Friday, September 22, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 4x01: "Pax Penguina"

Written by John Stephens
Directed by Danny Cannon

Jonathan (to Grady): "Jonathan Crane isn't here anymore. It's just the Scarecrow."

Even since the trailer was released for this season at Comic Con, I've been getting the sense that Gotham could be heading towards an end date in sight. I don't mean that to alarm people but this episode alone and following the events of the previous season finale has certainly pushed things further along than expected.

Apparently the first half of this season will be lifting stuff from The Long Halloween along with the second half delving into Year One territory and if this one is anything to go by, we've got a lot of crazier madness to be sifting through for the series fourth season. Alone several plots were nicely set up or hinted towards.

First of all, there's Bruce himself. The guy has just become a proto Batman with Alfred advising caution and Bruce not entirely taking on board what his butler is telling him. For the most part, Bruce does seem to be decent enough at it but his confrontation with Oswald over one incident at the newly renamed Iceberg Lounge and a moment towards the end does show that Bruce has a bit of a way to go before he can truly excel in his future role.

Of course, I do like that Bruce is showing his initiative and his cordial challenging of Oswald's "licenced crimes" route was far better than Gordon's hamfisted attempts of manipulating both Oswald and Merton (played by Michael Buschemi), which only ended up with Oswald actually getting infected by the Crane fear virus, leading to the bigger part of the story.

All summer long we've heard about the Scarecrow finally coming to the city and this episode certainly set things up nicely as poor Jonathan (Charlie Tahan) was terrorised into helping Merton's gang by the corrupt warden at Arkham. I actually loved that Jonathan then embodied the very thing he feared and got some revenge on Grady at the very least. I can't wait to see what terror he's going to bring in next week's episode.

As for the rest of the episode, there were some noticeable absences but things did move along nicely enough. I did like that Tabitha and Selina decided to join Oswald's act while at the same time, Ivy's sudden turn against Oswald seemed a little off too. As for Gordon, he was consistently reckless but he had some nice moments with both Bullock and Bruce, so I'll let that slide for this review at least. The Bruce and Selina interactions were also pretty well handled, even though there's still a little distance between the two of them as well.

- The subtitle for the first half of this season is now A Dark Knight.
- Absences this week included Barbara, Leslie, Butch and Lucius while Ras had a brief cameo and Ivy is now a recurring instead of a regular character this season. I did find the Nygma lie Oswald was peddling rather amusing too.
- The show now has a new mayor and commissioner along with Arkham having a new person in charge.
- Chronology: Three months since the events of Heavydirtysoul.

Pax Penguina was the start of a lot of things for the show's narrative - Bruce/Selina's respective destinies, Oswald's way for dealing with crime along with the birth of the Scarecrow and all of them have gotten off in interesting ways so far. Along with some nice music, sassy one liners from Victor Zsasz and the beautiful cinematography, I'm really glad the show is back again.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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