TV Review: Gotham – 1×19 “Beasts of Prey”

In this episode, only weeks away from what is probably going to be a particularly exciting finale, the stakes have never been higher. Our favourite Detective Jim Gordon is manipulated into taking a case that could be fatal for the people around him – with Harvey’s initially reluctant help, of course – Fish Mooney makes a particularly desperate and particularly clever play for freedom from the twisted Doctor that holds her captive, Penguin reveals his current endgame – note use of the word ‘current,’ for I hardly believe that that is as high as he intends to travel before the end – and Bruce and Selina stumble into dangerous waters in an attempt to discover the reason Alfred was stabbed. It was an atmospheric episode, practically pulsing with danger and intrigue, thoroughly engaging, and chock-full of action.

Now for a handful of specifics, just for kicks.

Plot:

The episode as a whole worked for me. I didn’t get bored, I found myself thoroughly immersed in each and every aspect, whichever character happened to feature most heavily in it, and I especially enjoyed the way the various storylines fed into each other. If I had to choose a favourite part, however, it would be the scene in which Bruce and Cat accost Reggie. There are a number of reasons as to why I enjoyed it quite as much as I did, none of which are particularly deep and meaningful, but arguably the most relevant one is because it provided the viewer with another hint of the people Bruce and Selina are going to turn into, not to mention a little more of a relationship that can only get more complicated.

Gotham 1x19.2

Fish Mooney’s daring – and arguably quite brilliant – escape was equally enjoyable, as to watch her outsmart her captors despite particularly adverse circumstances, and in possession of little more than her wit, was truly something to behold. She’s easily my favourite character, and it’s obvious from this episode why she remains so very engaging.

Gotham 1x19.1

On the other hand, I thought the murder of the week – Gordon and Harvey’s serial killer plot – was a tad lacklustre. By this point, it seems almost as if every other murder has been tied in to internal corruption that will inevitably infuriate Gordon, provide Harvey with an opportunity to tell Gordon to back off, and culminate in both of them investigating regardless. While that set up certainly establishes Gotham the location as the dangerous city full of criminals that we all know and to a certain extent and in a certain way love, the constant reiteration of that fact has become somewhat tedious. Additionally, the serial killer is not nearly creepy enough to stand out in a line-up of Gotham’s worst villains, and his little ‘calling card’ came across as somewhat crass.

Characters:

Harvey’s attitude never fails to be entertaining, and his interactions with Gordon were the perfect way to lighten the otherwise relentless tension in this episode. He’s undoubtedly a product of the city at its best (or worst), but his inability to abandon Jim in his moment of self-inflicted need is lovely to see, and as a crime-fighting duo they complement each other wonderfully.

Gotham 1x19

I also enjoyed Alfred’s appearance, brief as it was, as, again, it hinted at his place in the eventual scheme of things. Alfred is the man that allows Batman to go off and fight crime, makes sarcastic comments in his ear the entire time, and gets increasingly irritated when he comes back injured, and Gotham’s Alfred is certainly that man, as was particularly clearly exhibited in his intention to ‘deal’ with Reggie by himself, despite a crippling injury and his obviously weakened state.

To conclude: this was a strong episode with interesting threads and an engaging plot, so roll on next week!

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