Gotham Season Premiere "Damned if you do" Review

I cannot for the life of me understand why critics do not like Gotham. Season two premiered last night with “Rise of the Villains: Damned If You Do”, and it was the live action comic show we deserve. The episode was forty-five minutes of exactly what we were promised. Fox swore to deliver a gritty crime drama about the dark inner workings of the city in which our caped hero was born into. I think fanboys and fangirls alike need to keep in mind that this show was never supposed to be about Bruce Wayne and Batman.

We have already been introduced to some of the classics already, such as The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), Catwoman (CarmenBicondova), and Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor). However, new individuals are introduced that are sure to play a key role this season.

The episode begins with a masked villain using the name Zaardon the Soul Reaper, attacking a busy street in Gotham. James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), who was demoted to a traffic cop, peacefully takes him down, only to be discharged from Gotham PD for shoving a fellow cop. Commissioner Loeb (Peter Scolari) has had it out for Jim for a while, and sees to it that Jim is stripped of his badge and gun. Through a series of not-so-noble acts, Gordon gets himself reinstated, but not before teaming up with Penguin to square a debt.

Penguin and Victor Zsasz(squeals) pay a late night visit to Loeb to scare the daylights out of him into bringing Gordon back on the force. In all of this we discover that Selina Kyle is now in the employment of Oswald Cobblepot. Meanwhile, in Arkham, Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) has been committed for admitting that she killed her parents. In Arkham, donning a stripped uniform, she meets Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) who wears a strangely familiar smile. Through a strange series of events, Barbra Kean and the lot escape Arkham, only to be picked up by Theo Galavan (James Frain) and his sister Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas). Meanwhile young Bruce Wayne has found a secret cave below Wayne Manor and is hell bent on getting it open. Using some bombs, he conveniently found lying around his house, he blows the locked door to shreds and found a note from his deceased parents. It read something like “You don’t want to know the truth unless you have a calling to protect it.”

It's commentary break time. This show has been a keen implementor of McGuffins, that is an absolute truth. Is Jerome Valeska going to be the Joker? We don’t really have that answer. Does he portray a lot of the same characteristics? Yes, he does. However, considering that we do not have a definitive Joker origin story, there’s no way that we can indefinitely say that this man is going to be the jester prince of crime.  You might look at me and say, what about the Killing Joke by Alan Moore? To you I say, it was never accredited as the Joker origin, and cannot be held as the finite truth in who the Joker is.

There have also been some rumors that Barbara Kean will be playing Harley Quinn. I think this one is a bit farfetched considering thatHarleen Quinzel is an Arkham employee in her origin, not an inmate.

Let’s talk about what we do know from this episode. Edward Nygma is slowly, but surely losing his mind. He’s been talking to himself and spatting off riddles left and right. It’s extremely appropriate that he is employed by the city of Gotham, and when he finally cracks, it’s going to be beautiful.

Oswald Cobblepot is waddling around becoming a crime boss after allegedly murdering Fish Mooney. He’s pretty much already developed into the villain he was meant to be, and now we as the viewers are just along for the ride. Robin Lord Taylor is doing a fantastic job portraying Penguin. Every episode I watch I expect to care less about his character, but the maniacal smile and sadistic persona is absolutely chilling.

Victor Zsasz. If you are not in complete awe of how awesome pre-tally mark Zsazs looks, then you need t re-evaluate your love for DC villains. This man is a behemoth of serial killers and he is a complete loose screw. I am so extremely excited that he’s Penguins henchman, and I can’t wait for the tallies to start adding up.

Selina Kyle wasn’t really featured this episode. I’m still not completely convinced she will ever be completely evil.

However, we do know, based on the comics, that Tabitha Galavan will eventually become Tigress — a villain who runs a group of thugs, thieves, and murderers. Although the character doesn't technically go by the name Tabitha, as the show does play with character names, I can completely buy in that this woman could be the alter ego.

I feel like this show is in it for the long haul, and to judge it with hatred before it’s even begun to chip into character development isn’t fair. There is infinite material to work with, and so far the villains have been on point. It may seem to be a bit convoluted in the sense that so many characters are being featured, however, what’s the alternative? Make a film and try to explain a bunch of origin stories? No offense Batman and Robin, I still love you. I truly feel like this show is heading in an awesome direction and last night’s episode proved exactly that. Not a minute wasted, and there are tons of questions to be resolved, and I for one can’t wait until next Monday.


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