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Gotham - Episode 1.03 - The Balloonman - Advance Preview

I'll probably be the loudest to say that Gotham's Pilot was not all I thought it'd be. I'd spent months remaining spoiler-free as to maintain excitement, just to be slightly disappointed. It wasn't that it was bad, it was just okay. Thankfully, Episode 2 "Selina Kyle" was actually an improvement for me. On the scale of West to Bale, it was a solid Keaton in Batman Returns. Yet, that is not what we are here for. The question now is, Will episode 3 "The Balloonman" keep momentum set forth in "Selina Kyle"?

Well it does. Gotham is quickly turning into a great ensemble show. It's not being held up by just one performance but several. The odd Couple dynamic between Bullock and Gordon continues to be the best dysfunctional bromance I've seen since Sam and Dean Winchester. The episode title takes it's name after the vigilante in the episode striking back at the corruption in Gotham by tying victims to weather balloons.Yes, this is absurd, but it's also awesome. While the episode takes it's name after the character, it's not solely devoted to it. That's what I found most intriguing, the intricacy of how well the story seems to be plotted that it doesn't rely on the case of the week to keep it going. I love that the writers are not just setting up subplots to be explored later, but that they are casually mining them and giving us payoff little by little. In this sense a lot of what we saw in the pilot comes back around this week and that's what makes this episode solid, the commitment to follow through on setups.

All in all the weakest part of the episode is the Balloonman storyline. Not because it wasn't good, but because there are things that are just simply more fascinating. The case almost felt background to everything else, which wasn't a problem for me. The struggle for the soul of Gotham has so many players and angles that the case of the week should be background. It's just one part of the arc here and while it helps reinstate that there is a battle on the horizon for our characters, it doesn't masquerade itself as the center of it.

Now for the Gripe:
Maybe I'm alone in this, but I'm not sold on Smith's portrayal of Fish. She does nothing for me except grate on my nerves, so I was happy we were spared from another Jim and Harvey's awesome trip to Fish's. Though when we did see some of her this week (much to my dismay) I found myself distracted by the thought of what Disney villain Jada is trying to emulate with that awful accent. (I'm sorry but I'm not sorry) I know she's supposed to be a gangster, and this is a comic-book based show, but I can't help but feel she's trying too hard. My biggest gripe though, comes from the constant mention of Gotham's corruption. I know Gotham is a centerpiece to the show and it's just as much a character as the actual characters, but if the show took more time to SHOW me corruption, then it wouldn't have to keep using exposition lines to tell me. If you just show me, I won't have to roll my eyes so much, because I truly fear they will get stuck that way, and that's not pretty. I do fear it will get old, as we are already 3 episodes in and I feel I should start a drinking game every time someone mentions just how corrupt Gotham is.

Final Verdict: While not a groundbreaking episode of television, it is certainly an engaging one, and plays to the strengths of the show thus far. It's pretty great watching the seemingly unconnected stories unfold, knowing that at some point all of it is going to come together seamlessly.

Some great moments to look for:

The dynamic between Selina and Gordan is electric, and while their time is short it definitely has the underlying allure of the cat who is playing with the mouse knowing how this ends.

Harvey getting tossed around like a ragdoll by a very buff and brawny prostitute.

Robin Lord Taylor serving up major mojo and creep factor as usual. (He's my episode MVP, the guy is perfection as Cobblepot)

Some pretty intense chemistry from two former lovers on opposing sides.

Death by falling corpse. (Has this ever been done? It was pretty awesome)

The final scene.

I repeat, THE FINAL SCENE! It has me anxiously anticipating the follow-up episode, because I most certainly did not see things escalating this quickly.

You don't have to take my word for it though. Catch Gotham on Monday at 7c on Fox and you'll see what I'm talking about, especially in reference to the final scene.

So are you liking Gotham thus far? Where do you think it needs to improve, if you feel there is room for it? What is it that you like? I know some people give it a certain amount of episodes before they decide if they are staying or going with the show, are there any readers who are on the fence? I would love to hear what you think, hit the comments below!

About the Author - Winston Mize
Winston is a 24 year old goofball, born in the north, and currently living in the south. He loves TV.... for some it's coffee, for him it's TV talk that gets his day going. He wants to be a screenwriter, and watches some of everything. You name it, he's probably checked it out. And he would like you to know that it is okay for a 24 year old to play with action figures... well, he does anyway.