Monday, September 22, 2014

REVIEW: 'Gotham' - Jim Gordon Investigates the Wayne Murders While Oswald Cobblepot Goes for a Swim in 'Pilot'

FOX's Gotham - Episode 1.01 "Pilot"

Detective Jim Gordon navigates a dangerously corrupt city teetering between good and evil, that will one day see the birth of one of the most popular super heroes of our time.

Gotham's pilot really is the story of one man - Detective Jim Gordon - realizing just how corrupt the city that he resides in and swears to protect actually is. He's a righteous man. He won't just sit down and take the easy solution to the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents. He's willing to uncover the truth no matter what road it may take him down. That leads to memorable run-ins with both Fish Mooney and Carmine Falcone. Each of them represents the current state of the mob. Two strong willing forces who each have plans on how to handle this situation while still on the same side. Jim can't stand for such corruption to roam free throughout the city. So when given the choice of whether or not to kill Oswald Cobblepot to prove his loyalty, he opts to let the villain live. That may turn around to hurt him later. But Jim is not at a point in life where he's willing to corrupt his moral compass in order to maintain the image of Gotham.

All of that is really fascinating. And yet, we also know that there is no way Jim is going to kill Oswald because he is pre-destined to become the Penguin and do battle with Batman once Bruce comes of age. That does void the climax of the episode of a lot of tension. And yet, there is enough happening in this episode to set up this world and these characters for me to overlook that - because it does fall into the mindset of how Jim is feeling in that precise moment. He is still the rookie partner trying to make sense of all of it. He makes promises to Bruce that he has no clue how to follow through on. Bruce gives him the chance to create a moment of light. But this entire hour is basically about the darkness slowly consuming every aspect of Jim Gordon's life.

Elsewhere, the show is walking a precarious line by creating conflict between the mob, the Gotham Police Department and the Major Crimes Unit. The balance of such is always changing. Montoya and Allen come across as incorruptible and yet also cold and antagonistic towards our leading detective duo - Gordon and Harvy Bullock. Then, Fish is a very capable and commanding presence. She acts before she thinks a little bit. But that energy is also poised to topple Falcone off from the top of organized crime. She keeps saying that he's growing old and weak. He does let Jim and Harvey live after all. And yet, in the one major scene in which he appears, he acts swiftly and concisely - a force that likely won't go down without a fight. A fight that is sure to effect everyone within the show. I can't wait to see what happens next. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Pilot" was written by Bruno Heller and directed by Danny Cannon.
  • The death of the Wayne's is the one bit of mythology the series get to re-imagine and I especially enjoyed that Selina Kyle was also in that alleyway when it happened. That could prove important later on.
  • Montoya and Barbara's past connection needs to go somewhere and quickly because I really don't care for it at all.
  • It seems that Jim unknowingly begins the creation of both the Penguin and Poison Ivy in this episode.
  • I love this version of Alfred Pennyworth as sort of an army man with strict ways and mannerisms. Looking forward to more of that.