After an extended trailer for the FOX show “Gotham” teased many of the infamous villains, each week has been heating up with more nods and winks. “Gotham”, a show we have seen greeted with mixed feelings, has seen audiences quickly want to make a return trip to the real sin city. The freshman drama, based off of DC Comics characters, sees its eighth week introduce another familiar element to the series and another reason to keep watching.
“The Mask”, written by John Edwards and directed by Paul Stephans is a direct product from last week’s episode. Continuing from the momentum of last week, viewers should now fully understand that this isn’t Batman’s version of the long running series “Smallville.” Yet, we are still given hints at a young Bruce Wayne developing into the Caped Crusader that we all know too well. Interestingly and perhaps most exciting for us at What’cha Reading is seeing the introduction of classmate and school bully, Tommy Elliot. A character created by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee during the “Hush” story arc, he was mentioned during our sit down with David Mazouz. (We were asked to keep the secret, which we of course were happy to do, no spoilers here folks.) In a moment, perhaps to bigger interest of more mainstream Batman fans, seeing Nicholas D’Agosto as Harvey Dent (formerly played by Billy Dee Williams, Tommy Lee Jones, and Aaron Eckhart) will happen in episode 9, airing Monday, November 17th.
The episode follows Gordon and Bullock’s investigation into Richard Sionis (Yes, Sionis as in Black Mask!) Sionis fashions himself as a warrior with a thing for “juvenile play acting” and “warrior baloney” according to Bullock. Sionis runs a deadly fight club for candidates applying for a job at his financial firm, Sionis Investments. In a visit to his office, Sionis reveals himself to be some sort of megalomaniac; a hyper-violent version of Gordon Gecko. Telling Gordon that “a mask reveals the truth” that very much seems to be an underlying truth in this episode. A mask, something so pertinent to comic books and Batman, reveals the true nature of the person wearing it, allowing them to play out their true nature. Jim Gordon, a veteran, no longer enjoys violence but understands it’s necessity. Bruce Wayne, an orphan, enjoys violence and the feeling he gets from employing it against a bully. Both characters, while not wearing a mask, have another element of their characters revealed to the audience in a way that excites and teases fans.
When Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) is confronted by Tommy Elliot (another small wink to fans), he grows frustrated by the continual torment and mockery of his parents death. Pushing Bruce to react in a very natural and primal way, he strikes the boy in the face, only to learn off camera that he doesn’t fight very well. Alfred, played excellently by Sean Pertwee, brings Bruce to the Elliot residence after giving him his father’s watch. Bruce proceeds to ring the doorbell, waiting for Elliot to open the door, to pounce on him with the ferocity of an undomesticated animal! Beating the bully to a pulp, Alfred stops him, only to caution Elliot that he’s the one who almost let Bruce kill him. While a small moment in tonight’s episode filled with more Fish Mooney, The Penguin, and a cameo by Camren Bicondova’s Cat a.k.a. Selina Kyle, it is perhaps one of the most revelatory scenes that displays mighty fine acting by Mazouz and Pertwee. It also happens to be a scene of great fun to watch due to the natural likability of both performers. It is no secret that over the course of filming, Mazouz and Pertwee developed a real familial bond, and it shows. Hopefully as the series continues, the dynamic between Alfred and Bruce will be more fleshed out and continually playing into the fan-service category that never borders on being forced.
“Gotham” is a fun series to watch. Whether or not you like DC Comics, or Batman (who doesn’t love Batman?) it is a good series that is worth spending time with. It seems almost destined to become a show to be discovered, loved, and binge-watched once the season completes in 2015. And with lines like “if we won’t fight for the city, who will?” showrunner, Bruno Heller, knows exactly what he’s doing. And we know what’s coming! So why not sit back and watch?
“Gotham” airs on Monday nights on FOX. 8 PM ET, check your local listings.