Review: Gotham ep. 1×13 “Welcome Back Jim Gordon”

This week we saw our second episode of Gotham with Detective Jim Gordon after his time at Arkham Asylum. In ep. 13 “Welcome Back Jim Gordon” we see the detective back to his investigations in the city.

The glaring truth of the episode, however, is that the show has too much going on and little in-depth development. It is a matter of quantity vs. quality with Gotham. Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett-Smith) is punished for her deeds against Falcone (John Doman) by “Bob” and is anticlimactically rescued by her loyal henchman, Butch (Drew Powell). Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) is awkwardly trying to woo Kirsten Kringle (Chelsea Spack). Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) has plans to take over Fish’s club, sharing in his triumph with his odd mother and later getting drunk, only to be surprised by a return from Fish Mooney. Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) returns from his chalet in Switzerland, seeking out Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) to give her a snowglobe. And all the while, Jim Gordon is challenging a system that is not just corrupt, but almost comically disruptive in the face of justice.

Is there more? Perhaps. But this sums up the episode. There is a severe lack of truly intriguing character arcs. In some cases, characters who are exactly as they seem on a consistent basis can be an asset to a show. However, without growth, roles can become quickly stale. The most interesting piece of the entire episode was during the last few minutes when a corrupt policeman begs Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) to leave his family alone. We are then finally treated to a moral dilemma where a man who stands for justice and doing the right thing treads into the shades of gray to accomplish a mission. We  see his face as he realizes the price he must pay to further the greater good. In the beginning of the season, we saw a similar dilemma when he had to make a decision to kill or save The Penguin. It was a scenario that attracted viewers and writers would be smart in pursuing this vein of story-telling further.

While last week’s episode left me with some hope that the show was gaining ground, this week’s episode of Gotham left me wanting. An emotional connection with the characters that allows the viewers to feel invested in the relationships of characters and their doings is the key factor that is missing from the show. I found myself forcing myself to try to enjoy the show with hope that it may find its stride. But this episode has gone to prove that all the stylization in the world may not save this show from poor plot development and half-hatched schemes of origin stories.

What do YOU think of the show? Keep tuning in on Fox on Mondays for more Gotham.

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