Monday, October 05, 2015

Gotham Rising?

I watched every episode of Gotham's first season last year, but the experience grew steadily tedious. I'm not sure why I tuned in for season two, but I'm glad I did, for just two episodes in Gotham feels like a different - and much better - show.

The fine production design of the first reason remains, as does most of the first-season cast. But the writing is sharper, the acting less melodramatic and more grounded (except in the case of the lunatics driving the plot in these first episodes, but here it's wholly appropriate), the pacing improved and the characterizations generally more believable.

In these first two episodes, we witness Jim Gordon's fall to beat cop and bounce back to detective, Harvey Bullock's adjustment to civilian life, a rending and reconciliation between young Bruce Wayne and his guardian/butler Alfred Pennyworth, and perhaps most importantly, the rise of the Maniax, a group of escaped lunatics whose only agenda is chaos.

Using the mentally ill as villains is a troubling and overused trope. While the cultural politics of this storytelling choice are still difficult to justify, at least this time around it's not boring; each of the Maniax have, if not depth, then at least interesting tics...and agency, which is somewhat ironic; in Gotham, only the mad are free.

It's too early to tell if the show has really turned around, but this is certainly a very promising second time at bat. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

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