Gotham: 108 “The Mask” Review
Reviewed by Mark McCullough.
For the first time since the show’s opening episode, I found myself pressing play filled with hope and expectation that the show would deliver and be highly entertaining. To the credit of the narrative it manages this and more. In fact it does so to an extent that I can confidently say that the show has survived its sub-par start and is now going from strength to strength with a run of three solid episodes on the trot.
The previous two narratives have had one central focus with the various characters converging within this. It is now obvious that this was in build up to the shock revelation that Cobblepot is in fact a Falcone agent working for Maroni with a vendetta against Fish Mooney. The result makes Cobblepot and Falcone the strongest men in Gotham, ironic given how they had previously been shown to be vulnerable. The impact of this twist was always going to be massive, so this week the narrative diverged again into three distinct storylines.
Sticking with the Mobster storyline, both family leaders stay out of proceedings here leaving only Cobblepot and Mooney to represent their sides. Naturally this was a welcome decision are both characters are superb in their own right, so an opportunity for them to shine together was too good to pass up. The confrontation scene between the two where their past comes the fore is suitably tense and unpredictable. Further developments are also made on Mooney’s attempt to dethrone Don Falcone. Mooney is faced with the prospect of losing her main route to Falcone, whilst Cobblepot turns to his replacement to try to glean more information on Mooney’s activities to feed back to Don Falcone.
Bruce Wayne features heavily this time out, and his character along with that of Alfred ends up all the better for it. Previously we have seen Bruce but on a brave face about what happened to his parents and act in a very mature and adult manner. For that reason it was quite easy to see him as Batman, however this week is a true wake up call. We see Bruce go back to school which reminds us of what he really is, a vulnerable child. He falls victim to a bully and is unable to defend himself. This leads to an intervention which cemented Alfred’s character in my heart. The final section of the narrative sees Bruce ask Alfred for help with how to fight.
The Police aspect of the story adopts the case of the week approach; however the arc is efficiently added to culminate in a tense and gripping episode. This week’s story is a centred on a fight club sort of set up where applicants for a job are kidnapped and forced to fight with the winner taking the job. Whilst following a lead, Gordon finds himself in hot water and following his actions in the previous episode he finds there are very few at the precinct willing to help him. This allows Bullock another chance for redemption, one which he takes with aplomb. His actions at the end of the episode are foreshadowed at the start in a conversation with Captain Essen. I will happily take back my criticism of Bullock’s character in the past, he appears to be the sort person who is only nice once you get to know them, and perhaps that is what the series was trying to display.
In terms of smaller storylines, we watch Jim’s relationship with Barbara strain to breaking point and eventually reaching the point where it breaks off. This is something which I am sure will form a major plot point next week. Likewise the return of Selina is likely to feature strongly within this narratives successor.
A fantastic episode which got most things right, the balance of characters and stories, the tone and direction were all spot on. The narrative was tense and packed with strong characters moments some of which were particularly badass and massively welcome. More episodes like this please.