For an episode called “Harvey Dent”, we don’t get much in the way of Harvey Dent. Sure, he does his “double-sided coins” shtick, has his face half-covered in shadow in many scenes and has a hissyfit on crooked businessman, but he remains a sketchy, ill-defined character throughout. The fact that actor Nicholas D’Agosto comes across like a wet-behind-the-ears supply teacher doesn’t help give Dent much presence either. Moreover, the way he suddenly produces Dick Lovecraft as suspect number one in the Wayne case as if from thin air pretty much confirms that Lovecraft must be a red herring. Overall, it’s a fairly inauspicious introduction for such an iconic character.
There’s not a great deal else to make the episode stand out either. The bomber plot is fairly humdrum and the Russians are a dull bunch of villains. The Penguin scenes – in which he makes the connection between Liza and Fish – seem to take an awfully long time getting to the point. Gordon, after a few week’s where he’s had a bit more spark, reacts to the news of Barbara’s departure by donating his personality to charity (you can probably purchase it for a couple of dimes). And the other Harvey, Bullock, has not nearly enough screen time or good lines.
Did You Spot?
The ring tone of the phone attached to the bomb is “The Final Countdown” by Europe. Villains with a sense of theatre… we like it.
The other main element of the episode is Cat moving into Wayne Manor, which livens up an otherwise moribund episode somewhat. Admittedly, it was obvious that the disapproving Alfred would be phoning up Gordon by episode’s end going, “Lawks a limey, guvnor, I doff me ’at at you, she may be an urchin, but she’s a spirited one, all right,” but the bread fight scene between Bruce and Cat is very sweet. Camren Bicondova (with her ridiculously straight-out-of-the-salon hair) may still be a little well-spoken for a girl form the streets, but she has the right look and a cheeky smile, while David Mazouz is endearingly odd as the socially graceless Bruce. They’re a bizarre couple but they almost pull of the idea that these two could be dancing a dangerous tango for the rest of their lives.
Plus, the way Alfred and Cat wind each other up is fun.
There’s not a great to say about “Harvey Dent”, then, except that it feels like an episode failing to stretch itself and have more fun. It plays everything a little too safe and so, while, watchable enough, it ends up feeling like so much filler.
Did you notice the way that in many scenes, the lighting is designed in such a way to emphasise that Harvey Dent will become the villain Two-Face? Two-Face was introduced to the DC universe in Detective Comics #66 (1942).
This lass in the middle is the most Harley Quinn-looking performer we’ve seen on Fish’s stage yet.
Gotham airs on Monday nights on Channel 5 in the UK, and on Fox in the US.