TV Review: Gotham – 2×03 ‘The Last Laugh’

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You’ve looking at one very happy consumer.

Last week, I asked – well, demanded, petulantly – for more Barbara, and this week Gotham delivered in fine style, meeting every single one of my expectations and seemingly thoroughly convinced of its place among the brilliantly vibrant spectrum of shows offered to the standard viewer.

And why not?

The early episodes of season 2 lack the uncertainty that emerged so often in the first season – like a bad penny – typified by an apparent inability or unwillingness to commit to one particular genre. They have, seemingly, left any attempts at creating a defined crime drama procedural in the metaphorical dust, turning, instead, to a more fluid – although still recognisable structure allowing various characters to take centre stage – sometimes literally – without seemingly to forget quite so fundamentally about the others. There was the touch of the ensemble to this episode, and it worked.

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I do like a good ensemble.

Now, onto the particulars:

In 2×03, the merry band of Arkham Asylum escapees hit Gotham city with a good old-fashioned hostage situation, complete with hysterical women, lots of innocent-looking youngsters – yes, Bruce, I mean you – and Alfred. It’s the perfect theatrical follow-up to last week’s stunning (pun intended) debut, and ups the ante nicely, driving into the new season on a particularly destructive note.

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Jerome, naturally, takes pole position, conning his way into the fundraising gala as the replacement magician – an assured nod to the circumstances under which he appeared in the first season, if a little predictable – with Barbara in tow, and from there, he takes the entire group of rich, vaguely benevolent people hostage. Tension builds nicely, ramped up by Bruce and Alfred’s involvement in the rapidly worsening situation, and is broken only by a concerted effort of opposition, led initially by Gordon, but circumvented by Galavan himself.

Now that’s a turn up for the books.

The episode was low on further surprises, however, including Jerome’s death. I’m no sleuth, but ‘The Last Laugh’ implied enough, given Jerome’s role so far, to set me onto the right track. Neither was the manner of his death much of a shock, as it was, again, implied, but it was certainly nicely done – she says, graciously – and had an effect, even if that effect wasn’t shock.

I enjoyed the implication of the title – that Jerome’s death enabled him to have the last laugh, as he would have wanted it – and the final few scenes of the episode, which suggested that it would be far from the only laugh, too. That’s the kind of foreshadowing I can get behind, placard in hand.

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I would, however, have liked to see more of Selina. As amusing as her ability to appear almost at random is, she deserves more.

Maybe next week?

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