Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My Review of Gotham's 1x16: "The Blind Fortune Teller"

Written by Bruno Heller
Directed by Jeffrey Hunt

Gordon: “Why did you kill your mother, Jerome?”
Jerome: “Oh, you know how mothers are? She just kept pushing.”

First of all, let’s get one thing cleared up. Despite the trailers for this episode, we were not introduced to a younger version of the Joker. Instead we were introduced (for the second time since the show began) of the possibility of a younger Joker. Only this time, Jerome was far more overtly shown as a possibility than the comedian from the opening episode.

Personally, I could get down with this possible version that we met here. Cameron Monaghan might be a bit young for the role but boy, did he certainly exude all the creepiness that you would expect any future version of the Clown Prince to have in spades. That chilling laugh as Jerome confessed to killing his promiscuous snake charming mother certainly sold me onto him. Even the unflappable Leslie seemed visibly creeped out by the guy.

I know a lot of people (and I even include myself in this too) weren’t exactly jumping up and down over the idea of another Joker teaser but given that this was the second time in the space of sixteen episodes and the first where it was actually a plot point, I do think that Gotham is showing a remarkable level of restraint. It’s got to be so tempting to add that character in the show in some capacity but realistically they know it’s probably better to tease his existence every now and then and not go beyond that just yet.

The episode itself not gave us that second Joker possibility but it also introduced Haly’s Circus into the mix and gave us both John Grayson and Mary Lloyd, both of whom came from warring families (and relatives sleeping with dead Lila). I liked the snarky back and forth between John and Mary, especially at the bemusement of other characters witnessing and the hints of a little Robin in the future were done subtle enough not to bug even the most easily irate of viewers as well.

Of course because of Lila’s death and the eventual reveal of Jerome and the title character’s involvement (Cicero, who also turned out to be Jerome’s father), this episode explored an interesting dynamic with Gordon and Leslie. She rightly called him out on his hypocrisy and he was quick to also point out her own impulsiveness as well. Either way, the two of them continue to have excellent chemistry with each other and just click in a way that Gordon never did with Barbara.

Speaking of Barbara, she finally re-emerged this week, looking worse for wear and being the weak point in an otherwise excellent episode. While I didn’t give a crap that she seemed miffed at spotting Gordon and Thompkins playing tonsil hockey at work, I was a little amused that instead of kicking Selina and Ivy out of her pad, instead she took dating and fashion tips from them. Bloody hell, sort yourself out, Barbara and fast, okay?

As for the rest of the episode – I really love that even when it looks like she’s beaten down; Fish knows how to rise again to power. She gave a moving and realistic speech that got her fellow prisoners to rally behind her and her pluckiness even paid off. As for who the manager is, well I think that one has been spoiled by the trailer for next week, hasn’t it?

Last but not least – Bruce too proved his mettle by going up against the condescending board members at Wayne Enterprises and it was a pretty glorious character moment for him as well. Perhaps Oswald who can’t seem to get his club to be a success should ask him for some advice. Now I love kooky Mrs Kapelput as much as the next viewer but Oswald, she’s bad for business and glassing clientele is also bad for business. At least Victor Zsasz and a seemingly brainwashed Butch might be able to help Oswald turn his luck around.

Also in “The Blind Fortune Teller”

According to some spoilers online, this was originally intended as a season finale. It’s a strong episode but maybe not a finale one though.

Mary: “The Graysons are a bunch of arrogant buttheads, that’s the problem.”
John: “The Lloyds are feckless drunkards is more like it.”
Leslie: “So, it’s a family feud?”

I’ve been saying this a lot but I really want this show to defy/ignore canon altogether and have Leslie as Gordon’s endgame lover. She’s way too much for this show to lose. Even Nygma seemed impressed by her in his brief appearance this week.

Fish (to her fellow prisoners): “We have one simple choice. We die here alone on our knees or we stand up and fight with our family.”

Gordon: “How do you feel about your mother’s love life?”
Jerome: “I feel fine about it. If not for my mother’s love life, I wouldn’t be here, would I? Sex is a healthy human activity.”

I loved Bullock’s reaction to the circus folk at GCPD but Essen’s reaction to Gordon using Lila’s snake as a tracker was utterly hilarious.

Leslie: “There are plenty of things in this world that cannot be explained by rational science.”
Gordon: “Yeah, people who enjoy folk dancing for instance. Ghosts don’t exist.”

Jerome: “Did you find out who killed my mother?”
Gordon: “You killed your mother, Jerome.”

Standout music: Between Gertrud’s singing and Oswald’s piano skills, it was a little more memorable than usual.

Gordon: “You’re an unusual woman.”
Leslie: “You just don’t know that many women.”

Bruce (to board members): “My youth is not relevant.”

Chronology: Somewhere after the events of “The Scarecrow”.

This episode was a genuine blast. “The Blind Fortune Teller” might get the accusations of being a desperate ratings grabber of an episode but aside from the fact that we were given no definite answer on Jerome’s future identity, the episode alone was just brilliant from start to finish. However it has come to my attention that it’s literally been yonks since we’ve seen Montoya, Allen or Dent so perhaps some of those characters should return fairly sharpish as well as Gordon getting back to trying to solve the Wayne murders. Other than that though, this was undoubtedly a season highlight.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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