The Blind Fortune Teller Plot Summary:
Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Leslie (Morena Baccarin) investigate a murder at the circus, putting themselves in the middle of a long standing feud between two circus families. Meanwhile, Fish (Jada Pinkett Smith) leads a prison revolt, and Bruce (David Mazouz) holds a meeting at Wayne Enterprises to call out the board’s supposed illegal activities.
I give this week’s Gotham, ‘The Blind Fortune Teller,’ a lot of credit in reaching for a moody, ponderous episode. While “The Blind Fortune Teller” was very cinematic in how it was shot and presented, it moved a bit too slow for episodic television. Despite the awkward pacing, I still enjoyed many of the subtle character moments. We’ll get to it all, but we have to start with the stand out scene, featuring a character who may, or may not be a pretty damn big Batman villain.
I’m not spoiling anything. This episode has been hyped to high heavens as the possible introduction of who is to be this world’s Joker. I say “possible,” because the writers have been very clear in introducing multiple characters who may turn out to be the clown prince of crime. This is one of them. Cameron Monaghan plays Jerome, the son of a circus snake tamer. Whenever you play The Joker it automatically brings a lot of pressure. Long story short – he nailed it. There’s certainly going to be a debate, as I’m sure many will claim he over did it. When you’re playing the Joker though, you have to go for it, and Monaghan did exactly that. He got so many of the voice pitches and ticks that we would associate The Joker with down. It was an intense scene, and I can’t wait to see what else the writers do with the mythology of this character.
Speaking of the circus, we got our introduction to John Grayson (Robert Gorrie) and Mary Lloyd (Abbi Snee), otherwise known as the future parents to Dick Grayson (Robin). They were very likable and funny, not much else to say. I’m not sure how much we’ll really see of them throughout the series though. Gordon’s plotline was also tied to the circus, but this episode was really about the continued relationship between him and Leslie. They had some good banter and gender debates, and continue to be a compelling couple, even though they over did it a little bit in this episode. Morena Baccarin is a little too Robert Downey Jr. at times, bringing in too much charisma, and some of their scenes could have been less lovey-dovey.
Fish continues to plan her revolt in the underground prison, which can’t end fast enough for me. Come on, get her out of there. There’s nothing compelling here whatsoever, and it’s a waste of a great character. Enough. Speaking of villains, Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) didn’t do much, but I loved the subtlety in his scenes. Him playing the piano all by himself just to show his arrogance at running the nightclub how he wants was a great character moment. He also gets a nice scene with Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) who brings back a certain henchman, introducing a very intriguing storyline.
The scenes that did not work were Bruce Wayne and Barbara Kean (Erin Richards). David Mazouz’s acting was solid as usual, but the writing left a lot to be desired. A young Bruce confronting his board about shady business dealings definitely had potential, but that sequence only added to the awkward tone of the episode.
Barbara Kean returns to her apartment to find Selina (Camren Bicondova) and Ivy (Clare Foley) eating snacks. Uh, this didn’t work. First of all, what happened to the tease they set up with her parents? They made it seem like that was going to be something, but now she’s back in Gotham? I appreciate Erin Richards adding a bit more spunk to the blandness of her character, but was she drunk or something? The performance felt off. This character is a complete mess.
This was definitely a flawed episode that didn’t progress much of anything, but it was still nice to see snap shots of these characters simply operating in their own worlds, even if they didn’t do much. That Joker scene alone was worth the price of admission.
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Good)
Gotham airs Monday nights at 8pm on FOX.
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.