Fox’s “Batman-without-Batman” soap opera is the most amazingly weird show on television. For every episode this season, Deadshirt’s own Sarah Register, Kayleigh Hearn and Max Robinson discuss the good, the bad…the beginning? of little Bruce Wayne, skinny Oswald Cobblepot, and Jim Gordon sans ‘stache as they try to find their way in the misery-soaked, work-a-day world of…GOTHAM.
Max: This week’s GOTHAM: surprisingly understated and yet also weird as hell! Gotham! Yeah!!!
BARBARA’S DREAM IS ONLY 10% CRAZIER THAN WHAT HAPPENS IN GOTHAM WHEN SHE’S AWAKE
Kayleigh: I fucking CACKLED at how wild the beginning of this episode was. Father Penguin with a John Waters mustache! Galavan playing the organ! Barbara spitting up a…bird? Petition to have every episode of Gotham begin with a dream sequence. Together we can make this happen!
Max: This is, as far as I can recall, the first dream sequence they’ve done on this show, and now I kinda wish the entire show was just this 24/7. I like how Penguin was a big part of this dream but like Barbara barely knows him? This whole episode felt like it was guest-directed by Brian De Palma or something. It felt really odd, even more so than usual.
JIM INTERROGATES HIS SERIAL KILLER EX, AND IT GOES AS WELL AS YOU’D EXPECT
Kayleigh: Gordon should have called in Selina and Ivy to interrogate Barbara. They would have broken her in seconds.
Max: Bring in lil’ Catzzoli and Isley! I feel like as a rule, police officers aren’t allowed to interrogate their ex-fiancees, but also this is the GCPD so “whatever the story demands” is the rule of law here.
Kayleigh: What’s up with Jim kissing Barbara, though? That felt like a bit of manufactured drama; Jim definitely has a dark side, but kissing his ex-fiancee in front of his girlfriend in order to coax information out of her felt too cold and manipulative for him.
Sarah: Jim is the king of poor decision-making when it comes to Barbara, and he pretty much owes his life to Harvey Bullock, who in this episode was probably the smartest man in the GCPD with his schmoozing of the Commissioner and his actual detective work and his cute secretary glasses.
Max: I like that Jim feels genuinely upset with what’s happened to Barbara and is trying to help her, albeit in an unbelievably dumb/dangerous way. Bullock with his nerd glasses listening to in-game audio tracks to solve this episode’s mystery.
THIS IS WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE/WHEN BRUCE CRIES
Kayleigh: It feels like Bruce Wayne is constantly on the verge of tears on this show, and I love it. Not because the tears of children grant me eternal youth (though that is a perk), but because it’s fascinating to see Bruce Wayne as a vulnerable kid, before he started channeling all his emotions into beating up pasty, green-haired murderers. Bruce confessing to Alfred that part of him just wants it all to be over is heartbreaking, in part because of David Mazouz’s excellent performance, and because of course we know that for Bruce, it will never be over.
Sarah: I was actually impressed with Alfred letting Bruce make the call after that scene. He rightly pointed out that the Galavan deal was extortion, but you can tell he really cares about Bruce at this point by not stopping him from making a bad decision. If selling the company means the kid gets closure, then hell, maybe it’s worth it.
Kayleigh: And then the episode ends with tiny Bruce screaming “NOOOOOOO!” at a fire, because this is Gotham.
Sarah: I thought Galavan was just bluffing until he burned the evidence, shit.
Max: Bruce literally yelled at a fire for answers, which is extremely On Brand both for dumb little moron child Bruce Wayne and, I think, the Dark Knight.
IT’S A NICE DAY FOR A WHITE WEDDING
Kayleigh: If you traveled back in time to 2014 to tell me that the Jim/Barbara wedding episode of Gotham would be excellent I would have said, “You’re a damn liar,” followed by, “Get out of my house.”
Barbara’s very literal take on a shotgun wedding was pure Gotham camp, and it was great. I love how she tries to torment Lee with information about Jim’s “dark side” and Lee just unblinkingly tells her, “Yeah, Jim killed a guy for Penguin, I know.” Since the show has been building up Jim’s dark side, it’s reassuring to see that his relationship with Lee is that strong and honest—at least for now.
Max: Lee looks pretty prepared to dump Jim’s reckless ass, and considering this is like the third time his ex has threatened to murder her in the last year, I can’t really blame her!
Kayleigh: I’m conflicted by Barbara’s survival, though. Not that I want to say goodbye to Erin Roberts’s wild-eyed portrayal of Barbara just yet, but this episode seemed to push her character as far as she can go. Barbara falling to her death in that wedding dress, another victim of Gotham City’s contagious insanity, would have been a fine point to end on.
Sarah: Agreed, but at the same time it would be interesting to see how Barbara acts when she isn’t under the thumb of the Galavans. Plus this may mean we get more Arkham common room scenes. OR maybe she’ll end up at Indian Hill and get some kind of superpower.
Max: I was watching this with Mike [Pfeiffer, Deadshirt contributor], and we were both kind of like “damn are they seriously going to kill off a third major female character in a row like this?” so we were both kinda relieved when it turned out she lived. Agree with Sarah, I want Barbara as a full-on criminal mastermind later on.
DISCIPLINE MAYOR IS OUT, MAYOR BING BONG IS IN
Kayleigh: I’m really surprised Mayor Galavan only lasted one episode, which makes me wonder just how long Theo and Tabitha are going to be sticking around. (I remembered that this season hasn’t even gotten to Hugo Strange, Flamingo, and Mr. Freeze yet, and I had to brace myself against a wall until the room stopped spinning.)
Sarah: And don’t forget that the Order of St. Dumas are still on their way. Someone’s going to be wielding a flaming sword this season.
Kayleigh: Of course this could be part of a bigger plan to discredit Gordon, but now Galavan has revealed himself as an untrustworthy snake to Bruce, I’m not sure how wise it is. Anyway, Richard Kind is awesome, glad he survived the rat mask from 1984.
Max: Galavan being foiled by the one-two punch of a child refusing to sign paperwork/a literal punch in the face from Jim Gordon was *blows the air a kiss*. I can’t believe Mayor Spin City is still alive to turn state’s evidence; I was expecting his head to explode as soon as they opened his head-box.
TODAY’S THE DAY THE RIDDLER HAS HIS PICNIC
Kayleigh: Last week, Edward Nygma finally started acting like The Riddler, but in this episode he was back to being any generic killer of the week on CSI. After setting up a final romantic “date” for himself and Miss Kringle’s body in the woods, he’s discovered by a random hunter (in what’s a genuinely funny beat) and kills him, only to find out he’s been discovered by someone else. When The Riddler kills people, I want complex, labyrinthine death traps, or the mind-melding forehead dildo from Batman Forever. There’s no artistry or finesse in just whacking a dude over the head with a shovel—any dumb schmuck can do that.
Sarah: After his “for a secluded forest, this place sure has a lot of foot traffic” line, I kind of hoped that random hunters would just keep showing up and he would have to keep killing them, because Nygma is basically a Looney Tunes character at this point.
Kayleigh: When it fully dawned on me that Nygma was after someone who stole his sandwich, I felt like Chazz Palminteri dropping the coffee cup at the end of The Usual Suspects. Penguin/Sandwiches is perhaps the purest, truest, longest-running love story in all of Gotham.
Max: It was perfect. I forgot Penguin wasn’t really around this episode except in that dream. The reveal that Robin Lord Taylor’s living in a van down by the river and delirious from a probably infected gunshot wound got me really good.
Sarah: My immediate thought was that it was Penguin, because who else would see a pile of dead bodies and think to steal the nearby sandwich. I hope the Penguin actually uses a sandwich as a murder weapon next season.
Max: I’m v. hype for this supervillain team up.
Gotham airs Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern on FOX.