Gotham, ‘Light the Wick’ Plot Summary:
Gordon (Ben McKenzie) goes deeper into the Court of the Owls in order to uncover their secret weapon, while Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) demands a meeting with them to get back at Nygma (Cory Michael Smith). Bruce (David Mazouz) continues his training with his mysterious master (Raymond J. Barry).
I’m still in recovery from the Selina Kyle cat zombie debacle, but I’ll solider on and review this week’s Gotham. To be honest, the first half was pretty whatevs. Then it got better. This episode was truly saved by a couple stand out moments, and for the first time in a few weeks, James Gordon was the MVP.
Gordon’s probe into the Court of Owls has been a nice slow burn ever since the show came back from hiatus. It came to an intense showdown here, but we took a while to get there. The biggest problem was how easy it was for Gordon to infiltrate the inner workings of the Court. Kathryn (Leslie Hendrix) is supposed to be this super secretive shadow boss of Gotham, yet after some first grade level off camera detective work, we get her place of residence?! Seriously? Gordon’s manipulation made her seem like an NFL rookie at times. How is she buying this act? You’re the head of the Court of Owls, for crying out loud! Gordon was no genius either. Wait till you’re at least a block away to call Bullock (Donal Logue), Gordon! For the love of bat signals!
Despite the initial laziness, the storytelling got a hell of a lot better. It’s been a while, but Gordon and Oswald reunited. They’ve often been one of my favorite pairings on the show. Oswald takes so much delight in using Gordon, and in turn, Gordon gets so irritated when he has to bow to his whim. It’s beautiful. Oswald was used brilliantly at the end of this episode, as Gordon’s loyalty to the Court is tested in brutal fashion after an intense stand-off. This also leads to the best line of the episode, and maybe the season, as Gordon gives Oswald exactly what he wants.
Speaking of Oswald, where he’s left at the end of this episode could not have been more perfect. Credit to Robin Lord Taylor’s multi-layered acting here. There’s no dialogue, and it was the right call. His face said it all, leaving for a very powerful moment to close out his arc.
Getting back to the “meh-ness” of the episode, let’s talk about Bruce and “Ra’s Al Ghul.” It doesn’t get more fortune cookie wisdomey cliché than this. Yeah, yeah, lose your rage, let go, blah, blah, blah. Whatever. The acting between Barry and Mazouz keeps this from being a total snore-fest, but nothing about the dialogue grabs you, and it really should. The training sequences were also pretty vanilla.
The biggest problem though was how quickly Bruce’s training progressed. Wait, that’s it? Bruce is emotionally all set? What he let’s go of is kind of a big deal. Can we get a couple commercial breaks at least? I’m still into this arc, but it doesn’t come close to the intrigue they offered a couple weeks ago.
I mentioned the Selina nonsense at the top, and while she shows up here, they didn’t dive into the ramifications of her cat bites just yet. Good. I’m not ready to deal with that now. Instead, we saw the return of a couple idle characters. Barnes (Michel Chiklis) is back, and is as crazy as ever! We also get a visit from everyone’s favorite psychologist, Dr. Strange (BD Wong). Even though Strange is being used by the Court, it was nice to see him get his mojo back as he does what he does best – play master manipulator.
Despite its missteps, the highs of this episode were very satisfying. McKenzie in particular gave a versatile performance, including a great blow out with Lee (Morena Baccarin), who’s completely unhinged. There was a lot of yelling.
The Court of Owls has officially taken over all major storylines now, which should make for one hell of a home stretch.
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Good)