Friday, June 03, 2016

Geek TV: Gotham Season Wrap-Up!

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Today's post is the last of the season wrap-ups for a while, at least until I finally catch up on Agents of SHIELD. As has been the case all week, there be spoilers!
Gotham has been my least favorite of the DC shows, and I think it shouldn't be, although I'm not 100% sure why.

Just from the name of the show alone, one expects it to be Smallville with Bruce Wayne instead of Clark Kent, except that Bruce isn't the main character of this show -- it's James Gordon. Gotham is really about his story, not Bruce's (although Bruce's story is there as well). I suppose the decision was made to focus on Gordon because there's more you can do with him during this time; Bruce can't be constantly working on becoming Batman in the future, because that was a long process.

The big baddie of this season was Dr. Hugo Strange, who was played by B.D. Wong in what has to have been the absolute best casting this show has had. I'd been used to seeing him playing a psychologist (or was it a psychiatrist?) on the various Law & Order shows, so seeing him as Strange was a pleasure to me -- the guy's got acting chops, and fit Strange perfectly. 

My biggest problem with this show has always been that it seems to be intent on introducing all the major villains Batman will face as an adult now, whereas we've never seen anything like that in the comics. Indeed, the comics made it appear that Bruce becoming Batman is what brought all the costumed crazies to Gotham (which was already bad enough)... this seems to be showing us that the villains will already be here and making things bad well before Bruce dons the cape and cowl.

Having said that, given that so many villains have been getting their origins played through Strange's reanimation process, I'm kind of surprised that we haven't seen even a hint that the character introduced earlier that everyone thought was going to become the Joker but was killed off wasn't one of the reanimates, perhaps having his skin turn white and his hair green as a result. Although given the prominence of the Joker in the Suicide Squad movie, I suppose that Gotham is avoiding using any Bat-villains from that movie (indeed, the DC films seem to be dictating who can be used on the tv shows -- witness the complete dropping of the Suicide Squad from Arrow). 

We also got Azrael introduced this season, as I'd expected since the whole Galligan arc began with the mention of the Knights of Dumas, although I didn't expect to see him be Azrael (although there's always the chance of a new Azrael coming in the future). Another introduction was the Court of Owls (they were either called that or the Parliament of Owls in the comics, but I can't recall which), revealed as being Strange's leash-holders, and probably the ones behind all the crap happening in Gotham. 

Also introduced and quickly killed off was the real Matches Malone, here presented as the murderer of the Waynes, although I'm really hoping that his admitting to it was just because he was trying to get Bruce to kill him, rather than actually being guilty of that. I mean, come on... Joe Chill killed the Waynes, that's the way it's supposed to be. 

I was really hoping we'd seen the last of Barbara Keane, who in the comics married Gordon, but here she's gone crazy, and is currently working with Penguin. I don't know what they have planned for her, but I'm kind of tired of her brand of crazy. 

My favorite villains remain Penguin and Edward Nigma (who has yet to completely become the Riddler, but he's getting closer all the time). Each of them is a delight when they appear, and move the overall plot of the series forward all the time. 

I don't count Selina Kyle as a villain, because she's proven herself to be as heroic as Gordon at times, although she doesn't admit to it. She's one of my favorite characters, and I look forward to seeing her arc develop more in the next season.

Bruce and Alfred are also favorites, and I'm glad to see that Alfred is finally coming to terms with the fact that Bruce is going to do what he feels he needs to do, and Alfred is better off working with him to accomplish those goals while keeping Bruce safe. Bruce could use some more combat training, though, and I'd also like to see him start studying various subjects more (maybe next season, we can see that every episode, Bruce is studying up on another subject he feels will be helpful to him, or even finding people who can teach him).

Gordon, the central character, ended the season leaving Gotham City to find his estranged love Lee Tompkins, who's somewhere in the south after supposedly losing their baby. I would love him to find her (Lee was a nice addition to the cast), but it might work better for the series if he does, but she says she can't come back to Gotham, but Jim has to... and then after Jim leaves, then we find out that there's a baby (although maybe hedge a bit on if it's a boy or a girl, or what their name is).

I do think that the next season's going to be full of powered villains, thanks to the break-out of Arkham and Indian Hill... all of Strange's test subjects are on the loose, probably being herded and controlled by Fish Mooney, who's been brought back to life with the ability to secret a mind-controlling drug. We'll have to see how things go here, because I don't think Harvey has a chance of dealing with this on his own, even with being acting captain of the GCPD, and even with Gordon working with him, that's a huge challenge. Where the extra help could come from, I don't know -- I'm hoping that there won't be any more unholy alliances with criminals, because Gordon needs to become cleaner.

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