Features TV

REVIEW: Gotham 1×04 “Arkham”

So it seems safe to say that Arkham is, as of now, the best episode of the series.

In tonight’s episode a hitman goes around killing city councilmen as Oswald works his way up the criminal ladder. Meanwhile, Gordon has to catch the killer while Barbara hounds him for information on his work-life and gives him an ultimatum.

Although it was better than the previous installments this episode still had it’s flaws, such as the hitman’s ridiculous weapon of choice. Having a victim put the weapon against their head before being shot (or in this case stabbed) because they don’t know what the object is just comes off as silly. It worked in No Country for Old Men, but it does not work here. Though, the hitman did leave the viewer with a genuinely interesting cliffhanger before a commercial break. Though, unfortunately, the scene (in which Gordon was about to confront the killer, who was hiding) quickly dissolved into nothing after the break. His finally confrontation with Gordon (thankfully) makes up for this. The action is (unlike in previous episodes) actually suspenseful.

Once again, his weapon gimmick takes the viewer out of the scene. I don’t see what the character could have gained from using such a weapon when a gun or a normal knife would have done the job just as well. Using either of those weapons would have given a feeling of reality to the episode that would have served it well. The only purpose it really serves is to allow the writers to have Gordon easily solve the case. Also it seems very sloppy for the hitman to leave pictures (of the men that he killed) in his work desk. Sloppy for the writers and for the hitman.

Besides that I can’t think of much that I felt was wrong with the episode. The Penguin went most of the episode without killing people! I actually almost believed that the episode would end without him committing murder. Of course, I was wrong, but I was almost right, and he didn’t kill his victims just by stabbing them like he has done in the past. These murders actually show that the character is clever, which is nice. SPOILERS: The guys who robbed Maroni’s restaurant were actually hired by Penguin, who then killed them to keep the money and prevent them from letting it known that he was behind it. When his last scene of the episode was playing I was already imagining Robin Lord Taylor with his top hat and umbrella. I am hyped for whenever that will happen.

As a side note I also enjoyed Cory Michael Smith’s appearance as Nygma. He still fits the role nicely.

Barbara’s relationship with Montoya has finally been brought to Gordon’s attention, which is nice. The short scenes that were about their relationship were getting annoying. It is nice that James finally knows about it. Though, I am not sure how I feel about Barbara giving him an ultimatum. It almost seems cruel to do that to him while he is taking on so many of Gotham’s issues, though it does make sense that he would want to keep information about his work from her. I just think that it is just a bit frustrating that he does not just sit down with her and tell her everything. She should do the same, since I highly doubt that he knows about her drugs. Despite this I feel that they would support one another, but they don’t seem to think that, but maybe I’m wrong.

Jada Pinkett Smith’s scenes as Fish were more interesting this time. There weren’t as many of them as there have been in the past and they were more compelling. I was a bit afraid that she was going to have the one singer kill the other and I am glad that that didn’t happen, but it is good that I felt that way because it means that I was emotionally invested in the scene. Still, I would rather watch other characters, like Falcone or Maroni.

I liked that Gordon’s relationship with Harvey has grown to the point where James makes jokes about Harvey’s tactics. I actually laughed when Harvey said he was going to investigate and James just tells him to “Say hello to her,” meaning Fish.

The highlight of the episode is definitely the scene between James and Bruce. After Bruce realizes that his parents’ plans for Arkham Asylum have been ruined he asks Gordon if he truly believes that Gotham can be saved, to which he responds that he believes that people can still try to save it. That is the real core of Batman’s character. Batman knows that he may never fully cure Gotham from her crime (though he has come close to succeeding several times), but he knows that he must try. While the previous episodes have made his relationship with Gordon feel a little forced this scene has cemented the fact that they genuinely care about each other. It feels real and is powerful. David Mazouz does a great job with the character.

Overall a solid episode with a very good ending.

Final Grade: B

What did you think of the episode? Who is your favorite character? Do you think the one-shot villains are too cartoony? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Nick Doblovosky