I have to say that tonight’s edition of Gotham was probably one of the most intense episodes since the pilot. So much was going on that it’ll be hard to cram everything into this review, but I’ll try to do my best. (spoilers ahead!)
First off, I think the title should’ve been “Red Herring” instead of “Red Hood” for two reasons: the Red Hood Gang wasn’t the central focus of the episode and seemed like more of a distraction to draw attention away from other major events, and there were plenty of red herrings that may or may not have been distracting us from a possible Joker appearance.
Since the pilot episode of Gotham, people have been speculating about when/if we’ll see the Joker. Most people who are familiar with DC lore know that the Joker briefly went under the pseudonym of the Red Hood in the midst of his criminal career, which is why so many people thought that tonight would be the big reveal of our favorite psychotic clown. Well, if you were hoping for Mr. J’s grand appearance, then you might be disappointed (or not, depending on how you look at it).
In “Red Hood”, the titular item of clothing circulates among a group of gang members as they proceed to commit crimes around Gotham. The first person who wore the Red Hood actually talked and acted like the Joker. I was sure this was him until he was shot dead by one of his companions, who then goes on to take the hood and the identity. This happens once more, and the third Red Hood attempts to lead his team into a bank robbery, but is shot dead by the Gotham Police Department. The episode ends with a random kid picking up the bloody, discarded hood and mimicking shooting a gun, further teasing us at a possible Joker.
It’s interesting to note how the Red Hood gang members killing each other was eerily reminiscent of the beginning of The Dark Knight where the Joker kept eliminating his fellows one-by-one. Another head-scratcher to think about is the fact that Gotham heavily, heavily, HEAVILY emphasized that the character Jerome who debuted last week was the Joker. It looks like they’re trying their hardest to keep us on our toes.
Next plot-line worth mentioning involves Selina Kyle, Ivy Pepper, and Barbara Kean. Barbara is fine with letting Selina and Ivy stay in her home, but Selina doesn’t seem too fond of her host. In a supposed act of benevolence, Barbara lets Ivy and Selina take some of her clothes so that they can look cleaner and more presentable. Barbara and Selina have a strange moment of bonding where the former tells the young girl how she can use her looks to her advantage. Selina is having none of that and bitterly tells Barbara to shove it. It was neat how this seemed to be a small hint at the origins of Selina’s seductive tactics, which she uses as one of her signature moves when she becomes Catwoman.
I know most people aren’t a huge fan of Fish Mooney (I’m pretty indifferent to her), but she’s bad-ass in this episode. She encounters the Dollmaker who is shown to be part of an underground cult of organ-harvesters. Dollmaker tells her that her eyes would be a great addition to the collection. I refuse to spoil what happens next, though you have to “see” it to believe it. Your opinion of Fish may change with this episode.
The final plot focuses on Bruce, Alfred, and an old companion of Alfred’s named Reggie. On a cold, stormy night, Reggie comes to Wayne Manor seeking shelter. Bruce graciously welcomes him into their home; a great display of his humanitarian attitude that would later become a staple of his character for years to come.
There are three powerful scenes to draw from this sub-plot. The first scene is when Reggie catches Bruce returning from training and asks the boy to hit him. Bruce tries several times, only to be provoked by Reggie to hit him harder. Reggie also instructs him to use his anger and his whole body to fight. He even advises him to use his surroundings as his weapon. I got chills watching this mini-fight break out; I saw it as foreshadowing Bruce donning the cowl and taking to the streets as Batman. We’re watching him develop his crime-fighting abilities a little bit at a time.
Next powerful scene is when Reggie and Alfred are drinking wine and recounting old stories to Bruce. I had a hard time understanding the conversation due to David O’Hara‘s thick accent, but I got the essence of what was going on. When Bruce leaves the room, he hides and listens to Alfred telling Reggie how he’s haunted by the people he killed in the war. This is yet another possible foreshadowing of Bruce’s future as Batman. Remember, Batman has a strict no-killing policy. Maybe in the world of Gotham, it’s because Bruce doesn’t want to be haunted by the skeletons of his past just like Alfred.
The final scene shows Reggie stealing things from Wayne Manor, stabbing Alfred when he catches him, and then booking it. Alfred gets sent to the ICU, but it’s pretty obvious that he’ll survive (I don’t think Gotham has the guts to kill off such an integral character, no matter how much they’ve changed the lore already). Turns out that Reggie was hired by Wayne Enterprises’ board members to steal information from Wayne Manor. Bruce had been keeping tabs on the members of the board, so they sent Reggie in to do a little reconnaissance. When the members pay Reggie for his services and indicate that they’ll take further action, he requests that they do not harm Bruce. Yeah, like they’re going to listen…
Next episode of Gotham looks intense, but to be honest, the trailers for the next week’s episodes always look great. I’m assuming that we’re getting closer and closer to Bruce’s destiny as Batman and by the end of the season, he may actually stop his first crime! Just a fun thought to entertain… Regardless, tonight’s episode was a blast even if it was a bit crammed with multiple plots.
Final Grade: A –
+ I loved almost every scene with Bruce, Alfred, and Reggie, especially the fight scene.
+ It was cool watching the Red Hood Gang interact with each other and the several moments teasing the Joker.
+ Fish Mooney’s shining moment earned her Bad-Ass-of-the-Episode status.
– There was a lot going on and it may have been difficult for people to keep up with the multiple, crammed plot-lines.
– The Penguin sub-plot was not too entertaining and really didn’t bring anything new to the table.
– David O’Hara, while a great actor, was hard to understand in a few scenes due to his heavy accent.
What did you think of tonight’s episode of Gotham? Will Alfred pull through? Any predictions for the Red Hood Gang’s future? Let us know in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!