Aw C’mon Gotham: Season 3, Episode 1 “Better to Reign in Hell…”

Fox’s “Batman-without-Batman” soap opera is the most amazingly weird show on television. For every episode this season, Deadshirt’s own Sarah RegisterKayleigh 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.

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Max: It’s been a long, crazy summer break away from Gotham City, but finally America’s craziest show that just happens to be about Batman is back on television. The season premiere has our heroes months deep into the fallout from last season’s Indian Hill Project prison break, with Gotham overrun with freaky monsters. The cops are helpless, while organized crime is booming in the chaos. With hoagies firmly in hand, it’s time for Kayleigh, Sarah and I to once again exclaim “Aw… C’mon, Gotham.

WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR ESTRANGED FIANCEE’S HOUSE AND SHE’S KISSING A NEW MAN

Max: So the episode OPENS with Jim showing up at Lee Thompkins house down south where he discovers her drinking a glass of wine and kissing another man who….looks pretty much like him? What was going on here, girls?

Sarah: This scene was insane. At the time, I was sure Jim was looking in at Lee and…Jim. But wait, maybe it’s Clay-Jim?? Who has managed to sweep Lee off her feet in suburbia? Or WAIT, maybe Clay-Jim is looking in on real Jim??? Or it’s a metaphor.

Kayleigh: I was sure this was a dream sequence, but it was reality? Says a lot when any random suburban home outside of Gotham City looks like a golden, Rockwellian paradise.

Max: If Jim has his own Madelyn Pryor-style doppleganger who Lee fell in love with off-screen, Gotham will officially be the best comic book show on television.

Sarah: That’s why we didn’t see the (definitely not dead) baby with Lee. It’s already in the future.

JIM GORDON, THE LEATHER-CLAD MONSTER BOUNTY HUNTER OF OUR URBAN FANTASY NOVEL DREAMS

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Kayleigh: Remember how Gotham Season 1 was a relatively straightforward story about cops vs. mobsters? With the kind of off-the-rails insanity you’d find in a show in Season 10, the season premiere begins with Jim Gordon, bounty hunter, wrestling with a Dinosaur Man. This would be amazing if it weren’t abundantly clear that without Lee and the GCPD, Jim has hit rock bottom.

Max: Gotham subtly tweaks Gordon’s overall look and feel each season and I like that now he’s just wearing a leather jacket, rocking a five o’clock shadow and kicking monster ass in between bouts of depressed day drinking. This episode did a nice job selling Gordon as a guy truly at his lowest: He’s a straight up dick to his friends and to Valerie Vale. 

Sarah: Jim and Harvey Bullock are becoming more and more like each other, barring Harvey’s flask mid-press conference.

Max: “Amoral whiskey drinking asskicker for hire” Gordon is a breath of fresh air as far as I’m concerned, very curious to see what his redemption arc on this season looks like. 

VALERIE VALE: SASSY GIRL REPORTER 

Max: I’m bummed we’ve lost Morena Baccarin’s Lee Thompkins as a fixture on the show, but “Valerie” Vale really impressed me in this episode, even if she was restricted to some pretty standard Lois Lane shenanigans. She’s got moxy! 

Kayleigh: I hope Valerie Vale gets one of those jaunty little hats with a card that says “PRESS” on it.

Sarah: She’s a great foil to Jim’s current “let me be alone and drunk and sad” attitude. I also loved her one-on-one with the Penguin, who, despite being declared sane by a madman, can saunter into GCPD HQ and hijack their press conference without reprisal. 

Max: Oswald Cobblepot, a now famous criminal figure, strolling through police headquarters during a press conference like Kenny Powers coming before a funeral “WITHOUT THEATRICS.” As a sidenote, having Lucius Fox working as the GCPD’s current science guy is a cool development I didn’t really expect. 

Kayleigh: Season 2 was criminally low on Lucius Fox screentime, so I hope his new role fixes that. 

BRUCE WAYNE, CHILD EXECUTIVE, DESIRES PANCAKES 

Kayleigh: This show has multiple scenes of a child haranguing a boardroom. I half expected this scene to end with Alfred going ED 209 on that yuppie executive’s ass.

Max: It took a little while, but Gotham’s hit a good groove as far as writing Bruce as the young kid who’ll grow up to be Batman. The stunt he pulls here, rolling up to the Wayne Enterprises board and demanding to speak with the Court of Owls or he’ll go to the press, is a pitch perfect Batman move but the little bit before he goes in establishes how nervous Bruce is about this. As much as people complain that Gotham’s conceit is stupid because Batman isn’t around, it frequently gives us genuinely interesting developmental moments for young Bruce. 

Sarah: Can you guys, uh, understand Alfred at all this season? 

Max: Alfred can only speak in violence at this point. 

Kayleigh: Unfortunately for Bruce, Alfred made kipper pancakes.

UH-OH, BRUCE’S DOPPELGANGER HAS HIS OWN CREEPY CHILD CHOIR 

Sarah: If his theme song also includes a record crackle in the next episode I will be so happy.

Max: Bruce having a long haired urchin clone is by far the most anime plot development so far on this show. So far he doesn’t even seem evil, just weird. 

Kayleigh: Should we bet on how many episodes until the inevitable “Shoot him, Selina, I’m the real Bruce Wayne!” scene? I say four. (Selina shoots both of them in the leg, just ‘cause.) 

Max: The Court of Owls/Wayne Enterprises/Fish/Butch/Etc will definitely give him a haircut and use him for some kind of nefarious prince and the pauper scheme. 

BARBARA AND TABITHA WISH YOU A HAPPY BISEXUAL AWARENESS WEEK

Sarah: BARBARA IN FUR. BARBARA IN AGGRESSIVELY POINTY SHOULDER PADS. This season is already delivering some delicious wardrobe. 

Max: It’s season 3 of Gotham, and Barbara Keane and Tabitha Galavan are 1) dating, 2) small business owners, and 3) still murdering dudes as a weird sex thing. My favorite bit of this whole episode was poor Butch being so miserable and horny because Tabitha kicked him to the curb that Penguin is like….visibly pissed off and embarrassed about it. 

Kayleigh: Penguin gets pissy about anything that vaguely whiffs of heterosexuality. 

Max: Penguin seems way more mellow this season, and by that I mean he only threatened to kill Tabitha twice and only shot one dude in the head.

Kayleigh: Has anyone ever said “Boop!” more divinely than Erin Richards? Gotham Sirens are doin’ it for themselves!

Sarah: Barbara continues to steal every scene and also my heart.

IVY PEPPER VS FISH MOONEY’S ARMY OF HEROIN CHIC MODELS

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Sarah: Fish Mooney’s gang: a speedster with white hair, a person who can suck the life out of people with just a touch, in next week’s promo, a woman who controls lightning, literally the X-Men.

Max: “To me, my budget goth X-Men.” I like that the guy who can age people with a touch is just “Marv.” Jada Pinkett-Smith’s pure presence and charisma means a character likely not intended to last more than a season is still around as a superhuman crime boss with a metahuman gang. 

Sarah: I really thought Ivy was going to get chased into the jaws of a Little Shop of Horrors-esque plant, and Ivy P. would become P. Ivy already. I did not see her getting flushed by Fish. 

Kayleigh: This is probably the last we’ll see of Clare Foley as Ivy Pepper 1.0, as the character is being recast and aged up for what could be Gotham’s ickiest subplot so far. It’s too bad the show never knew what to do with young Ivy (remember when her father was framed for the Wayne murders? No one else does), so RIP striped street urchin sweater.

Max: Does this make the older incarnation “Ivy Pepper Ten,” the new sexy Ivy Pepper just for men? 

THE COURT OF OWLS SAYS: HOOT, HOOT, MOTHERFUCKER 

Max: Hey so does the old lady running the Court of Owls have to wear the mask like…all the time? Does she shower in it? Does she sleep in it? Anyway, she wasted no time dispatching her top assassin, Matt Bomer’s character from The Nice Guys, to kick Alfred’s ass and kidnap Baby Bruce. 

Sarah: Kato Talon! Also come on, man, if we were in a secret society WITH MASKS, I would wear my mask all the time. Get home, take off bra, put on mask.

Kayleigh: Say what you will about Gotham, but it’s a show where Bruce Wayne is constantly being kidnapped. He gets carried away by masked goons so many times he should have a handle.

Gotham airs Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern on FOX. 

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