[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Director: Nathan Hope
Writers: Steven Lilien & Bryan Wynbrandt
Stars: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue & David Mazouz
The Mad Hatter swears vengeance upon Gordon while the Penguin deals with his developing feelings for Nygma.
Benedict Samuel is wonderful as the Mad Hatter. He’s not as scary as he was last time; it has more to do with the character’s actions as opposed to the performance. Samuel is still an insane amount of fun to watch but what he is doing is not as creepy.
The interactions between Gordon and the Mad Hatter are fantastic throughout the episode. There’s a lot of great comedic moments such as Gordon repeatedly hanging up the phone on Mad Hatter. That was so funny. And there’s a great moment where Gordon directly confronts Mad Hatter about what really happened with Alice. It’s a solid scene. Ben McKenzie and Samuel play off each other really well.
I still really like Jamie Chung as Valerie Vale. She’s a fun presence that I like having around. She doesn’t get to do much other than be captured but she has some solid and funny moments both with Gordon and Lee.
First off, let me be clear and say that I have no problem with Penguin being gay. And I have no problem with him falling for Nygma. Penguin, in this show, has a tendency to get over attached to anyone that shows him the slightest bit of kindness. He thought Gordon was his best friend simply because Gordon didn’t shoot him. It makes perfect sense that he would develop these incredibly strong feelings for Nygma. I just don’t like the way it’s being played. In every scene, it just feels like the writers are leading us to an over dramatic break up between the two and it’s never fun. Every scene with Penguin was just awkward because we know how it’s going to end. Nygma is straight and will reject him. And it will be awkward and not fun to watch.
The main plot is a little too conventional. The idea of choosing between two people’s lives has been done constantly especially in superhero material. The first two traps are a little creative and the second one is an amazing image. But, the main trap, with Lee and Valerie, is so boring. McKenzie and Samuel are fun and engaging but Chung and Monica Baccarin barely get to say anything. And there are a million ways Gordon could have handled this better. I get that’s the point; Gordon was cocky and thought he could save them on his own but Gordon is not that dumb. He should have at least brought Bullock. And there are moments in the scene where he could have gotten the upper hand but doesn’t because plot.
Overall, this is the weakest episode of the season so far. The performances are still really good and there are fun scenes. But, overall, the episode is fairly conventional and full of cliches from superhero television. Gotham is usually a lot more interesting than this. It’s not terrible but I am fairly disappointed.