Gotham: 106 “Spirit of the Goat” Review
Reviewed by Mark McCullough.
Six episodes in a finally Gotham finds some sort of spark, and it couldn’t have come at a better time too. Last week I highlighted an issue I found was that the characters (barring a few) were not strong enough to sustain the narrative. Thankfully the story this week opted for a slightly different format which allowed for more focus on the characters and give those who had been previously lacking a defining moment of sorts.
How they achieved this was by focusing almost entirely on one aspect of the show. The mob storyline was almost completely neglected in favour of focusing more on the goings on in the precinct. Likewise the story for Bruce Wayne is also pretty minimal, which is perhaps unsurprising given his increased involvement last time out. The only other character to receive significant attention is Cobblepot and that is for good reason as the narrative sees him undoubtedly set himself up for a main role next week.
The case of the week allows for some development to Bullock’s character and it is great to finally see something that makes us like him. For the first time we get a glimpse of his past through flashback scenes as a younger cop. There is a notable change in his character suggestive of how the corruption in the city has affected him throughout his career. However this is not the aspect of the narrative which makes us warm to his character; that honour goes to his actions throughout the episode. He manages this through some excellent police work, first realising that the case could not have been a copycat before determining who was behind it with some astute deductions. The character exhibited a solid improvement which will hopefully continue as the series progresses.
Other characters to see development this week include Jim who finds his relationship pushed to the limits as his partner demands a truth he is unable to give. They are eventually able to reach a compromise, but events transpire to interrupt this as certain actions from earlier in the Series come back to haunt him. For Cobblepot we see his relationship with his mother which is admittedly rather strange, however you can see how this has defined him as a person which adds another layer to a truly fantastic character. Bruce Wayne in what little scenes we see him in begins to show signs of rejecting the role he is destined to fulfil as head of his parents company. He disagrees with how Gotham is set up and at this stage refuses to concord with that. Whilst some characters have improved, there are two who are still very bland; these are Montoya and Allen who have been trying to pin Cobblepot’s murder on Jim.
Gotham manages to get itself back on track a little by focusing on areas where it is weak and trying to bring these up to the required standard. Whilst enough is done here to make a good episode, is it enough to save an ailing series, or is it just prolonging the apparent inevitable disappointment. The story this week is not as strong as what it has been previous, so it would appear this has been sacrificed in favour of the character focus. The balance between story and characters is very important for success and I would go as far as saying that showrunner Bruno Heller is the only writer to get it spot on so far. Thankfully he is back next week with a very intriguing set up so I’m really looking forward to that one. It is still relatively early days, but Gotham is undoubtedly struggling to find its feet, and sadly it is running out of chances.