Gotham Season 2 Episode 1 Review: ”Damned If You Do…”

Gotham

After what was a bumpy first season for FOX’s Batman prequel series, Gotham kicked off its second season with a premiere that felt like a proper soft reboot for the show. The series began its transition into a more serialized format as opposed to last year’s procedural style, which was one of the major weaknesses of Season 1.

Gotham‘s Season 2 premiere did a good job of touching on pretty much all the major threads that were left open in May’s finale, from Gordon’s newly begun downward spiral to Bruce and Alfred discovering where the secret passage in Thomas Wayne’s office leads to. From a Batman enthusiast’s perspective, it’s definitely odd in many ways to see James Gordon not only murders a criminal but also do so while committing a crime himself. Oddly enough, though, it works well on Gotham.

Gordon is often seen as one of the few lights of Gotham City in the comics and the films, but he has never really had this type of focus before, where it’s explained how he managed to maintain his strength and will in all the years of living in this dark city. Gotham is essentially (especially this year) going to be exploring and explaining why Gordon, at the end of this series (whenever that may be), will want to stay in Gotham City and not give up hope entirely before a certain Dark Knight comes to life. With that, we will most likely be seeing that Gordon will have several skeletons in his closet, in order to make it to where we know he is heading, as the future commissioner of GCPD.

A character that shockingly managed to come off as enjoyable and likable in the premiere was Barbara, who was a major negative aspect of Gotham’s first season. While it may be too early to say whether or not that her new direction will work, the fact that the writers are embracing Barbara’s insanity and not holding it back is something that I can get behind as she was, once again, shockingly entertaining in the premiere. The one thing that would screw this thing up is if the writers ever attempt to give Barbara a redemption arc and bring her back to the good side. Barbara can, if done well, work 100 times better as an antagonist as opposed to a love interest for Gordon or an ally in general. It’s also very clear that Erin Richards is having a blast with playing this version of the character, and she does a very good job with it.

Gotham also established two of this season’s big bads during the premiere: the Galavan siblings, Theo and Tabitha, who are essentially giving us a Gotham version of the Legion of Doom from the DC Universe. While we don’t get too much from Tabitha in this episode, Theo did made a great first impression; however, it will be interesting to see who Theo actually ends up being, as one of Gotham‘s executive producers has revealed that he is a very famous DC Comics villain. Let the speculations begin in the comments below!

Overall, “Damned If You Do…” was a solid premiere that showed great potential for Gotham‘s new season. While it wasn’t a huge problem per say, it wouldn’t have hurt if they hadn’t fixed the Commissioner Loeb problem in the premiere. As easy as he is to hate, he is a great personal antagonist to Gordon, but who knows? He may show up again. The situation with the future Batcave is something I have mixed feelings about: the drama between Alfred and Bruce was a bit predictable and even the solution to just blowing up the locked door had a premature feeling to it. However, the scene where Bruce reads the letter from his father, encouraging him to choose his path wisely, made it hard to not like that aspect of the episode. Also, for hardcore DC Comics out there: did anyone else get Flashpoint vibes when seeing Bruce reading the last words of his father? Here’s hoping that this strong opener for Gotham will lead to a more focused and improved second season.

Gotham airs Monday nights, 8/7c on FOX.

[Photo credit: Nicole Rivelli/FOX]

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