Gotham: 110 “LoveCraft” Review
Reviewed by Mark McCullough.
This week’s episode of Gotham turned out to be the mid-series finale, something which actually came as a shock to me, as I only realised the fact when there was no next time sequence after the episode. That said, the episode did have an epic feel about it that was fitting for once of this significance. In fact it was probably on balance one of the best episodes of the series so far, so certainly leaves us wanting more.
The crux of the narrative is a direct continuation from last week’s Selina storyline, except this week she receives a much elevated role adopting a central position with unlikely partner in crime Bruce Wayne. A major contributing factor to the episodes success was the fact that all aspects of the show converge seamlessly into one strong yet succinct narrative. Besides the main story there is very little else going on this week. Thankfully Cobblepot does make an appearance albeit a rather short one. His scenes do not offer much to further the plot by Mooney against Falcone; however they do suggest that Cobblepot may hold more power than we think. What is crucial in interpreting these scenes is the unspoken aspects, something which the cast do a splendid job of job of conveying. It also allows the viewer a chance to apply their knowledge to the situation and try to figure out what is going on.
The episode is named after the threat that was introduced last time out: Lovecraft. Having been set up as a man with complete power over the goings on within Gotham, he presented a lot of questions for the viewers. This ambiguity was maintained by the fact that he remained unseen throughout the first part of the story. That did not mean however that his perceived influence was not felt, as he did appear to have a strong influence on the narrative. This however is challenged by one of the major twists within the episode; it is like with Cobblepot, only in reverse. As quickly as Lovecraft was introduced to Gotham he is removed leaving Gordon in a really rather tricky situation. Strangely the narrative chooses not to pursue this course instead offering Gordon anther profound dilemma which has changed the shape of things for the second half of the series.
The capitalisation of the C in LoveCraft in the episode name suggests that it holds more meaning than just a reference to the character’s name. In fact if you split the words it’s most likely that it is about Bruce and Selina’s relationship which forms the main aspect of this week’s story. When a group of assassins arrive at Wayne Manor intent on silencing Selina once and for all, Bruce and Selina end up on the run, thanks to Alfred’s intervention. This allows their mismatched friendship to be pushed further as we see the flip of last week, this time it is Bruce thrown into Selina’s world. The Development within both characters over the 45 minute episode is impressive to say the least and we get to know more about both of them. Consequently the final scene of the episode between the two feels fitting, whereas if it had of came last week it would certainly have felt forced.
Undoubtedly the standout character of the week was Alfred. This story allowed him to shine as it took him out of Wayne Manner and into confrontations with characters he wouldn’t normally interact with. Because of this we see him use an array of skills which show how manipulative he can be, there is sweet-talking, bribery, insistence that things are done his way, along with some pretty awesome fight scene. All of this comes together nicely to make Alfred a real success in this story.
A stunning outing from the show, it was tense and compelling from the first moment to the last. The narrative was easy to follow, yet was still complex enough to be extremely interesting and allow for integration of the various storylines. Furthermore, there will be lasting consequences as certain characters find their worlds completely changed. Sadly there are a few complaints, namely the fact that Barbara’s storyline has been abandoned for now, especially when it seemed like it was going to have a major impact on Gordon. Perhaps this is something for the second half of the series to address?
Mid-Season Verdict 8.5/10
Gotham is one of those strange shows so far where its potential is obvious and it so nearly meets that. It is a good show with a range of strong characters and a variety of complex plots. The problem is, it is not what you would call ‘must watch TV’. This isn’t a problem for people who have been following from the start and are into the series, but for new viewers it is going to make it difficult to engage with the show. Comparing Gotham to The Flash, both shows are strong, but at the moment Gotham is lagging ever so slightly behind it competitor. However with the show going from strength to strength in recent weeks I am sure this is something which will quickly sort itself out when the show returns to our screens.