HomeTelevisionTV Recap: Gotham, 'The Balloonman'

TV Recap: Gotham, ‘The Balloonman’


Plot: When a vigilante known as The Balloonman starts taking out corrupt public targets in Gotham, Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bullock (Donal Logue) are at odds over the case. Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) returns to Gotham to find new work and opportunity, and Fish (Jada Pinkett Smith) continues her subtle power play against Carmine Falcone (John Doman).

Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX

“The Balloonman” was a nice rebound from last week’s so/so effort. What really made me happy though was how much the show seems to be rounding into form, and it’s only the third episode. One of the legitimate criticisms so far has been the on the nose dialogue and overly cluttered characters, but this week offered a tight, sharply written story that flowed nicely from beginning to end. What it also did was continue to build on these great characters.

Gordon and Bullock’s relationship continues to be the heart of the show, as it should. While the Balloonman was another cheap “villain of the week” trick, I liked how he was primarily used to further develop the volatile opinions between Gordon and Bullock. Despite their differences though, the Balloonman also brought them closer as partners. That right there is the perfect foundation of a great episodic character dynamic. Bullock in particular had some real good lines. The Balloonman was also way more toned down and less campy than last week’s child abductors “aw-shucks” fiasco.

Robin Lord Taylor continues to be a perfect iteration of Oswald Cobblepot. While this episode further hammers home how corrupt Gotham is, you have a guy like Oswald who just revels in it. He’s a vicious and nasty character, and his progression so far is pitch perfect. Fish Mooney also continues to shine as a primary antagonist, and you can tell Jada Pinkett Smith loves playing this character. While only in a couple scenes this week, Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) still gets in a really clever bit that is born from what you think is only a throw away line.

Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX

This episode also made improvements on one character in particular, Barbara Kean (Erin Richards). Her and Gordon have a really nice exchange at the end of the episode, and I finally started to buy into their relationship. One character that isn’t improving though is Montoya (Victoria Cartagena). The romantic past between her and Kean isn’t working, but even worse is this whole “I’m obsessed with bringing down Gordon” angle. Every time Montoya and her partner (Andrew Stewart-Jones) pop up, I just don’t care. Speaking of her partner, talk about an actor who doesn’t want to be there. This guy is flatter than a Monopoly board. Oh man, just kill this guy off already.

“The Balloonman” was a solid episode all around, but what I loved about it even more was the potential it continued to build on for future episodes. I do want to see them move away from the “villain of the week” crap, and focus more on antagonists like Fish, Carmine Falcone, and the other mobsters that have been mentioned. By the look of next week’s episode, that looks to be the case. Speaking of which, this episode had a great last hook, leaving you salivating for next Monday, as any good show would do.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (Very Good)


Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.


Daniel Cohen
Daniel Cohen
Daniel Cohen likes movies and bagels, and that’s pretty much it. Aside from writing Box Office predictions, Daniel hosts the monthly Batman by the Numbers Podcast on the Breakcast feed. Speaking of Batman, If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.


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