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REVIEW: Gotham 1×02 “Selina Kyle”

Several characters get some much needed development in this episode, which is nice.

Detective Gordon’s (secret) investigation into the the murder of the Waynes gets put on hold when many of Gotham’s homeless teenagers are kidnapped, in a case that also involves Selina Kyle. Meanwhile Falcone reminds his subordinate, Fish Mooney,  just who is the boss and the Penguin continues to murder anyone that makes fun of him.

One thing that the show continued to improve on is how it establishes itself as its own thing. During Falcone’s conversation with Fish he says something about how the death of the Waynes will affect him negatively because they are both from old families of Gotham. Though it could be nothing it is possible that he meant that the Waynes were involved with the mob in some way, but I don’t really believe that. Most likely he just meant that they, having built much of the city, were just as much the owners of Gotham as he is. Though, I think it is a fun idea to think about since this is a new story. Falcone, played by John Doman, was the scene stealer this episode as he calmly established his dominance as the ruling Don of Gotham. It was entertaining, but not as brutal as it should have been.

Ben McKenzie’s Gordon finally got his time in the spotlight, after he was not as present in the pilot in order to establish lots of characters. We get to finally see him in action as he solves cases by acting on his morals, while Harvey tries to convince him to let them go. Gordon is able to save the kids from the Dollmaker’s minions when Harvey’s choices would have doomed them. It is nice to see that even this early on James’ strict moral code is what ables him to prevail against the villains. This episode definitely felt like Gordon’s own, while the pilot did not.

One of the best scenes took place when Harvey and James were speaking with Captain Sarah Essen, played by Zabryna Guevara, though the scene belongs to Edward Nygma. Thankfully he didn’t make any riddles for his coworkers to decipher. Instead he told them that he discovered that the evidence from the murder scene (a homeless man was killed by the kidnappers) was a type of drug that was used at Arkham Asylum until it was shut down 15 years ago. The reason that the scene is interesting is that after he gives them this information he just stands there and waits for them to recognize his intelligence, which they do not (and he is pretty bummed about it). It seems pretty clear that this version of the character will become the riddler because he feels that nobody acknowledges him. It was a nice subtle way to hint at the future of his character.

Camren Bicondova finally gets to talk in this episode, shedding some light on her character and proving that she would be recognizable even without all the cat references. It’s revealed that she is in fact homeless and an orphan, but, as shown by her clawing out a man’s eyes and somehow always having clean clothing (unlike the rest of the homeless kids), she knows how to take care of herself. I had wondered why she did not simply go to the police and tell them who killed the Waynes in the pilot, and that received an answer (kind of). She uses her knowledge of the event as leverage to keep her out of government programs (set up by the corrupt Mayor Aubrey James, played by Richard Kind) when she speaks with Gordon, after threatening a cop by saying she would tell people that “you touched me.” It seems entirely possible that this girl would grow up to become the femme fatale Catwoman.

The worst aspects of the episode were the Dollmaker’s henchmen and the scene in which Bruce listens to some type of metal music while making creepy drawings. For a moment it seemed as if this show’s version of Bruce would become whiny, comparable to how the prequel movies made Darth Vader seem. Thankfully the later scenes made up for this. The two henchmen just didn’t do it for me; they were too cartoony and uninteresting.

I just remembered that the Dollmaker is a villain in the New 52 comics. I’ll have to go read them soon.

This episode actually shed some light on most of the characters. Gordon seems much more heroic, Bruce has started to show just how he will go down the road of becoming Batman, and Selina seems like an actual character now. I was pretty engaged and cared about the story, which is more than I can say about how I felt last week. Now I can say that I am actually excited for the rest of the season. Overall a pretty solid episode.

Final Grade: B-

Did you enjoy this episode more than the pilot? How did you feel about the characterization of Selina and the other characters? Are you excited for more episodes or do you think this show is not for you? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Nick Doblovosky