So…one hundred episodes and I finally got to see Batman?
Eh, I kinda knew that going into this series.
Yes, that is basically what this last episode is. Set mostly ten years after Bruce Wayne’s departure from Gotham, he comes back, and soon there’s a bat-themed vigilante swinging around town saving lives and stopping criminals. Somehow Mayor James is mayor again, so I guess the people of Gotham don’t really learn lessons. Jeremiah Valeska is basically the Joker in all but name. Barbara is reformed and people don’t seem to mind she murdered her parents (among others) while the Penguin, now heavier and with only a single eye, is getting out of prison after a ten year sentence. The Riddler meanwhile escapes from Arkham, and there are bomb threats, a kidnapping, and Gordon apparently decides not to quit the police force. Selina is now a cat burglar. And hovering on the outskirts is Batman until the last moments of the episode and the final shot shows a full suited-up Batman.
Was all that worth it?
Gotham is a hard show to judge in many ways. How seriously should I take a show that seemed to combine the Tim Burton take on Gotham City/Batman and the Adam West campiness that was never meant to be taken seriously? A good chunk of the cast did some really blatant overacting, but it fit the overall tone of the show. I think the fact I didn’t realize that at first is a big reason why I never really got into it when it was new.
To the show’s credit, it often did make some entertaining villains. Yeah, maybe I could have done with less of the Mad Hatter and Jeremiah, but the Penguin and the Riddler were often handled well no matter how stupid the script got. I never thought I would really enjoy a live action Professor Pyg as much as I did, and for all Jeremiah was rather bland, his brother Jerome was a much more compelling character. True, there were a lot of bland villains like the Court of Owls and Ra’s al-Ghul, but there were few outright bad ones that I never enjoyed seeing at all. Ivy, recast as many times as she was, was more of a wasted opportunity where it seemed like the writers only sporadically remembered she even existed. Bane was bad, and Nyssa probably worse, but few of the villains were completely bad, and those last two were probably more due to not being given enough time to develop in a shortened final season.
Heck, I even will admit that Barbara wasn’t necessarily an awful character. She just insisted on a seat at the table when she wasn’t nearly as brilliant a criminal as she assumed she was.
But then there’s the ostensible lead character of Jim Gordon. I’ve seen how actor Ben McKenzie is often listed in press briefings as one of the stars of The O.C. The guy was the lead actor on Gotham for four and a half or five seasons depending on how you count it, and he somehow never really seemed to be much of a character beyond the hard nosed moral guy until he did something immoral and he still seemed like the same guy where nothing he did seemed to have much effect on him. I don’t know if that’s something about McKenzie or the way the character was written, but in a show full of crazy characters, especially when there were fairly talented supporting actors on the side of the angels in the form of Donal Logue and Sean Pertwee from the pilot on, he tended to get lost in the shuffle.
Then again, he also seemed to have met and married co-star Morena Baccarin while working on this show, so good for them there.
Anyway, what can I say about Gotham? Well, it was largely entertaining. If I didn’t like something going on, chances were good it would be gone in an episode or two and maybe largely forgotten even by the characters as they lived through it. It was…fun for the most part. This was not great television, but it wasn’t really terrible television either. Here’s about the point where I’d slap a grade on it, so let’s say 8 out of 10 “just wait for something you prefer to happen and it probably will” moments. And even then…I don’t know if that grade is right, but I don’t know if anything about Gotham can just be put neatly into a box of some kind.
Oh, but now I need something new on Wednesday. Wednesdays and Thursdays are when I prefer to take something with a longer run, and after one hundred episodes of Gotham, I think I need something a wee bit shorter. I actually narrowed it down to two, one that I had watched a good chunk of and never finished, and another where I hadn’t seen any of it but heard nothing but good about it.
I’m going for the latter with Killing Eve.
I mean, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to know why actress Jodie Comer gets so much critical attention.