Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Gotham - A Bitter Pill to Swallow - Review

    Enable Dark Mode!

  • What's HOT
  • Premiere Calendar
  • Ratings News
  • Movies
  • YouTube Channel
  • Submit Scoop
  • Contact Us
  • Search
  • Privacy Policy

SpoilerTV - TV Spoilers


Gotham - A Bitter Pill to Swallow - Review

“A Bitter Pill to Swallow” is a pretty apt title as this week’s “Gotham” didn’t go down so good with me. It’s a wheel spinner of an episode, which one character actually makes text at its conclusion.

As it begins, morning is dawning in Gotham City. But Tabitha Galavan isn’t jonesing for a cup of coffee. What she’s really craving is revenge on Gordon, for what he did to both her brother and to Barbara (and sidebar – we find out early on that Barbara’s in a coma and is being transferred to the medical wing at Arkham. I’m willing to wager that we’ll see her end up a patient at Indian Hill in the back half of the season). Injured from last week’s shootout at the cathedral, Tabitha decides to outsource and, this being Gotham, she has no trouble tracking down an assassin. This particular organization is run out of a backroom casino by a dapper woman (I’m not a “Doctor Who” watcher, but Michelle Gomez was very fun in this bit part), who promises that Gordon “doesn’t see the sun rise” on another day.

From there, the A-plot riffs on movies like “Assault on Precinct 13” and “Die Hard” as Gordon, Captain Barnes, and two total redshirts find themselves trapped in Galavan’s penthouse and forced to fend off these hired killers. The first two attacks – a very annoying hitman posing as a piano tuner tries to garrote Gordon in the elevator, then a trio of punks storm the place and manage to kill one redshirt and seriously injure Barnes – end in failure. Desperate, the assassins guild turns to Eduardo Flamingo (Raúl Castillo, “Looking”), who they had disavowed for cannibalism (and believe or not, he’s based on an actual Batman villain from the comics). But despite Flamingo having slaughtered two squad cars full of cops without breaking a sweat, Gordon is able to best him hand-to-hand (though the fisticuffs are a refreshing change of pace and well-choreographed).

But it’s all really just an excuse for Gordon to whine about “the monster” inside of him and to worry about crossing the line, a theme “Gotham” has repeatedly explored, and better. Even though the show seems to think so, to me, what happened with Barbara last week – and Leslie’s scolding about it (I wonder if they’re setting up a breakup here so Morena Baccarin can take maternity leave) – wasn’t traumatic enough to warrant this level of introspection. It does lead Barnes to open up about his past – while in the army, he murdered an unarmed prisoner (a moment clumsily mirrored during Gordon’s flight with Flamingo) and it’s haunted him ever since, which is why he now strictly adheres to the letter of the law.

It also unfortunately leads to what I think might be the worst scene in this show’s history. The surviving redshirt – a uniformed policewoman named Parks – is escorting Flamingo into the precinct when he wiggles free long enough to sink his teeth into her jugular. Now, “Gotham” has never shied away from gory tableaus. Hell, Parks’ isn’t even the last grisly murder in this episode. But something about this scene – her sobbing and terrified at the bottom of a scrum of police officers trying to pull Flaming off of her, blood gushing everywhere, in lingering slow motion – felt...gratuitous. Why was this necessary? To show again what a fucked up place Gotham is? To give Gordon yet another sad? We get it.

Moving on, after being excited by the possibilities, the subplot with the Penguin and Edward Nygma was a bit of a disappointment. Nygma believes their encounter in the woods was fate and wants Oswald to mentor him in the art of murder. “Like the butterfly, I’ve come to realize that I cannot be a caterpillar once again.” Penguin isn’t interested in his poetic weirdness (the dismissive eye roll he does when Nygma brags about killing three whole people is a genius moment from Robin Lord Taylor), preferring to mope about his crumbled empire and mourn his mother. But after a few pep talks about how the women they loved were really their most exploitable weakness, they end up dining and laughing like old friends, making plans to carve up an employee of Galavan’s that Edward abducted. I’m worried about the direction the show is taking these two. These are iconic characters portrayed by talented actors and I think boiling them down to basic serial killers would be a mistake.

Over at Wayne Manor, Bruce is still convinced that Galavan knows who killed his parents and wants to continue pursuing it by asking for Silver’s help. Alfred, however, is hilariously and British-ly not having it. He first throws “that little minx” out of the mansion and then foils an attempt by Bruce to sneak out and see her. Later, Lil’ Wayne is making another break for it when he gets a visit from...Selina! She claims she has proof that Silver is up to no good, but what that might be will have to wait until next week.

Finally, Galavan puts a button on things when Tabitha visits him at Blackgate (and...why isn’t she under arrest? If Mayor James told the cops about Theo, why wouldn’t he tell them about her?). Galavan scolds her for not being patient, for not biding her time like he is. And in the closing minutes, we see what Galavan was waiting for was the return of Ron Rifkin’s Brother Creel with reinforcements. The Order of Dumas has come to Gotham City.

Those are my thoughts on “A Bitter Pill to Swallow.” Please share what you thought of this week’s “Gotham” in the comments section.