Gotham Review: Episode 2, “Selina Kyle”

This week The previous week on Gotham, Fox’s new show about Batman, has absolutely no Batman, but it does have the beginnings of the emo hero we know and love. You don’t get more clichéd brooding than cutting and listening to heavy metal. Since Bruce Wayne’s life is a million miles from the action in the rough and tumble city of Gotham, the show has found a novel, if simple, way of keeping him in the fray. Enter “Uncle” Jim Gordon, mentor and friend to the boy who would be the biggest badass in comics. Maybe Alfred can mentor him too, eventually. Maybe. But he’d have to stop the random bursts of anger first.

Speaking of action, there’s some someone kidnapping street kids in Gotham (guest stars Lily Taylor and Frank Whaley), and only one young girl is street smart enough to catch on to the creepy couple offering free food with seemingly no string attached. That’s right, Selina Kyle – I’m sorry, Cat – the 13 (going on 16) year old Jim Gordon stalker, and eponymous episode titler, has the creepy couple’s number. Cat, as we are constantly reminded to call her (get it?), is still everywhere, and still without any depth to speak of. At least the storyline gave her a chance to scratch her claws, even if it was pretty predictable.

There are a lot of characters to keep up with on Gotham, so I’m hoping they start spreading out instead of the Game of Thrones-like need to give everyone screen time in every episode. It does help that so many of them are already familiar to the wider culture, but with so many versions of each character Bruno Heller can create a very nuanced world of his own without ignoring cannon or angering long-time fans (see: NBC’s Hannibal). There is a great show in there somewhere, I just hope we begin to see it soon.

Supporting characters Barbara Kean and Fish Mooney’s henchman Butch are beginning to steal the show, so they might want to spend some time helping us connect with more with well known characters not named Oswald. Not that using his kidnapping plot to comment on the modern douchebag wasn’t welcome. Watching the look on the Penguin’s face as he realized what kind of a jerk he’d stuck himself with was great.

Richard Kind’s Mayor James and comedy goddess Carol Kane’s Gertrude Kapelput, the Penguin’s doting mother, prove the casting for Gotham is still top notch. With more popular characters being added in coming weeks, here’s hoping their perfect record stays in place. But as long as we get more Butch and Barbara Kean I’m good for now.

Will Cat reveal the answer to the underlying mystery of the series/season, thereby throwing the serialized plot of the show into chaos? Will the writers stop reminding us how corrupt the city of Gotham is every five minutes? Is waiter Lazlo just a waiter, or a “Professor” in the waiting? How many shows can use a villain nicknamed the Dollmaker? How many of them are the same Dollmaker? Can a show about Batman survive a whole season without the Batman?

Come back next week to learn more, on Fox’s Gotham.

Joker Watch: (possible candidates updated each week)

  • That stand-up comedian at Fish Mooney’s nightclub
  • Butch Gilzean
  • Crispus Allan (What a twist!)
  • Fish Mooney*
  • Not yet seen

*Only one change to the Joker Watch this week. I wasn’t sure in the pilot, but Fish’s red fringe is starting to make me suspicious they might just pull a gender switch on us. What do you think?