Review: 'Gotham' - 'Rogues' Gallery': Late night at Arkham Asylum
A quick review of tonight's "Gotham" — and thoughts on future reviewing plans for the show — coming up just as soon as I believe a giant bullfrog lives in my abdomen, controlling my thoughts...
"Rogues' Gallery"(*) was relatively streamlined as "Gotham" episodes go, with a bunch of characters (Bruce, Alfred, Nygma, Falcone) absent, and with the Crime of the Week taking up so much focus that the appearances by everyone save Gordon and Bullock felt like cameos. Too often, the show suffers from trying to do too many things at once, which wasn't really the case here.
(*) "Gotham" continues to make weird choices with episode titles, whether naming them after characters who barely appear or, here, naming it after a group that won't exist until long after the show ends. (Technically, Penguin and Catwoman are in this one, but only one of them going by their supervillain alias.)
The problem with keeping things simple, though, is that if your main storyline is a dud, there's precious little else to keep things interesting, which was unfortunately the case with "Rogues' Gallery." Somehow, despite featuring guest stars Isiah Whitlock Jr. (Clay Davis from "The Wire," and in a story about overwhelmed civic institutions trying to ignore their fundamental flaws, no less), Allyce Beasley (Miss DiPesto from "Moonlighting"!), Christopher Heyerdahl (the Swede from "Hell on Wheels") and Morena Baccarin (as Bat-comic fixture Dr. Leslie Tompkins), this one was really dull. Outside of Harvey's arrival to get Lang off of his ex-partner's back, most of the scenes dragged, the twist with Beasley being a patient rather than a nurse was handled clumsily (even if she was clearly involved with the plot from the get-go), and the whole story made me much more concerned about the state of things for however long Jim's time at Arkham lasts.
As for the rest of the hour, certain elements felt rushed (Oswald now demanding to be referred to by the nickname he once despised needed to be a bigger moment than it was, with more set-up), while others were just annoying (Barbara remains a character in desperate need of a reason for being on the series). I am enjoying the show-within-the-show, "Catwoman's Cribs," wherein Selina crashes in the homes of other characters for an episode or two, but eventually, she's going to run out of real estate. (Though I can't wait for the one where she and Oswald become temporary roomies.)
Finally, as we enter the new year and a lot of blog favorites return to TV, some current regulars in the rotation will have to move aside (only so many hours in a day/week for writing), and I suspect "Gotham" will be one of those. I'll be at press tour next week, so I definitely won't be reviewing that episode, and we'll see after that how often I'll be able to cover it. "Gotham" wasn't one of the best shows I was watching in the fall, but it's ongoing struggle to get all its moving parts working together made it an interesting show to write about. As I've said often, the shows that get episode-by-episode coverage aren't always the cream of the crop, but the ones I continually have things to say about. (Just among the comic book shows, "The Flash" has been significantly better than "Gotham," but if I'd had to choose only one to review weekly, it'd have been the one with Alfred and Young Master Bruce.) But we're a half season in and I suspect this may become a semi-regular that I write about when it does something especially good (say, another episode on the level of "Penguin's Umbrella") or bad, or when it airs a new episode in a week when lots of other shows I care about are off. We'll see.
As for "Rogues' Gallery," what did everybody else think?