"Tonight's The Night" (S2/E8)
Author: Ricky Church (Follow RICHARDCHURCH16)
Date: November 14, 2015

EPISODE INFO: "Tonight's the Night" originally aired on the FOX television network on Monday, November 9, 2015. GOTHAM is based on "Batman" characters owned and published by DC Comics.

SYNOPSIS: Galavan sends Barbara after Jim Gordon, while he tries to make a business deal with Bruce Wayne. Barnes and Bullock are hot on Barbara’s trail, and Nygma has a run-in with a familiar face.

MAIN CAST: Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, Michael Chiklis as Detective Nathaniel Barnes, 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, Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma/the future Riddler, James Frain as Theo Galavan, Jessica Lucas as Tabitha Galavan, Chris Chalk as Lucius Fox, Nicholas D’Agosto as Harvey Dent, and Zabryna Guevara as Captain Sarah Essen.

Barbara Kean. In season one of GOTHAM she was one of the show’s fundamental problems, a character so inconsistent and underdeveloped that is was hard to predict what she would do next. Part of this was due to Erin Richards’ acting and her lack of chemistry with Ben McKenzie most of the time. This season Barbara’s been given more to do as she’s full on crazy and team Galavan. After sitting on the sidelines the last few episodes, Barbara gets the spotlight in ‘Tonight’s The Night’ as she targets Gordon and Leslie Thompkins in the next stage of Galavan’s plans.

Galavan finally let Barbara go after Gordon after being forced to up his timetable. As I thought last week, it was a boneheaded move of Gordon to voice his suspicions of Galavan directly to the villain, putting him and Leslie in danger. Barbara’s plot for revenge felt a little too familiar too. She turns herself in and has an interrogation with Gordon, telling him that they’re the same yet Gordon refuses to acknowledge that because he doesn’t want to confront his inner darkness. Comparisons to THE DARK KNIGHT aside, it just feels forced to have Barbara pull the “we’re the same/two sides of the same coin” argument. Gordon getting called out on is attraction to danger would have been more interesting if GOTHAM didn’t entertain this point so often. Barbara’s points didn’t really add anything new the show hasn’t said many times already.

There also seemed to be a clear homage to the film SE7EN, starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, as Barbara demanded to be driven to an unknown location by Gordon and Bullock, wherein Gordon and Barbara had a discussion over their differing beliefs. The SE7EN vibe wasn’t just with the situation, but certain shots from the scene in the film seemed to be recreated during GOTHAM’s car ride. I’d be interested to know if that was intentional and why.

As I said, the conversation didn’t really introduce anything new regarding Gordon’s or even Barbara’s character. It was a bit of a surprise to see her survive the episode, as there were clear signs she would meet her demise. In that way “Tonight’s The Night” beat expectations. Yet the revelation that she was alive was somewhat awkward because the show cut to commercial just as she fell and when it came back she was being hauled into an ambulance. It was a slightly jarring cut and took away any tension regarding her fate.

Meanwhile, Galavan tried to take Wayne Enterprises from Bruce by offering him the identity of his parents’ murderer. His plan, though, wasn’t exactly the greatest and slightly out of character for his façade. The offer he made, as Alfred rightly called out, was extortion rather than a genuine offer of friendship, serving only to alienate Bruce from him no matter what answer he gave. It just didn’t seem thought out too well on the writer’s part, making Galavan’s social crusader image inconsistent. However, the one good thing that came out of this story was Bruce and Alfred’s scene together with the latter telling Bruce he is Martha and Thomas’ legacy, not the company. Both actors did very well in that scene. It’s a shame they aren’t given more opportunities to develop like that. - Ricky Church

STRAY THOUGHTS...
* With a Nygma/Penguin team up on the horizon, it will be interesting to see how that plays out...

* Galavan made reference to Wayne Enterprise’s “illegal experiments”. I wonder how much he might know about Indian Hill.

GRADE: C+


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