Tuesday, March 15, 2016
My Review of Gotham's 2x14: "This Ball Of Mud And Meanness"
Written by Jordan Harper
Directed by John Behring
Jeri (to Gordon): "You are a lot less fun than advertised."
This episode on the other hand was a lot better than advertised. I'd even go far as to say that it might be the best episode of Gotham's second season so far and we still have another eight episodes to go. Why was it so good? Let's count the ways, shall we?
First of all, I never had any doubt that for all his determination that Bruce wasn't going to go through with killing Matches Malone. Just like last week we had Selina, Alfred, Gordon and even Jeri (more on her in a bit) challenge Bruce's supposed killer instinct but none of the above could stop him from facing off Matches. Jeri herself even lead Bruce directly to Matches's run down little apartment and there's where the best scene happened in this episode.
Bruce got to Matches's place with the intention of murdering but not before Matches gave him a rundown on the ways he's killed people, the rates he has for killing men, women and children (not babies though, even Matches has limits) and when confronted about killing Thomas and Martha Wayne, Matches lets Bruce do most of the talking before adding his own bit into things.
The way the episode played out it seems more that Matches might have known who killed the Waynes rather than having done it himself. He did however challenge Bruce's killer instinct and while it was predictable that Bruce couldn't kill Matches, it didn't stop the latter from ending his own life. As for Gordon, he seemed curious about who hired Matches to bump off Thomas and Martha compared to Bullock being less than interested in things.
The end of this episode though did genuinely surprise me. Having Bruce leave home to live with Selina in the streets as part of his future Bat training was a nice twist. The episode might have really hammered home Bruce's future but I don't care. The whole plot really came alive and even with the limitations of what they can realistically do with Bruce's training at this stage, this is still an interesting turn of events.
As for Gordon - did anyone else like how both Jeri and Nygma seemed to have his number this week? Jeri is this half of the season's hint of a possible Joker in waiting and Lori Petty is brilliant during her scene with both Bruce and Gordon, especially when she called the latter out on being less fun than advertised. She also survived the episode so hopefully another appearance isn't too far off because like Jerome, she was a lot of fun to watch here.
As for Nygma - paranoia really does bring out his twisted side, doesn't it? With both Leslie and Gordon realising that something isn't right with Kringle's absence, Ed spent most of this episode not so quietly seething about Gordon closing in on him. I like that they're delving into the Riddler side of things with Nygma but it also reminds me of the fact that I hated them making him into a serial killer as well.
Last but not least - anyone else find it a little too convenient that Oswald became a free man after passing a few of Hugo's insane tests? I'm not complaining by the way. Three episodes of Oswald in Arkham is more than enough and Hugo did hint at a long game he had for Oswald, something which even Peabody seemed sceptical about as well. Now Oswald has to do is take Butch and Tabitha down and reclaim Gotham for himself.
Also in "This Ball Of Mud And Meanness"
Given the title of this episode, did anyone else think this might have been a Clayface origin story? Just me then.
Bruce: "That's too much."
Cupcake: "The boy's cheap."
I found Mr Cupcake an amusing side character and was it me or did Jeri's look seem like a mash up of both the Joker and Harley Quinn? Jeri also had the Maniax playing in the background during her performance too.
Oswald: "I want to be normal. I want to be good. You must think I'm lying to you."
Hugo: "No. I can tell when somebody's lying to me."
Nygma: "So that's the game is it, Jimbo? Trying to outsmart me? Play me for a fool? I don't think so!"
Along with Nygma really signalling his move into Riddler territory, there was also a Crane reference from Hugo Strange during Oswald's 'therapy' scenes.
Jeri: "Hi Bruce. What took you so long?"
Matches: "You're kind of young to be putting out a contract."
Bruce: "I'm old enough."
Speaking of the Maniax, we saw one of them again, didn't we? The guy who didn't like Oswald having ice cream.
Jeri: "Everybody knows about your temper."
Gordon: "This isn't about me. There's a kid out there in danger."
Bruce: "Who hired you?"
Matches: "Maybe nobody did. Maybe I just saw some rich suckers."
No Barbara, Butch, Barnes or Tabitha in this episode. We did briefly see Mama Kapelput at the start of the episode though.
Oswald: "I'm sane?"
Hugo: "You're as sane and normal as any other citizen."
Chronology: Two years since the "Pilot" episode according to Bruce during his confrontation with Matches.
I absolutely loved this episode. This Ball Of Mud And Meanness really felt like a true turning point moment for Bruce and it showed just how great David Mazouz can be in the role when given the right material to work with. Jeri might not be a future Joker but like Jerome before her, she's a character I really want to see once again though.
Rating: 9 out of 10