TV - Gotham Season 1, Episode 1

Gotham

There was a time before Batman put on a cape and built an awesome car. Our own boy-wonder, Steve Taylor-Bryant, checks in on Gotham...

So the United Kingdom's much derided fifth channel has new owners in the guise of Viacom and they have promised to take on all comers! Alright just Channel Four to start with but Five have made some serious investments recently starting with Gotham. The concept of Gotham split both our team and social media when it was first announced. A Batman show with no Batman? Well everyone needs an origin story and I know we’ve had loads of big screen ones for Master Wayne, but I for one was looking forward to seeing the villains et al in younger form and growing to know these characters. With the news that Gotham has now been picked up for a full 22 episode run let’s delve into the season opener.

Bruno Heller, he of The Mentalist fame, and his director, the pilot Danny Cannon from my mother’s hometown of Luton in Bedfordshire, waste no time in showing us the Gotham they have created. A dark, almost gothic nod to Burton-era times, with a neon mix more Blade Runner than Nolan-esque.

An unnamed pick pocket we can only presume is Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) wanders the gritty alleys and rooftops taking milk and money from strangers as she goes, before happening upon a crime. The Wayne family are taking a shortcut after leaving the theatre, heading for a cab, when a masked assailant confronts them, taking Thomas Wayne's wallet and his wife Martha's pearl necklace, before shooting the parents dead leaving Bruce distraught. After taking down a psychotic criminal in the holding area of Gotham Police Station, Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), the new guy in town, joins his partner Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) when a murder is reported. When they arrive at the scene Bullock wants nothing to do with the pressure that would come from the Wayne slayings, but it’s too late as Gordon has befriended Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz,) getting him to finally talk, before Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) comes to take him home. Gordon has promised Wayne he would find the man responsible and aims to keep his word.

The vicious Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett-Smith) runs the Theatre District for Carmine Falcone (John Domane), but has her own power-play going on. She speaks to Bullock whilst Gordon gets a first look at Oswald Cobblepot (Robert Lord Taylor) out the back of the club, giving some goon a good kicking. Unbeknownst to Gordon, Mooney is going to hand them a suspect in the form of Mario Pepper (Daniel Stewart Sherman), the abusive and angry father of plant loving Ivy Pepper. When Gordon finds out that Pepper, now dead, has been framed and the police are as corrupt as the criminals, he goes to speak to Mooney. This ends up with him hanging upside down in a meat chiller about to be tortured to death by Mooney's goons. A rescue attempt by Bullock also goes wrong and the senior detective also ends up ready to be tortured before Falcone of all people rescue the duo.

Mooney finds out Cobblepot had blabbed to the MCU about her involvement and orders Bullock to deal with him. He passes over the killing task to Gordon as a trust issue needs resolving and Gordon warns Cobblepot to never return to Gotham before pretending to shoot him and shoving him in the river. Gordon comes clean to the young Wayne that he was wrong and what truly happened and promises the boy he will make things right.

The episode itself was fun. A few things were rushed, such as Cobblepot shouting about the penguin name, and a few things were left hanging which I hope get resolved in the coming weeks with the relationship between Detective Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartegena) and Gordon's fiancĂ©e Barbara (Erin Richards) coming across as perhaps more strange than needed at the moment. With glimpses of Selina Kyle, Ivy, and the added cameos of Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) alongside the awful comedian we can only presume will be The Joker (Jon Beavers), there is a lot of room for growth as the season continues. McKenzie as Gordon, the straight arrow, and Logue's Bullock played off each other really well and their onscreen chemistry is by far the highlight of the episode. Whilst many didn’t like Pertwee's almost cockney Alfred, I loved the Sergeant Major characteristics. Lots to come I’m sure but a solid and fun beginning.

Image - IMDb.