HomeTelevisionTV Recap: Gotham, 'Arkham'

TV Recap: Gotham, ‘Arkham’


Plot: A professional killer (Hakeem Kae-Kazim) is picking off councilmen who are crucial to a vote regarding what will become of Arkham Asylum. If the killer isn’t caught, it could spark a potential mob war that will spell bloodshed for Gotham.

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

The first half of this episode was on its way to another solid outing, but as the story progressed, Gotham started to become what I always knew it could be – the world of Batman. It was awesome. While the acting has been top notch since the beginning, I can’t get over how much the writing has improved. Gone is the on the nose dialogue. While there’s still a few tweaks that need to be worked out, this show has it where it counts right now, and that’s story and characters.

This episode did exactly what I asked for last week – a plot that involves the mob, with potential ramifications down the road. While they go back to the “villain of the week” format, the character was still used as a larger piece to an ongoing story. Not only that, but this villain was cool. He was dark, and his kills were gruesome. While Hakeem Kae-Kazim did a great job, the heart of the story was about the two mob factions, Falcone (John Doman) and Maroni (David Zayas). We’ve seen a good deal of Falcone already, so this time we got to know his competition better. I love how Maroni is portrayed here – intense and all business. He’s also got a great scene with Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor). Speaking of which, I can’t say enough about Taylor’s portrayal, and now he’s getting the writing that’s worthy of his performance. Oswald is playing all sides, he’s ten steps ahead of everybody, and his kills are pure evil genius. It’s beautiful to watch.

Oswald isn’t the only villain who’s shined all season though. I don’t know what the consensus is on Jada Pinkett Smith’s performance as Fish Mooney, but this has been the nicest surprise of the whole show. She has a couple of deranged scenes with two girls who try out as night club acts. The payoff at the end was pure Batman villain-esque – no doubt about it. Perfect.

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

Speaking of Batman, some of the Batman-isms do need to be dialed back. Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma just isn’t working right now. I still think there’s potential with the actor, but we need to calm down with the Riddler-isms. The Riddler is always best when he’s subtle, and with this guy not even being The Riddler yet, it should be even more so. This needs to change. They also need to put the breaks on Bruce (David Mazouz) playing detective all the time. Mazouz is doing a great job, but there’s too much Batman in him right now. The conversations between him and Gordon (Ben McKenzie) continue to be a highlight for me though. Ben McKenzie is playing a great Gordon, but he’s way too intense at times, and it always seems to be at the beginning of the episode. Seriously dude, stop yelling.

Tonight’s episode was the best yet, with a story that really kept me engaged. I also love how it tied back so heavily to the Wayne’s death, because it shows these writers have a clear plan of where they want to go. The action was also well filmed, including a great fight scene at the end. While there’s still a tinge of hammy-ness, the show is definitely getting darker. There’s no doubt Gotham is hitting its stride.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 (Really Great)

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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