Gotham, Episode 4 “Arkham” Broadcast October 13, 2014
Written by Ken Woodruff
Directed by T.J. Scott
Picking up from last week’s teaser, Oswald Cobblepot is at James Gordon and Barbara’s apartment door. After some small talk with Barbara, saying he’s a friend, the two men go outside, where Gordon throws Cobblepot against a wall. The detective says, “If Falcone finds out you’re alive he’ll kill us both. ” The criminal responds, “There’s a war coming…and I can help you. War is just politics by other means. And isn’t politics just talking?” “Talking about what?” asks Gordon. “Arkham,” replies the future crimelord, who limps away. Meanwhile, Councilman Jenkins is attacked by a man claiming to be a constituent. The voter produces an odd device that projects an expanding spike and Jenkins is killed. Cue title logo and first commercial break.
This was a very predictable episode. Gordon and Bullock get the murder case and each tries to solve it their own way. If you’ve seen the previous episodes, you can guess who Bullock runs to. As this investigation is going on, Cobblepot sees an opportunity at Bamonte’s Restaurant, and it takes no skill to figure out who’s behind what happens. Again Bruce Wayne and Alfred make appearances but, again, they could be entirely excised from the episode and absolutely nothing would be lost by their absence. They only exist to remind viewers that this boy will become Batman…in a little over ten years. Barbara and James have a confrontation over secrets and I’m stunned that it’s so one sided, seeing as how they both know the other has one. I would have expected the individual who’s on the defense to stand up more for themselves or throw the concept of secrets back at the other. By not doing so it made one character extremely weak. Fish Mooney has her scenes, as she has a scheme afoot, which results in an unintentionally hilarious fight scene toward the end of the episode. I thought this to be the poorest episode of the series, and it’s only the fourth.
The good: Seeing Arkham for the first time and it living it up to its comic gothic-ness, and the Penguin dominating the screen and getting all the good lines, and being the only character to develop.
The bad: A third-rate nameless antagonist, Italian mob clichés, a predictable plot, unnecessary appearances by Bruce and Alfred, an unbelievable plot jump using a squealer behind bars to solve a major plot point, Barbara and Jim’s fight and its soap opera conclusion, a stupid fight, and awful cliché dialogue between Bruce and James in the end.
The final line: Ouch. This was not good. Predictable and boring. I’m ready for everyone to be written out, save Cobblepot. Overall grade: D+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.