I should state up front that this review mostly applies to the second half of the season because I covered the first half in a previous post. However I will be giving my thoughts of the season as a whole with what I liked and didn’t like and some thoughts for season 2.
Let’s get into it, shall we?
Gordon in Arkham
We ended the first half of season 1 with Det. Gordon demoted to Arkham Asylum security guard. His feud with the commissioner and the majority (re: corrupt) police detectives in the Gotham City Police Department meant that he was on the outs. But following he redeems himself by working on a case to recapture a deranged electrical genius Jack Gruber who escaped from Arkham.
We only saw Gordon in Arkham Asylum for two episodes but in that space of time we saw him out of his element but determined to get his job back, we got a glimpse of Arkham from the inside and the world of crazies that inhabit it, and we also got to meet Dr. Lee Thompkins, who will prove to be the new love interest for Jim Gordon.
The Ogre Arc
I like the villain of the week element of Gotham but some stories need a little more than that. And one of my favourite arcs for season 1 is definitely that of The Ogre. I’d always been a fan of Milo Ventimiglia… (Heroes) and enjoyed his performance as the sadistic serial killer The Ogre. His tortured past made him quite an interesting villain, along with his really cool demeanor.
Of course the most crucial part of his inclusion in the story is his involvement with Barbara Kean, and him convincing her to kill her parents in a crazy Stockholm Syndrome-esque journey that ends with her losing her sanity and attacking Dr. Thompkins. It’s going to be interesting to see where Barbara Kean ends up and if she will wiggle her way back into Jim Gordon’s life.
Because of the rich source material and over 75 years of existence, Batman has amassed a wide range of beautifully diverse villains, and seeing these villains slowly become develop is one of my favourite aspects in Gotham.
In season 1 we have been treated to so many, including; Johnathan Crane (Scarecrow), Oswald Cobblepot (Penguin), Edward Nygma (The Riddler), Victor Zsasz, Selina Kyle (Catwoman), Harvey Dent (Two Face), Ivy Pepper (Poison Ivy) and even strong glimpses at The Joker – although we never really know if anyone is the Joker or if it’s all just misdirection.
The Penguin is definitely the standout villain of season 1, going from a quirky henchman, to an outsider, to a errand boy, to a devious mastermind playing crime bosses against one another until he is the only one standing and the self-proclaimed King of Gotham.
The villain I think they didn’t mention enough is district attorney Harvey Dent, who should be fighting alongside Detectives Gordon and Bullock and should have been on screen more often in season 1. I assume they will use his character much more going forward.
Fish Mooney’s ambitious nature caused her to piss off the wrong people and she soon found herself on the outskirts of Gotham. She was captured and held hostage in the Dollmaker’s factory where she made the most of her situation, rallied the troops and broke out, returning to Gotham to plot her return as queen of Gotham.
Fish Mooney has never been my favourite character in the show, partly because she doesn’t exist in the comics but also because I don’t see her as a memorable villain. I tried liking her. Really. Her exile from Gotham and arc with The Dollmaker was something I thought could redeem her character.
Despite stabbing herself in the eye with a fork (which was super messed up and unexpected) I just felt like everyone was trying way too hard with her character. Jada Pinkett-Smith wasn’t great. Her story wasn’t great. And apparently she will not be back for season 2. Swing and a miss.
Baby Bat and Lil’ Cat
Another sub-plot this season has been that of Bruce Wayne and his mission to investigate his parents’ killer and uncover the very corrupt goings on at Wayne Enterprises. He does not do this on his own, however and is accompanied by Alfred who toughens him up by training with him and Selina Kyle who helps him become accustomed to the mean streets of Gotham.
They forge a bond of course, and Selina even goes so far as to kill Alfred’s friend (who betrayed him and is working for Wayne Enterprises) when Bruce couldn’t do it. Naturally this would make them life long friends now, right? Maybe not. Because Selina discovers she’s actually one bad cat and teams up with Fish Mooney. Cat and Fish. I just got that,
So the finale was…inconsistent to say the least. I liked certain parts but overall it was very weak and more than a little ridiculous. I won’t go into all the details. but I found this article sums it up perfectly. There are certain things I found to be quite noteworthy going into season 2.
Bruce Wayne’s investigation into his father culminates in him meeting Lucius Fox at Wayne Enterprises, who makes a remark about Bruce’s father being a stoic. Bruce somehow deduces that this is a clue about his mysterious father and manages to uncover a book that is a key to a secret passageway – which has to lead to the bat cave. But of course we don’t know for sure because the episode and season ends with them looking down the passageway. Baby bat is on his way. But how far will his transformation progress in season 2?
Fish Mooney is back with a vengeance (and a new hairstyle) and teams up with Selina Kyle (also new hair hairstyle) and Don Maroni. Don Falcone is taken hostage, calamity ensues, Maroni gets shot in the head, Falcone retires, Penguin pushes Mooney off a ledge and she falls to her death(?) into the harbour. This leaves Penguin as the king of Gotham. If you don’t believe me, ask him.
Things get really weird where Barbara Kean and Dr. Lee Thompkins is concerned. For instance we find out Barbara killed her own parents and she then proceeds to attack Dr. Thompkins, who bashes Kean’s head into the ground a few times in self defense, right before Gordon, Bullock and Falcone conveniently barge through the door.
This left me with two questions: 1) What is Barbara Kean’s role next season and if she does end up with Gordon – as she does in the comics – then where does that leave Thompkins? Is she going to be killed off, written out or will she have a much larger part to play in the whole story? Arkham doctor and psychologist who can handle herself in a fight… Har-Lee Quinn, anyone?
I left this one for last because it is my favourite scene in the whole of season one and the reason I didn’t completely hate the finale. Edward Nygma’s mental breakdown and transformation into The Riddler. As one of my favourite Batman villains of all time, I loved the scene with Nygma because it meant a little more foreshadowing into the mind of the master of riddles and Batman’s smartest foe. Some viewers have stated that this transformation didn’t need to take all season. But I think it was well worth the wait.
The episode before showed Nygma killing a man in a effort to protect Miss Kringle. True to form, he covers up the murder by creating a goodbye letter from the man to Miss Kringle and leaving his name in hidden in the note. However, Miss Kringle deciphers this, confronts Nygma, who shakes it off as a coincidence and then proceeds to have a maniachal bipolar episode with the paranoid Nygma slowly pushed out and the demented Riddler coming to the fore. Check out the scene below if you haven’t seen it.
What I liked about Season 1
- Rogue villains for days.
- The Rise of the Penguin
- The Riddler’s transformation
- The Ogre arc
- The Red Hood episode
- That Joker scene
What I didn’t like about Season 1
- Detective Gordon’s lack of mustache
- Harvey Dent being underutilised
- Fish Mooney as a whole
- The season finale (for the most part)
Season 1 rating: 7/10
About the author: Dean is still Batman. You can find him on twitter @deeno15.