There were two things that I really liked about this episode: the lack of Gotham’s Mob bosses and the lack of Penguin randomly killing people.
Harvey and Gordon investigate a series of murders involving Gotham’s elite. Meanwhile the Penguin goes home to his mother and Montoya prepares to make a move against Gordon.
Last week I mentioned how I felt that Harvey has been put on the sidelines for the last few episodes, as well as stating that I wanted to see more of Nygma. Well, both of those statements are addressed in Spirit of the Goat. Harvey (played by Donal Logue) finally gets some well deserved development. It it a bit touching when Gordon (played by Ben McKenzie) learns that Harvey has been taking care of his former partner Detective Dix (played by Dan Hedaya). We learn that Harvey used to be a “white knight” like Gordon until one fateful day when he took down the serial killer known as Goat. Nygma’s scenes serve to show just how much he is incapable of understanding social cues, which sheds light on how his character will become the Riddler.
Robin Lord Taylor’s scenes as the Penguin work well. The last time we saw Carol Kane’s Gertrud Kapelput I got the impression that she did not know of the crimes that her son was committing, but this episode settles that issue. Not only does she know about her son’s actions but she encourages him to break the law. The scene in which she helps him bathe is just the right amount of creepy. Throughout that scene, as well as the last few episodes, Oswald has talked about how he has Gordon as a new friend and will use him to get what he wants. Plenty of the characters in this series spend a bit of time saying that they will eventually do something big and they end up not delivering. That is why I didn’t expect the ending of this episode, which I won’t reveal. It is definitely the most clever aspect of the Spirit.
The storytelling in Spirit is a big improvement over previous installments. After the subplots of each episode continued to grow at a snail’s pace I am pleased to say that things are looking better for the future of Gotham. SPOILERS: Montoya finally arrests Gordon, Harvey finally learns that Gordon deceived him, James finally decides that he will tell Barbara about his work, Oswald finally shows that he is truly a player and not just a pawn. Finally. I was waiting for this. Now the real drama can begin…maybe.
The episode’s downfall is the villain. The Goat killer seemed like a character out of Dexter yet was treated as a cartoon. What could have easily been creepy was dull and uninspired. SPOILERS: the reveal that the therapist had hypnotized the men to kill under her orders (mostly) comes out of nowhere and is equally dull. This series seems to have a trend of having it’s villains kill in an attempt to make Gotham a better place. Is this trend going to continue? I hope not. I want villains that don’t exist purely as a way of showing why Bruce will become Batman. Yes, he will never kill as a means to end crime because he understands that that will only make himself a criminal, but that was established in The Balloonman. Also, the music and sound effects during the Goat’s scenes make them almost comical, even though the creators were probably going for the opposite effect. You know how horror films use a certain sound effect when a character jumps out in order to scare the audience? Well in one scene of this episode that sound effect plays a moment before the character jumps out to attack his prey. The sound was already ruining those scenes but that specific choice was just idiotic.
Overall the character development worked well and the ending was the best the show has had so far, yet the scenes with the villain hindered the episode. The tone needs to be darker but it seems clear that it will stay the same for the time being.
Some side notes:
– The best dialogue in the episode is never actually spoken. When Bruce says that he knows the killer won’t come after him because he “has nobody left” the expression on Alfred’s face says “Except for me.”
– Selina stealing from Bruce just seems mean. She saw his parents gunned down just weeks ago and she shows her empathy by stealing from him.
– Why did Harvey change so much after he closed the case on the original Goat killer? He killed the murderer and his partner survived. Was it just because he couldn’t save that one woman?
– What kind of drama will the show eventually produce if the series just seems like build up for a story that will never occur on Gotham?
Final Grade: B
How did you feel about the twist in the last scene? Did you enjoy watching a more Harvey centered episode? What would you do to improve the show? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!