I got my wish on Gotham, but it’s only sort of what I wanted

I got caught up on Gotham last month, but kept sitting on this post because other things seemed more timely. But Gotham’s hiatus ends tomorrow, so no more dilly-dallying.

The first thing I want to talk about is Jerome. You might remember that last season I was so disappointed that Gotham’s young Joker In Everything But Name was killed off three episodes in that I didn’t even watch the rest of the season until it was on Netflix (and what a season it turned out to be!). I guess I should have figured with the resurrection of Fish Mooney and Theo Galavan that Jerome wouldn’t be too far off. And yet, I never really went there until falling into what for me was a spoiler and for everyone else was “hey, that happened!”

In fact, even knowing what was coming, there was a brief, brief moment where I thought the guy who tried to bring Jerome back to life before initially failing and stealing his face to make a Jerome mask would rise up and cast off the bit of wimpy demeanor that hid behind his admittedly good laugh.

But that didn’t happen, and now Jerome’s back and…I’m not really as happy as I thought I would be. In his season two appearances, Jerome was fun. He was crazy as could be and having the time of his life with a sinister edge that you could tell was meant for more than being Galavan’s lackey. What’s more is it felt fresh. There have been a lot of Jokers over the years and Cameron Monaghan seemed to pick and choose a little from each of them and add his own youthful flair to make an old character really stand out. Now, the balance is all  off.

Now he’s just crazy Jerome who has a stapled on face and an affinity for the circus. And granted, I suppose dying, having your face cut off and then coming back to life can do a number to your head — and in fact Jerome said as much — but now he’s feeling more like a knockoff of Heath Ledger’s Joker. And if I’m being real, Ledger, while he certainly made the character his own, was not my favorite Joker.

But despite all that, Jerome’s back and on his way to Arkham, and I do hope we see him again.

Bruce Wayne

bruce s3
David Mazouz as Gotham’s Bruce Wayne

I’ve been impressed with David Mazouz’s Bruce since day one, but he’s really stepped up his game on feeling like the future Batman. I guess it was only a matter of time, given that he’s solidly into his teenage years and nearly as tall as Alfred and Jim Gordon, but still. It’s something to see, and this kid just might be my favorite live-action version of the character, if not my favorite of all.

The other villians

Butch, Barbara and Tabatha never fail to be a fun little triad of antagonists for Penguin, but in the grand scheme they haven’t really gotten a whole lot to do. Most of the season has been focused on Edward Nygma and Oswald “Penguin” Cobblepot. Nygma and Penguin are compelling in entirely different ways from Jerome. You know Jerome will terrorize Gotham with glee (at least, once he gets his groove back) just for the fun of it and let’s be real: None of us would have it any other way. Ed and Oswald, on the other hand, are two characters that I just want so badly for them to make better choices. But, if they did, they wouldn’t be villains, now would they?

ed and oswald
Edward Nygma (Corey Michael Smith) and Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) in Gotham.

Having Oswald fall in love with Edward was an interesting way to go. It’s not something I saw coming, but once the option was presented, it was something I could see. But Oswald’s jealousy of Isabella  and her subsequent death, sadly were all too expected.

And that brings us to Edward’s revenge. It didn’t take him long to solve the puzzle of Isabella’s “accident” and once Barbara put a bug in his ear about Oswald’s feelings for him, he didn’t hesitate to jump on the “You killed Isabella!” train. The whole plot is treated like the push that Ed needs to step up his villainy and become The Riddler. The problem is, where Bruce and Jerome progress in ways that make sense for some version of their future selves, nothing about Edward’s plot against Oswald felt particularly enigmatic. Sure, it was clever and deceptive and ultimately led to Oswald tanking his own mayoral administration, it just wasn’t very Riddler-y. The payoff was more of a gut punch than a dawning realization.

Still, with Oswald sinking to the bottom of the ocean and Barbara, Tabby and Butch left to run the underworld (because I really doubt Edward cares), there’s plenty of time for Ed to get back to his old self, now with even more evilitude.

GCPD and all the other drama

Honestly, I’m kind of reaching a point where there are few things that I care less about than Jim Gordon and all his drama. He loves Barbara and it’s sweet, but now she’s bad. He loves Lee and it’s sweet, but now HE’S kind of bad. He likes Valerie Vale, but it’s not sweet, she’s annoying and thank god that’s over. He still loves Lee, but then he kills her brand new husband and Lee hates him but maybe still sort of loves him, at least enough to not want him murdered for killing the man who was trying to kill her because of some hinky crazy-making virus, and UGH. I hate your drama, Jim Gordon.

But I kind of like what’s been going on at the GCPD, which can’t seem to keep a captain to save its life. I was a little disappointed to see Barnes get infected with Alice Tetch’s blood and go all executioner, because he spent so much of last season and part of this one providing the moral compass and optimism that Jim lost along the way. But his approval of Jim followed by his utter disappointment when Jim went beyond the law was great and heartbreaking, so it works.

And I’m certainly enjoying Acting Captain Bullock. Harvey’s come a long way from the dirty cop in bed with Fish Mooney. I just wish Jim could get a little of that redemption.

Also, I wish people would stop trying to one-up each other for the growliest voice. I blame Christian Bale, who took the Bat Voice to new lows in his movies and everyone else here just lines up behind him. It’s like a permanent thing for Jim now, Ed pulls it out whenever he needs to get his Isabella rage on, and this last episode even Bruce pulled out the Diet Batman Whisper I’ve come to associate with Earth 2’s Harrison Wells over on The Flash.

Appropriately, Bruce is the only one who can pull it off without sounding ridiculous.

Gotham returns at 7 p.m. Monday, April 24, on FOX.

Leisure Time is on Twitter! Follow @theLTtweet for post updates and smaller thoughts.



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