Gotham Review: There Will Be Light
After weeks of heavy promotion, Gotham finally kicked off its first season with their premiere episode tonight. Set in a pre-Batman Gotham City with the main focus being on Detective James “Jim” Gordon, the show started off with the story that everyone who’s a fan of Batman knows. Young Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered in front of him after a robbery gone badly wrong.
Once we saw Bruce’s parents murdered and Jim being introduced to the Gotham police force, that’s when the episode really got moving and the action started picking up. Sticking true to the Batman story, Gotham is a dark and dangerous town with crime happening around every corner. One of the best things about this episode was the little nods to characters that Batman fans will be familiar with. We got our first glimpses of the future Catwoman, a woman who prowls like a cat on the rooftops and steals milk to feed cats. We also saw a brief glimpse of the Riddler who was questioning Gordon and his partner in classic Riddler style. We may have even seen a young Joker who was entertaining Fish with a comedy routine. But the villain that got the most focus and beginnings of an origin story tonight was The Penguin.
Robin Taylor portrays The Penguin, first known as Oswald Cobblepott, in this version of Batman and he did a brilliant job. He was just the right amount of creepy needed for the role and the way they started his backstory was extremely well done. Fish beating him because he betrayed her was a unique twist to show how he got his limp.
The show was also very true to Gordon’s character and Ben McKenzie was an excellent choice to play him. He nailed Gordon’s compassion and showed us that he could be the police detective that Gotham needs. However, the town of Gotham even caused Gordon to be caught between doing the right thing and keeping his loved ones safe when after having been kidnapped by Fish’s henchmen; he was ordered to kill Oswald. After battling with his moral code, Gordon pretended to kill Oswald and told him to never return to Gotham. After believing that Gordon had indeed killed Oswald, he got into the good graces of Gotham’s police force, Falcone’s team and was able to keep his loved ones safe. The show also set up a great connection between Bruce and Gordon after Gordon promised Bruce he would find the man who murdered his parents.
All in all, Gotham struggled a bit in the beginning with some pacing problems but quickly sorted them out and ended on a strong second half hour. The show has great potential after a solid premiere and it will be interesting to see Gordon’s development along with the origins of Batman himself. The night is always darkest just before the dawn.