[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Director: Kenneth Fink
Writer: Ben McKenzie
Stars: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue & David Mazouz
Ra’s al-Ghul hunts for his knife while Sofia earns Penguin’s trust and Nygma attempts to confront Penguin.
Visually, this is another stunning episode. There are two pretty big sets, a library and a museum, that this episode takes place in. How these are blocked and shot is really impressive. The creative team knows how to take mundane locations such as a library and make them look like the most dynamic sets on television.
This season is moving at an impressively quick pace. We’re four episodes in and quite a lot has happened. I love how much Gordon finds out about Ra’s this episode and even gets a couple of scenes with him. I audibly gasped when Ra’s walked into the GCPD and announced his name. Maybe I’m used to the CW shows in which the heroes are clueless until the last five or six episodes. I also like that Gordon is already somewhat at odds with Bruce. Gordon knows Bruce is lying and doing things he shouldn’t be doing and that frustrates him. Gordon sees Bruce and Alfred as friends but they don’t trust him enough, which creates a nice conflict.
Crystal Reed is great. She spends most of her scenes essentially manipulating Penguin and it’s done well thanks to her performance. She doesn’t trick Penguin because he’s an idiot; Penguin is acting intelligently. She’s just smarter and more convincing and it’s all done through Reed’s acting.
The episode puts Nygma in a really interesting place by the end. He’s a man without an identity. Nygma defined himself by his intelligence and his riddles. Without those, he doesn’t know who he is. It will be interesting to see what happens with him. And his riddle raps are hysterical.
Ra’s uses two henchmen that I don’t think the League would use. Granted, maybe the show is reinventing the League, and they do totally fit the bizarre tone of this show. But I figured Ra’s would use covert ninjas to retrieve the knife. What he uses instead is a human that acts like a dog and that dog’s leather clad owner who is huge and loud. They’re not exactly stealthy. It’s just a weird choice for the sake of being weird.
This is a great episode. Ben McKenzie has a good grasp on everyone’s character and voice. Every character is acting intelligently except for Nygma, but that’s the point. It’s shot well and there’s some fun action. I love how plot driven it is without losing sight of the characters; they’re pushing the plot forward. It’s a solid script from McKenzie combined with great direction and cinematography. I hope the season can keep up this momentum.