The Ghost of Critical Missives’ Future!! (Or, Critical Missives Presents: A Viewer’s Guide to Gotham: Season 1!!) (Or, The Tenth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is part of the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas, an ongoing Critical Missives Clix celebration wherein we’re trying to publish new content for 12 straight days. If you’ve missed anything, you can check out Night 1, Night 2, Night 3, Night 4Night 5Night 6Night 7Night 8 or Night 9 just by clicking the preceding links!]

Hello! Welcome to Night 10 of The 12 Nights of Clix-Mas!!

Television

Today we’re going to preview what I hope will become a semi-regular feature here on Critical Missives:  Episode Guides for comic-book TV shows! We’ve been teasing these for awhile now, but the 12 Nights of Clix-mas has finally given us the chance we needed to make it a reality! First up will be a FOX Freshman series about a cop. Who lives in a very dangerous city. Today, we’re just publishing a recap of the Pilot, but the full article (which should come in early January, smack dab in the middle of the Heroclix Dead Zone) will have every episode that has run to that point! We’ll also make that page stick so that we can keep adding to it as the season continues.

After the Gotham project’s done, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be next, followed by Flash!

Having said all that, enjoy the preview!

 

"The name's Gordon!"

The name’s Gordon!”

We’ve seen the first half of the first season of GOTHAM, so buckle in–it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

 

Gotham Title

 

Series Overview:

Gotham tells the story of Commissioner James Gordon’s rise to prominence in Gotham City in the years before Batman’s arrival.

Season Overview:

The first season of Gotham is the story of the distinguished war veteran and perpetually serious-faced James Gordon, who comes back to his hometown of Gotham to take a job as a detective with the GPD. His private agenda is to fight the corruption eating at the city’s core by helping to solve as many crimes as he can while also exposing the misdeeds of those in power, but he is alternately impeded and aided by his partner, Harvey Bullock. He also quickly finds out very quickly that his new job has put his girlfriend, Barbara, in harm’s way.

Detective Gordon introduces himself.

Detective Gordon introduces himself.

Meanwhile, gangster Fish Mooney bides her time as a lieutenant in the Falcone crime empire as she waits for the perfect time to dispatch her boss, Carmine Falcone, and take over, but her plans take a detour when her confidence is betrayed by one of her own employees, a violent, passive-aggressive young man named Oswald Cobblepot…

Showrunner: Bruno Heller (Rome, The Mentalist)

Main Cast:

Ben McKenzie…………………………………………..(James Gordon)

Donal Logue……………………………………………..(Harvey Bullock)

Jada Pinkett Smith…………………………………..(Fish Mooney)

Robin Lord Taylor……………………………………(Oswald Cobblepot)

John Doman……………………………………………..(Carmine Falcone)

Erin Richards……………………………………………(Barbara Kean)

Zabryna Guevara……………………………………..(Sarah Essen)

Camren Bicondova……………………………………(Selina Kyle)

Cory Michael Smith………………………………….(Edward Nygma)

Sean Pertwee……………………………………………(Alfred Pennyworth)

David Mazouz…………………………………………..(Bruce Wayne)

 

Recurring Cast:

Victoria Cartagena……………………………………(Renee Montoya)

Andrew Stewar-Jones………………………………(Crispus Allen)

Drew Powell……………………………………………..(Butch Gilzean)

J.W. Cortes……………………………………………….(Detective Alvarez)

Richard Kind…………………………………………….(Mayor Aubrey James)

Makenzie Leigh………………………………………..(Lisa)

Claire Foley………………………………………………(Ivy Pepper)

David Zayas……………………………………………..(Sal Maroni)

Carol Kane……………………………………………….(Gertrude Kapelput)

Nicholas D’Agosto…………………………………….(Harvey Dent)

 

Episode 1.01: “Pilot

Gordon Wayne Pilot

Written By: Bruno Heller

Directed By: Danny Cannon

Tonight, on Gotham… : James Gordon, Gotham PD’s newest detective, is partnered with grizzled veteran cop Harvey Bullock by their Captain, Sarah Essen. The city is rife with violence and corruption, which sickens Gordon, who has come back to his hometown to do his best to clean it up. Bullock, for his part, seems to be every bit the sort of “dirty” cop that Gordon is crusading against. Before either can object to their pairing, however, they’re assigned to the investigation of the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne, two titans of the Gotham business, political and social landscapes.

Bruce-Wayne-in-the-Gotham-TV-show

The case soon takes them through the Gotham City underworld where they encounter Fish Mooney, a ruthless lieutenant in the Falcone crime family. Eventually Mooney’s information leads Gordon and Bullock to corner their lead suspect, Mario Pepper, but Bullock is forced to kill him before Pepper can assault Gordon.

Back at the station, Gordon and Bullock are applauded as the heroes who solved the Wayne murders, although something isn’t sitting right with Gordon. Against Harvey’s objection, Gordon journeys to Wayne Manor to speak with Bruce Wayne–Thomas and Martha’s young son who is now in the care of the family butler, Alfred–so that he can tell Bruce that he screwed up; Mario Pepper wasn’t the guy who killed their parents.

Eventually, a witness to the killings comes forward. Street urchin Selina Kyle was there when the Waynes were murdered, and she may know who did it.

Meanwhile, Fish Mooney finds out that Gordon is still investigating what should be a closed case, and she dispatches a team to kill Gordon and Bullock. Before the hit goes down, however, Carmine Falcone finally makes an appearance and gives Gordon and Bullock a reprieve–provided that Gordon “plays ball.”

Previously, Fish had determined that none other than her little errand boy, Oswald Cobblepot, was the one who tipped Gordon off in the first place about Pepper not being the real killer, so Carmine orders Bullock to have Gordon execute Cobblepot. Gordon, realizing he has no choice, walks Cobblepot down to the edge of a pier with a gun to Cobblepot’s head. Cobblepot begs for his life and says that there’s a war coming to Gotham. He’s seen it coming for awhile now, and he can help avert it.

Gordon Cobblepot

When they arrive at the end of the pier, Gordon can only whisper one sentence to Cobblepot before he aims his gun: “Don’t come back to Gotham.”

Gordon pulls the trigger and fires–right NEXT to Cobblepot’s head. Cobblepot falls into the water and Bullock is now satisfied that Gordon’s “gotten his hands dirty” by murdering Cobblepot. Gordon can keep his life–and his job–for now.

In the very last scene, a startled fisherman could have sworn he just saw something move in the water. He looks to investigate, but finds nothing. Then he turns around and finds Cobblepot standing there with the fisherman’s own fillet knife. Before the fisherman can run, Cobblepot brutally slices his neck open.

Oswald

Reaction: There was a lot going on in the Pilot–arguably too much. Gordon is really kind of one-note so far, and Bullock is painfully over the top, to the point that Logue really looks uneasy in the role. That will change (mostly because Logue gets more comfortable as the writing gets better), but Bullock is tough to take seriously in these first few episodes.

Fish Mooney is the one major character (so far) that the writers have cooked up exclusively for the show (meaning she isn’t based on a comics counterpart), and the verdict is still out. I like the concept of her (although the name is awful–it would be more at home in a Dick Tracy comic than a Batman story); the fact that Jada Pinkett Smith (who I normally love) seems to be trying to channel Eartha Kitt with each of her line readings is really distracting. The writers clearly love her, because they put her in almost every scene. Still, the whole momentum of the show seems to grind to a halt.

The actors playing Alfred and Bruce are good, but it already seems like it’s going to be tough to shoehorn them into the story every week. Leaving the Waynes’ murder unsolved will give Gordon a reason to check in with them every now and then, but so far Pertwee seems almost wasted as Alfred. An episode or two detailing his backstory (which is quite adventurous, at least in the comics) and why he’s so devoted to the Wayne family would go a long way.

These sorts of problems are actually common for a pilot, as everyone–including the writers–is still sort of feeling their way around. But the biggest find in terms of the cast is Robin Lord Taylor. He’s the one actor on this show who had a clear idea of what he wanted to do with his character from the get go, and he really pops in every scene he’s in, whether it’s well written or not. The writers will grow to lean heavily on Cobblepot as the series goes on, and this is in no small part due to Taylor’s performance.

The one thing the show really has going for it is the cinematography. This show looks gorgeous. They got the feel and atmosphere just about dead on. If I lived in Gotham, this is what I’d expect to see when I looked around. I know some folks aren’t sold–they still have the hyper-realized production design from the Tim Burton movies fresh in their mind. But for my money, this aspect of the production was a home run.

Overall, Gotham’s first episode has a shaky foundation, but there are definitely some intriguing elements to build on.

Verdict: C-

 

And there ya go! Look for the full Episode Guide in January!

And now that you’ve seen the Ghost of Critical Missives’ Future, come back Christmas Eve night for a special Ninwashui-penned “Christmas Carol”-style look at Heroclix…

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2 thoughts on “The Ghost of Critical Missives’ Future!! (Or, Critical Missives Presents: A Viewer’s Guide to Gotham: Season 1!!) (Or, The Tenth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

  1. Pingback: “Ninwashui’s ‘A Clixmas Carol’” (Or, the Eleventh Night of Clix-Mas!!) | Critical Missives

  2. Pingback: All’s Well That Ends Well!! (Or, The Twelfth Night of Clix-Mas!!) | Critical Missives

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