“This Ball of Mud and Meanness” – *****stars – aired 3/14/16
Written by Jordan Harper
Directed by John Behring
*spoilers contained within*
Greetings Gothamites! Gotham’s second half of the season has been nothing short of dark, gritty and gripping. In tonight’s episode, “This Ball of Mud and Meanness,” Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), and the show, get deep into the dark, dirty underbelly of Gotham City. The episode opens with The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) being subjected to a virtual reality episode where he sees his mother feeding one version of himself and is then stabbed to death by another version of himself. He is then given ice cream in front of a muscular but mentally unstable inmate who proceeds to beat him over the ice cream. In the GCPD, Kristen Kringle’s (Chelsea Spack) disappearance is being looked into. Detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) questions Ed Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) about Kristen and her relationship with Officer Daugherty. Ed gives answers but they don’t make sense to Detective Gordon. Bruce Wayne is determined to find Matches Malone (Michael Bowen), the man who killed his parents, by any means necessary.
This episode was the turning point for the show as a whole where we will finally see Bruce take the course of action that will turn him into Batman. We see him walking the backstreets and alleys of Gotham that not even an adult would dare to walk alone. His ending monologue where we hear the note he leaves Alfred is chilling but at the same time exciting because he has now reached the turning point in his life where he knows he must seek justice in his own way rather than just killing someone. He has people like Selina (Camren Bicondova) and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) advising him not to kill Matches that it will send him down a dark path he cannot return from. David Mazouz has been great as Bruce through the entire series but this episode was the best episode he’s ever done so far. He deserves five stars as much as the episode does. Lori Petty was outstanding as Jeri. The whole maniax/Jerome vibe at the club was perfect and the ace paint she wore was quite the discussion piece on social media. It hearkened back to the idea that The Joker is not necessarily one person. The Joker is a mindset that anyone could have. Alfred is the greatest butler ever. He handled himself quite well against Cupcake (Jamar Greene) in that street fight. Detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) said it best when he tells Alfred he gets hurt a lot for a butler.
Gotham gets better with each passing episode. The characters are solid and the stories are intense. Dr. Hugo Strange (B.D. Wong) is a brand new character and he is already a favorite of mine. His back-and-forth with The Penguin is great and the audience can’t tell if both are being truthful or if one is using the other. Is The Penguin cured or did he play Dr. Strange to get himself out of Arkham? Each episode plays out like a chess match. There is always a move waiting to be made.
Gotham airs Mondays at 8pm on Fox. Check your local listings.