I got myself caught up with this week’s TV today, felt like it was a good way of spending my first of two days off, tomorrow being the day I’ll be picking up my comics for the week. First off, Arrow was absolutely incredible and The Flash continues to impress me week after week. Arrow has come a long way since it’s first season, with Ollie well and truly engrained in the “no killing” path, on his way to becoming a true Green Arrow. And The Flash, well, it’s fun, light hearted and probably the most “comic-booky” show I’ve seen in a long long time. I won’t go into too much detail with any of the shows because I know there are a lot of people in the UK that are being good and waiting for the shows to air on UK channels so I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone.
But this evening I want to talk really quickly about Gotham. Again. And once again, I find myself heaping a tonne of praise on it, largely thanks to Donal Logue’s portrayal of Harvey Bullock. He’s brilliant, perfect for the role and a constant source of entertainment and well timed lines in pretty rough and grim city. Sure, he’s rough around the edges himself and has found himself in deals with some pretty dodgy people, but he’s not so far gone to be beyond redemption and you can see the hopeful side to him. Ben McKenzie is a big surprise for me, I was a little sceptical of him in such a role and have thankfully been proven wrong once again, much like I was with Grant Gustin and a certain speedster.
But that’s not to say Gotham is without its problems, some of which have been vastly improved on like the pacing of the show on the whole, some of which (well one in particular anyway) have actually gotten worse. My one big problem with the pilot was how on the nose Nygma had been portrayed. We all knew he would go on to become the Riddler later in life, but they seemed so desperate for everyone to know that. The sad thing is a lot of the Batman references seem to have been played a little too soon for my liking, almost as if the writers are so desperate to remind us that this is a Batman related show. But Nygma has been handled particularly poorly in my opinion, and that stood out massively in the latest episode “Spirit of the Goat”. Before we delve into this anymore though, I’ll work my thought process of him from the beginning. You see, I figured that the problem with Nygma in Gotham might have been that he hadn’t been given much screen time so far, that maybe the writers had made him so obvious to make up for the focus being on almost everyone else so far.
Nope. Totally wrong. I’d just like to point out that, for the sake of anyone following UK airings, or anyone that hasn’t gotten up to date with this week’s episode yet, there will be a few minor spoilers from here.
“Spirit of the Goat” gives us a little more Nygma, seeing him at the crime scene at the beginning of the episode and in various parts of the GCPD throughout the rest of the episode. We also get to see the focus of his affections within the force, the young lady named Christin Cringle (probably spelled her first name wrong, don’t really care at this point as she is almost as annoying as Nygma) who works in the case filing room. She doesn’t respond too well to a lot of his advances and offers of help, and at one point complains about all his riddles. A fair complaint as we hear him attempt to tell Bullock a riddle AT LEAST 3 times, but there is zero chemistry between these actors. It was a little painful to watch.
Then there was the mug. The bloody, god damn mug. You know what guys, we get it! We f*cking get it! Please, please stop ramming it down our throats. The approach they’ve taken with Cobblepot is almost perfect so far, becoming more and more conniving as the episodes roll by. I haven’t been overly keen on the use of the name “Penguin” already but Robin Lord Taylor has been phenomenal in the role, so I can allow it.
Gotham is doing so many things right, Falcone and Maroni have both been portrayed fantastically. The tone is perfect for this kind of show, the look of the city is full on Gotham. Little Bruce Wayne and Alfred, oh man they have both been so damn good. In fact, I’d say 95% of the cast have been bang on, but Nygma ruins almost every scene he’s in for me and I’m really concerned that he’s going to drag the series down. This isn’t an outright statement about Corey Michael Smith, granted I’ve not seen him in anything else so this isn’t really a very good first impression, but I just don’t think the writers know how to put him in the show without screaming from the rooftops underneath a bright neon sign that he’s the Riddler. A green freaking neon sign. With god damn question marks all over it.