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.
GOTHAM CANON: PENGUIN’S IN LOVE WITH THE RIDDLER, BABY
Max: This episode is a trip, but let’s start with the biggest thing: Oswald Cobblepot’s gay, yo. Not just subtext, it’s a major plot point now. Honestly very cool to see Gotham go with this and Robin Lord Taylor playing Oswald’s inability to confess his feelings to Nygma as broad comedy was a lot of fun.
Sarah: The fact that Robin Lord Taylor used his childhood experience of being bullied for being gay to inform his performance makes this reveal that much more perfect. We all knew it; kudos to Gotham for making it canon.
Kayleigh: Just last week I voiced my skepticism that Gotham would ever confirm Penguin’s feelings for Riddler, and I’m happy to be proven wrong so quickly! This is a great direction for Robin Lord Taylor’s take on Oswald Cobblepot, and I’m excited that Gotham’s breakout character is openly queer. “Nygobblepot lives!” cheers the shippers, but I admit I am a cranky old bisexual wondering, “…What’s the catch?”
GOTHAM WITH A VENGEANCE
Max: This is a fairly unusual episode of Gotham in that it’s mostly centered on Mad Hatter and this sadistic cat and mouse game he forces Gordon to go through. No baby Bruce or Cat and pretty limited appearances from much of the cast. I feel torn on this one: I really dig how the episode doesn’t flinch away from the gravity of Gordon’s choices with the hostages, but goddamn is it violent.
Sarah: Also worth noting: it’s actually pretty easy for a villain to find a child wearing a literal propeller hat in Gotham City.
Kayleigh: Mad Hatter gives me the same queasy feelings as the Dollmaker all the way back in Season 1. I definitely prefer the show when it’s relying on sly, campy villainy like “Balloon Man” and every scene Fish Mooney’s in. When Gotham digs too deep into the really dark shit like body horror or the psychological disintegration of its lead character I pull away from it.
Max: Sidenote: I assumed that the albino dressed like Elijah Snow from Planetary was Gotham’s take on Solomon Grundy (who we’re supposed to get this season) but he’s credited on IMDB as “White Rabbit.” Weird!
THE PENGUIN INSTRUCTS A CHILD IN THE WAYS OF REVENGE
Max: Mayor Penguin stopping dead in his tracks because that one gross little girl walked in front of him.
Sarah: I mean, same.
Kayleigh: Penguin saw that kid’s shitty haircut and knew he found a kindred spirit. Same recognizes same.
DOES THE BECHDEL TEST COME INTO PLAY IF BOTH OF THE WOMEN HAVE BEEN KIDNAPPED?
Max: Valerie Vale bugging Lee Thompkins for info about Alice Tetch’s blood while they’re both handcuffed to a bathtub: pretty good.
Kayleigh: Valerie and Lee were very fun together, and I wish this had been more of a “kidnapped girlfriends work together to escape costumed villain” episode, alas.
Sarah: Val and Lee definitely could have been friends in a universe where their shared lover wasn’t forced to have one of them shot.
THE MAD HATTER HAS A SPECIAL LITTLE TRAY FOR GORDON’S GUN
Max: This was like…a very fun bit in what’s largely a pretty grim episode.
Sarah: Not as fun as Tetch and Gordon’s earlier game of telephone.
Kayleigh: This show keeps insisting that Mario Falcone is a character we should give a shit about, and I don’t believe them.
GORDON, CHOOSE WHICH OF THE POOR WOMEN WHO LOVE YOU MUST DIE
Sarah: Odds are Jim chose to have Tetch shoot Lee knowing he would turn the gun on his current squeeze. Vale will likely survive, but there’s no way Jim can salvage any kind of relationship with either woman.
Kayleigh: This was rough.
WHEN YOU’RE AT THE LIQUOR STORE AND YOU MEET YOUR DEAD GIRLFRIEND’S DOPPLEGANGER
Max: It took wayyyy too long for me to realize Gotham’s just doing a straight up Vertigo riff with the Oswald/Nygma/Kristen Kringle’s twin love triangle they set up here. It’s not really clear if Nygma returns Oswald’s romantic interest and at this point it’s sort of unclear how much of what he told Butch last episode about playing Oswald is true.
Sarah: Well since this season has already borrowed from 28 Days Later and Saw, why not.
Kayleigh: Ah, here’s the catch. Nygma misses his dinner date with Oswald because he runs into Kim Novak–er, Madelyne Pryor–no, Isabella. Any early guesses to what the deal is here? Note that clone, resurrected corpse, hallucination, and Clayface are all viable, established options in Gotham.
Max: The fact that she looks exactly like Miz Kringle, loves riddles and is openly hitting on Nygma suggests some kind of crazy honeypot situation. Maybe the Court of Owls is trying to recruit him.
ANYWAY CAPTAIN BARNES’ STILL GOT THAT BLOOD EYE
Kayleigh: They’re just going to mutate Michael Chiklis into The Thing again and hope no one notices.
Max: Vic Mackey got too hornt and bent a metal chair.
Sarah: Maybe Barnes will go full zom and be our New Grundy.
Gotham airs Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern on FOX.