’s past as a murder case he closed ten years ago unexpectedly reopens, putting Bullock firing on all cylinders to close it.
The flashback at the episode’s start offered a very intriguing look at a Harvey Bullock who was much like Gordon; optimistic and heroically brash. This optimism was shattered though as he blames himself for crippling his partner and mentor while attempting the capture of the first Spirit of the Goat. It was nice to see a softer side to Bullock as Gordon found out he pays for his partner’s medical bills and gives him certain ‘pleasures’ to make the retirement home more homely. Another positive of the episode was seeing Bullock actually working a case, going so far as to even solve it as he has previously shown zero interest in doing even the basics of his job. Donal Logue did a great job emphasizing the different sides to Bullock in this episode.
Unfortunately, that’s where the positives mostly stop.
Gotham’s many inconsistencies remain as the show continues to bounce back and forth between serious drama and campy feeling. Between the serious murder case, we have scenes of Edward Nygma flirting horribly with a clerk and Oswald Cobblepot getting, bizarrely, a sponge bath by his own mother. While meaning to be comic relief, these scenes do the exact opposite as they take away any tension in the episode by being so tonally different.
Another problem of Gotham’s is its complete lack of subtly. For example, most viewers not well-versed in Batman lore know Edward Nygma becomes The Riddler, so there really is no point in him asking riddles anymore. The blatant focus they gave the coffee mug with a giant, green question mark on it was much more than groan inducing. Bruce Wayne appeared briefly as well, seemingly to remind viewers he’s around. However, it was a very poignant scene as he reflected to Alfred “There is no one to take me from.”
While “Spirit of the Goat” did well to focus on Bullock’s past, Gotham is still a mishmash of uninteresting subplots, tones and characters.
With the cliffhanger ending this week, hopefully we can get to the more interesting plot of Cobblepot’s rise to power and the growing mob war. - Richard Church
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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