Gotham Starts To Give Us The War We Want

Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney In Gotham
Gotham (Photo: FOX)

Still not the war we deserve for sitting through the first six episodes, though.

My tweets and posts on this matter have been clear – shut the hell up about how there’s a war coming to Gotham, Gotham, unless said war actually comes. I would go back and count, but I don’t care quite enough to confirm that the previouslys for the last four – four! – episodes contained the same damn clip of Cobblepot gasping ‘There’s a war coming! It will be brutal! Gotham needs me!’ Here’s everything wrong with the clip and its use in a handy list:1

  1. It’s the definition of telling, not showing. Literally. It’s the best possible example of both the term and the term literally that I can conceive.
  2. Repeating ‘There’s a war coming'2 pretty much guarantees we’ll be disappointed or not pay attention when/if the war comes.
  3. You haven’t shown any real signs of brutality – stylized or not – since the pilot. Everything’s sanitized for the 8 o’clock hour and no amount of hand waving while shouting ‘Brutal! So brutal!’ will bring this (perfectly serviceable) style into even the Tim Burton range of shock and gore. So stop trying to make us believe it’s something else.
  4. Your plot vis a vis Penguin and his place amidst the various factions who might need him, or who he might need, or whatever, has been so dropped in-and-out upon that the big reveal at the end of episode seven could have just as easily come at episode four.

The last point is the most important in my mind. You can have details and allusions drip out over time and then come together with a flourish – but if they don’t come together, or there is no flourish, you’ve wasted time. You’ve wasted creative elements, and performances, and hard work from your cast, crew, and even viewers. And that’s what’s happening with Gotham, still. It’s not that the villains of the week aren’t interesting, it’s that we get nowhere with the main characters while they pursue them. Or if we do get somewhere – a new side to Bullock, the introduction of an important cog of a character – it’s brought up, presented, showed off, then stuck in the back somewhere for several episodes until it’s directly needed again.

How is it we’re seeing Victor3 for the first time this episode? How can Richard Kind’s spot-on involvement as the mayor feel so perfunctory when he’s appeared in five of the seven episodes to date, and four have significantly involved the political corruption that seems to be what the writers want to be a guiding arc of at least the first half of the season?

Stop writing episode to episode, please. Pleasepleaseplease. Accept the idea of an arc or two. Trust that your audience isn’t made up of idiots. Take advantage of the sense of humor and sense of style your actors bring.

Give us a goddam war already. Or just shut the hell up and let me watch the occasional pretty picture in peace.

  1. Not at all handy.  
  2. and it’s not just Cobblepot, though he is the main voice utilized thusfar  
  3. and his cell phone ringtone of delight  

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