[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Director: Ben McKenzie
Writer: Robert Hull
Stars: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue & David Mazouz
Gordon investigates the Court of Owls while Penguin and Ivy form an alliance and Bruce is forced to face his past by a mysterious figure.
Ben McKenzie directs the episode very well. Gotham always has great directors who work with the production designers and cinematographers to make the show look amazing; McKenzie fits right in. The episode is gorgeous with several standout shots. McKenzie even gets a fun episode to direct with some surreal imagery that he handles well.
Ivy and Penguin are a blast together. Maggie Geha is a lot of fun to watch on screen and makes this strange character completely work. Additionally, she works well with Robin Lord Taylor. The best moments of the episode come from these two together. I love where their plot ends and where it is going. That’s an exciting cliffhanger for the next episode.
The episode actually manages to adapt a section of Scott Snyder’s The Court of Owls. The maze is featured although it is not a literal maze. I like making it figurative. It was fun to see an element of the comic story injected into the show. I also love the show’s perception of Batman which this episode states. Most takes on Batman see him as a weapon of fear; he takes the enemies’ weapon and turns it against them. This take suggests that Batman should a weapon against fear; they thankfully never say this over-used word but it’s about hope. Bruce needs to let go of his past in order to effectively be Batman. That is a lot more optimistic than typical Batman stories and unexpected for this show.
Erin Richards is so much fun. While I can’t wait for Penguin and Ivy’s plan, I really want Babs to stay as Queen for a little while. I think she gets crazier every episode and it’s a cool idea for a status quo. Gordon having to work with her the way the GCPD used to work with Fish is interesting.
The Court of Owls is so boring. In the comics, they were an intimidating presence and felt huge. In this show, they’re just ten old people standing around a table in stupid masks. There’s nothing to them. They’ve decided to destroy Gotham because it needs to be cleansed of its chaotic nature; this story needs to die. I have seen it so many times since Batman Begins and it is tiresome and generic. Arrow has used this plot in most if not every season. The Court feels stale and they should be terrifying.
This is a solid episode. McKenzie’s directing is great and the episode is wonderful to look at. Penguin and Ivy’s plot is so much fun and I loved every second of it. The show introduces an interesting take on Batman as a symbolic figure and one that I like. The stuff with the Court is pretty dull which is unfortunate but the episode is still engaging for the most part.