Thursday, January 8, 2015

Gotham Season 1, Episode 11

Entertainment Weekly
Gotham returns for its mid-season premiere with “Rogues' Gallery.” Jim Gordon has been reassigned to be a security guard at Arkham Asylum and must investigate mysterious electroshock therapies that have been occurring. And… not much else happens. How do the nanobots respond to the latest episode?
  • Shakespeare in the Ward is probably a pretty therapeutic activity. Good for you, Arkham administrators. Way to not be stereotypical awful therapists. = +6pts 
  • We don’t remember Freddy Krueger being in The Tempest. But we’re into that creative choice. = +3pts 
  • They let the easily excitable guy attend the weird play without restraint? We spoke too soon about the competency of Arkham’s administration… = -4pts 
  • Clay Davis in charge = the whole Asylum is fucked. = +3pts 
  • Does the institution where people go for medical attention not have enough doctors on staff? Theater therapy can only do so much! = -7pts 
  • Seeing the Penguin get smacked never gets old. = +2pts 
  • Dr. Clay Davis: stereotypical awful administrator. = -5pts 
  • “For all official purposes, he’s still alive.” Someone’s been reading Catch-22. = -6pts 
  • Gordon has to be reminded that the culprit needed keys to Frogman’s cell. Maybe he got demoted because he’s a bad detective. = -5pts 
  • We want Gotham to explore the class issues that lead to a guard at a mental hospital full of dangerous patients deciding he’d rather let an inmate have a set of keys than lose a week’s pay, but we doubt it’ll happen. = -5pts 
  • For a sociopath, Gruber made a pretty convincing Prospero. = +3pts 
  • Is it therapeutic to let the dangerous patients go unrestrained or can Arkham not afford restraints? Either way, there’s a fascinating show about crumbling infrastructure just begging to come out. = -5pts 
  • The Suite Life of Selina and Ivy, coming to FOX next Fall. = +/-0pts (but call us, Hollywood) 
  • Does anything ever happen in scenes with Fish Moody, or are they nothing but posturing and veiled threats? = -7pts 
  • Jim, your paternalistic sexism is why you’re currently single. = -5pts 
  • Us: “Jim, maybe you shouldn’t tell a staff member that you suspect that a staff member is guilty.” Dr. Morena Baccarin: “Jim, maybe you shouldn’t tell a staff member that you suspect that a staff member is guilty.” Dr. Morena Baccarin is our new favorite character. = +6pts 
  • It’s a good thing we have the Selina/Ivy scenes, because Renee and Barbara can’t flunk the Bechdel test fast enough. = -8pts 
  • Barbara leaves Jim only to mope around in bed and have Renee tell her it was a mistake to get back together. There are houseplants with greater agency than Barbara. = -6pts 
  • We’re starting to worry that, with all these Dutch angles, the characters are going to start sliding off-screen. = -5pts 
  • Squeaky clean Jim Gordon’s ploy is to call in his old partner to threaten wrongful arrest. = -4pts 
  • “All right doctor, pretend I’m an ignoramous. Shouldn’t be too hard.” You didn’t even know what “altruism” is, Bullock. No pretending is necessary. = -3pts 
  • Bullock admits that he doesn’t think Dr. Clay Davis is guilty. Pretty sure that means the doctor’s free to go. = -4pts 
  • Jim continues to talk about his investigation of the staff, this time to the clearly evil nurse. = +6pts (for making his demotion seem like the right move after all) 
  • The clearly evil nurse is actually an inmate. An inmate who’s been allowed to dress like a nurse, be present in patient interrogations, and provide medications. We guess the inmates really are running the asylum. = -25pts 
  • And clearly evil nurse who’s really an inmate is defeated when she trips and is stampeded by the horde of other inmates she released from their cells. It’s just as well, though; she barely registered as a character, and her story will leave no impact. Because she’s not a future Batman character, so who the hell cares? = -20pts 
  • Gordon’s stern talking to convinces the inmates to reconsider their rampage just long enough for him and Dr. Morena Baccarin to escape. = -8pts 
  • When you’re hiding out in a stranger’s apartment, it’d be rude not to answer their phone and take down their messages. = +5pts (for Ivy’s well-mannered hideout skills) 
  • Nothing like a pubescent girl making an adult woman sexually envious. = -12pts (-9 for grossness, -3 for another failure of the Bechdel test) 
  • All the characters can’t wait for Jim’s time at Arkham to end. They and the audience share this desire. = +2pts 
  • Oh hey, another twist, followed by another twist. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s the only two patients whose interrogations we saw. = -5pts (for really boring, predictable storytelling)
Total Points = -114pts
Season Score = -128pts

For all their failings, previous episodes of Gotham had suffered chiefly from being boring. This episode explored whole new realms of terrible. From a structural standpoint, very little happened outside of Jim Gordon’s plot. Nothing ever happens in Fish Mooney’s scenes and she’s in the same place as she’s been all season: talking about her plans but never really doing much of anything. The Penguin spent the whole episode in jail after trying to take matters in his own hands because Maroni wanted to teach him never to take matters into his own hands. Selina and Ivy broke into Jim’s apartment and did nothing but set up Jim eventually catching them. That’s basically Gotham in micro, being absolutely nothing but set-up with promises of future development. Seeing how the series can’t help but throw out every imaginable reference to the fact that one day, these characters will be the ones we know from Batman stories (pre-natal Robin, anyone?), the series might as well be called Really Cool Stuff Will Happen Eventually. And all these gripes are without addressing (1) the insulting portrayal of Barbara Gordon or (2) the sheer stupidity of having no one on the staff of Arkham realize that one of their nurses isn’t actually a staff member. The nanobots need to go drink while they consider the fact that quality scripts go unproduced while lazy and insulting writing like this continues to air.

Score Technician: Andrew Daar

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