Tuesday, September 20, 2016

My Review of Gotham's 3x01: "Better To Reign In Hell"

Written by John Stephens
Directed by Danny Cannon

Nygma (to Oswald): "Details can be distracting. Sometimes a simple solution is best, so no matter what she's planning, just remember, penguins eat fish."

Ah, yes, that piece of information that every viewer of this show deduced back in 2014 when the series debuted and we were glimpsing the dynamic between Oswald Cobblepot and Fish Mooney. Of course, it was nice of Edward to reiterate the point during his brief encounter with his pal whilst still being stuck in Arkham.

Speaking of Oswald, my love for the character knows no bounds and this episode sure as hell maintained. Whether it was just him being an actual friend to Nygma (fanservice or not, their dynamic is fantastic), reminding Tabitha repeatedly that Butch's affections for her are keeping her alive, quibbling with Barbara over club ownership or even highlighting the GCPD's spectacular incompetence, he had a lot of moments worth getting into with this episode.

Of course, it was his obsession with figuring out Fish's next plan and trying to take her out that was his main priority in this episode. His machinations with that one put both Gordon and new reporter gal, Valerie Vale (Jamie Chung getting more screen time here than she has in Once Upon A Time) in each other's orbits but truthfully, Oswald might be the least of Fish's problems right now.

It seems that her newly acquired powers come with a price and the one she's paying is imminent death. I like that there's an obvious consequence to Hugo Strange's meddling with science for Fish and her band of mutants but at the same time, it might a bit of a cop out if she does eventually peg it though. We at least need another confrontation between her and Oswald before that probably happens too.

However with Fish being a problem for enough characters this episode, we had the pairing of Gordon and Valerie and it's an okay enough pairing. Valerie has a decent charm to her as a character but Gordon is as crap a bounty hunter as he was a cop with most of his plans going spectacularly awry yet again. His antics in this episode resulted in Peabody getting kidnapped by Fish's men before being aged to death by Marv for good measure. A fate that also kind of befell Ivy who unwisely incurred Fish's wrath towards the end of this episode but she's not gone from the game just yet.

As for the rest of the episode - Barbara and Tabitha with their own nightclub has potential. I still don't really care for them as a couple (from an LGBT perspective, other DC shows have done so much better) but I did like them mostly standing on their own ground with the mob squad trying to muscle in on them though.

Then there's Bruce. First of all, his doppelganger was skulking about the place, spying on him but not really aware of his existence (though he managed to freak out Ivy). I'm guessing he won't be too long for the series either if all the other experiments are on the way out too. However, the real Bruce managed to get himself kidnapped by the Court of Owls after his little outburst at Wayne Enterprises. Someone really needs to do something about the security at Wayne Manor right about now.

- Barnes is back as Captain and Lucius has joined the GCPD. Gordon initially tried to get back with Leslie but balked when he realised she had moved on with Mario Falcone.
- Valerie Vale is the aunt of Vicki Vale (who I assume we'll meet later in the season).
- Selina really does know how to flit from groups of characters to other groups of characters and do it so effortlessly. Babs and Tabs nightclub is called Sirens by the way.
- It's been six months since the events of Transference. This season's subtitle for now is Mad City.

A solid and engaging premiere episode. Better To Reign In Hell certainly felt more like a set up piece and while it arguably had too much going on in some parts, it was nonetheless as enjoyable and as bonkers as we've become accustomed to with this series.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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