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REVIEW: Gotham 1×09 “Harvey Dent”

Written by Nick Doblovosky

Wow. What a fun ride.

After Selina (Camren Bicondova) is arrested she strikes a deal with Gordon (Ben McKenzie) to give him information about the Wayne’s killer. The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) investigates Liza (Makenzie Leigh) after suspecting her of being disloyal (his suspicion was shown briefly last week) to Don Falcone (John Doman). Meanwhile, Alfred (Sean Pertwee) and Bruce (David Mazouz) continue training.

Normally Taylor’s Oswald is the most entertaining character on Gotham, but that has changed this week. Pertwee’s Alfred stole the show, showing just how much he cares for Bruce. He showed that he is stern when it comes to protecting Master Bruce when he quickly shot down Gordon’s idea to have Selina stay at the Manor. He showed that he doesn’t pull any punches (literally) when boxing with Bruce. When he finally sees that Selina is good for Bruce, because she makes him enjoy himself for once, it is one of the most touching scenes in the show. Damn. I need to get a butler.

The last few weeks have had several great scenes between Alfred and Bruce, which is a trend that I hope continues. Though, he doesn’t get to hog all of David’s scenes. Bruce has plenty of fun scenes with Selina, who finally gets to have a conversation with him. While I am not sure how it will affect their future I still like the idea of Selina living with him for the time being. They clearly have chemistry together and are just fun to watch. Though, Selina’s dialogue was off in this episode. Her word choice was too mature for her character.

Watching the first half of this episode felt like reading a Batman comic. The tone was spot on. The characters, such as the Penguin, felt larger than life, just like the music that played. The score throughout the episode was impressive and maybe the best it has been so far. From now on I will consider the music that played during Oswald’s scene to be his theme song, since it fit his character so well.

The second half of the episode feels more like a cop show than the first half. I thought both tones worked well but needed to be blended together more. The switch in tones feels abrupt. The scene that bridges them is the scene in which the bomber, Ian Hargrove (Leslie Odom, Jr.), sets off an explosive that kills several security officers. The execution of this scene is just wrong. It is over the top and goofy, as opposed to dramatic. I thought that the rest of the episode would go down hill after that, but thankfully it didn’t. It was definitely the low point of the episode.

So are you wondering why I have not mentioned Harvey Dent (Nicholas D’Agosto) yet, even though the episode is named after him? Well, he is barely in the episode, and the scenes that he is in spend their time showing off easter eggs. If he does not talk about chance or making a gamble then he is flipping a coin. For most of one scene half of his face is hidden in shadow, and in another he has an outburst against a corrupt businessman. Yep, that is Harvey Dent alright. During one of his major scenes he accuses Dick Lovecraft (Al Sapienza), a new character, of killing the Waynes. Every character in that scene is introduced in this episode, so Harvey feels a bit out of place. I am not sure how I feel about the actor just yet; I will have to wait until next week for that.

It is nice to finally see Fish (Jada Pinkett Smith) act against the Don instead of just talking about how she will act against him. Also, after watching the last scene I have lost any sympathy that I had left for Barbara (Erin Richards).

Ben McKenzie has done a fantastic job with Gordon. With each passing episode I care about him even more, and his relationship with Harvey (Donal Logue) works well. Enough of the characters and story have been established that Gotham is able to stand on it’s own as a story instead of just an adaptation.

Lastly, Cory Michael Smith’s Nygma has a moment in this episode that is important. After identifying the origin of a piece of evidence from a crime scene Bullock thanks him and tells him that he did a great job. This might be the first time that a character has actually acknowledged Ed’s intelligence. Then Edward looks to Gordon for the same recognition but is ignored. Nygma will likely become the Riddler because of that one moment, unbeknownst to Gordon.

This could have easily been the best episode, yet it was hindered by easter eggs and changes in tone.

Final Grade: B+

What did you think of the episode? Which actor did you enjoy watching the most? Did you have a problem with the changes in tone? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Nick Doblovosky

1 Comment

  • This episode convinced me that the writers have no idea what to do with Barbara and that they are also determined to make Montoya the dumbest character on the show.