Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My Review of Gotham's 1x08: "The Mask"

Written by John Stephens
Directed by Paul Edwards

Sionis: “In order to succeed, you have to be a warrior.”
Gordon: “No you don’t. You have to be a good businessman. Warriors fight wars, it’s different.”

I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this episode. Ever since Fight Club was released, it’s become a thing with genre shows to have an episode like that movie and usually they tend to be pretty awful episodes. Oddly enough, I actually enjoyed this one, only because I think there an introduction to another Rogue Gallery member.

The Black Mask might not be in my top twenty list of favourite Rogue Gallery members (actually, I think he’s kind of rubbish), but Richard Sionis, the owner of a business where if you want to be employed, you literally have to fight for a position was actually pretty well realised.

He was delightfully oily, slick and full of bluster that it was easy to see why Gordon was so irritated by him. I also quite like the fact that the show didn’t try to make it into a mystery either. As soon as Sionis appeared on screen, we knew he was responsible for the businessmen deaths with his competitive antics and more to the point, Gordon got to unwillingly participate in the fights before taking Sionis down as well.

While I do think this show is arguably introducing too many Rogue Members too early (next week sees the debut of Harvey Dent), like Zsasz from the previous episode, Sionis worked pretty well as a guest antagonist and given that he survived his altercation with Gordon, I wouldn’t be surprised if we encountered him again in the near future.

Speaking of Gordon, another strength of this episode was the fact that the fallout from the previous one was dealt with head on. Gordon was rightfully pissed at the cops who abandoned him last week while Essen felt remorseful and Bullock delivered a rousing speech that seemingly managed to cool the tension at GCPD for now.

Unfortunately while that side of things was dealt with nicely, Barbara spent most of the episode being a jittering wreck before leaving Gordon again. That’s twice in eight episodes. Perhaps Barbara should just stay away until the writers can figure out what to actually do with her. I don’t want to dislike the character but she’s emerging as the weakest one so far with even Essen getting better material (at least in this episode) than Barbara. Fix it writers.

As for the gang related stuff this week, no appearances from Falcone or Maroni but both Oswald and Fish were kept busy. Oswald quickly delighted in kidnapping and torturing his replacement Timothy to get information on his former boss while Fish went to interesting lengths to make sure that Liza continued to play maid/mother/lover for Falcone. I did like Oswald and Fish’s brief interaction but the latter is in need of more back story, given that she told a pack of lies to Liza about her past.

Also in “The Mask”

Selina got caught shoplifting and was promptly reunited with Gordon towards the end of the episode.

Fish (to Oswald): “When I order some fool killed, I expect him to stay that way.”

Oswald’s mother reappeared again, this time talking about getting revenge on a former rival and taunting a rat that she caught. I love how delightfully bonkers she is.

Alfred: “Don’t you want to live like a normal kid?”
Bruce: “I’m not sure. Define ‘normal’ and make a good case for it.”
Alfred: “You’re going to bloody school. Now start walking.”

Barbara (to Gordon): “I said I wanted half of your life and I got it. Leave the gun.”

I’m not sure Alfred allowing Bruce to beat up Tommy (future Hush guy?) was totally wise, even if the irritating child kind of had it coming.

Liza (re Falcone): “I don’t know if I’m his maid, mother or lover.”
Fish: “Or all three. He cares about you.”

Essen (re the Waynes): “Why were they so important?”
Gordon: “It’s what they represented. Different Gotham. Decent, hopeful. Whatever it was, it’s gone now.”

Nygma got a lot more screen time in this episode with the Sionis case and who was that elderly woman singing at Fish’s club? Her mother perhaps?

Selina (to the police): “A girl’s gotta shop.”

Sionis (to Gordon): “Seems like I’ll have to give myself a million dollars.”

No Renee or Crispus in this episode, though they seem to have a bigger role in the next one if the previews are anything to go by.

Liza: “You are rich, people are afraid of you. Isn’t that enough?”
Fish: “No, it’s not.”

Chronology: Not long since the events of “Penguin’s Umbrella”.

A better than expected sort of episode. I had no expectations for “The Mask” and while we’ve had better episode (the previous episode being an obvious one), this was still more interesting than expected, even if the Barbara scenes are dragging the show down a bit.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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