Gotham, ‘Blade Path’- The First Great Episode of Season 4

Gotham Blade Path Photo
Photo Courtesy of FOX

Blade Path Plot Summary:

With Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig) in prison, Bruce (David Mazouz) struggles whether or not to kill him after learning the secrets of the knife. A very different Butch (Drew Powell) resurfaces and runs into an old friend, while Sofia (Crystal Reed) tries to get on Oswald’s (Robin Lord Taylor) good side.

The whole mantra this season has been “A Dark Knight,” where we’ve seen a lot of Junior Batman. While I defended this in the first episode, I fall in line with many who believe it’s too soon for the Batman-isms. The whole mini vigilante act just hasn’t worked. Gotham never ceases to amaze me. By the end of this episode, the series almost answers these questions with an arc that was in fact about it being too early for Batman. While a bit on the nose, this was brilliant. It’s almost as if Bruce Wayne was called up to the Majors from Double AA, got clobbered, and was sent back down. This is one of the reasons why Gotham delivered its best episode by far with “The Blade’s Path.”

The Bruce Wayne arc was compelling once again. And just like last episode, Bruce makes a decision that completely floored me. It toys with one of the Batman questions that is usually prominent in all mediums – should he kill?

This all centers around Bruce learning the true nature of the mysterious knife. I criticized the knife plot device because the explanations were vague, but we got a very good answer to its importance in this one. Makes perfect sense. We’ve seen a few scenes now between Bruce and Ra’s al Ghul, but this was my favorite. It offered good twists and turns, and was easily Siddig’s best turn as the character. I was very “meh” on this actor last week, but he delivered one hell of a sinister monologue here. I finally bought he was Ra’s al Ghul. The Bruce/Ra’s al Ghul conflict finally had a salivating pay off.

Intertwined in the Ra’s al Ghul chase were Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Alfred (Sean Pertwee), who built off their contentious conflict from last week seamlessly. Their screaming matches all come from a place of caring for Bruce, which makes their reluctant team up that much more impactful. Aside from the two kicking ass together, we get the funniest scene of the episode when Alfred has a crap load of weapons. Alfred must be one fierce cook in the kitchen.

My only real complaint with this storyline was the last scene between Bruce and Gordon. I always love a good Gordon to Bruce pep talk, and while this was well written, it’s sort of a cop out, as Gordon sweeps something pretty big under the rug. That was kind of lazy.

Speaking of lazy, the one and only Butch Gilzean returns, but not really. We knew from the end of last season he would be revived as Solomon Grundy. That’s not surprising. The way it happens though is pretty lazy. “Eh, he gets dipped in Indian Hill gobbledygook. Whatevs.” Come on. Seriously? Whatever. They also pair this with two really campy characters that was a little season one “villain of the week” esque-level acting. They go away quickly though. They also make up for it with how Grundy gets his name. That was clever. Bottom-line: They went 1-1 with the introduction of Solomon Grundy.

Grundy was never a Batman villain I cared too much about. Powell played the role adequately. He could have easily been campy as hell, but I liked him. They pair him with Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), who’s still going through “I’m not smart anymore” issues. This seems to be working. And even though the pairing between Nygma and Grundy didn’t offer much this week, it showed a lot of promise, especially in how they were left at the end. This also included the return of a big character, which was intriguing on its own.

Aside from Bruce and Ra’s al Ghul, one of the better parts of the episode was Oswald and Sofia Falcone. While Falcone obviously has a hidden agenda, she played her part well, and seemed legitimately interested in connecting with Oswald. Oswald wants no part of it.

What worked exceptionally well though was revisiting the pain of Oswald’s mother. This was emotionally effective, and it was nice to see Taylor play a different side to Oswald we haven’t seen in a while. You actually felt sorry for him. This leads to a nice moment between Oswald and Sofia. Maybe it was accidental, but both characters genuinely shared a bond.

This is the first episode of the season I can truly call great. There were no weak points, and a lot of the Bruce/Oswald elements packed an emotional punch. They also continue to plant seeds for a Gordon/Bullock (Donal Logue) conflict that has been building all season. We only got one scene with Barbara (Erin Richards), but it was a weird one. There are already theories that she becomes the Joker, Harley Quinn, but should we now add Ra’s al Ghul to the list?

Rating: 8 out of 10 (Great)

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.