Bruce moves centre stage in a cracking episode of Gotham that also gives Alfred his best slice of the action yet – literally. It’s not just the haircut he shares with Action Man, and he also manages to turn on some James Bond charm to get Fish Mooney on his side. The dirty old devil even takes a shine to a woman who just nearly killed him, describing her to Gordon as, “Well, she was early thirties… pretty tasty fighter actually.”
Action Alfred is just one of whole list of reasons why “Lovecraft” is one of Gotham’s best episodes yet. Tellingly, it’s yet another in which Gordon takes a back seat. On the other hand – and promisingly – it doesn’t rely on Penguin to provide the best moments; Oswald only appears briefly and while he’s as odiously conniving as you’d want, it’s difficult to steal an episode in two scenes.
Having said that, Ivy almost manages it. That girl is wonderfully weird. Hopefully an Ivy-centric episode won’t be long in coming.
The honours here, though, go to Bruce and Selina. Any worries that David Mazouz’s mannered performance, Camren Bicondova’s whiney delivery and their slightly stiff scenes on screen together previously were not the stuff that potential series leads are made of are blown away here. They are great together, and Bruce’s bold rooftop leaps are utterly convincing as the key that would finally unlock Cat’s reticence to let him walk on her side of the street.
Did You Spot?
This bat-symbol at the bottom of the screengrab has to be more than just a trick of the light, surely?
The episode also benefits from a stylish female assassin who delivers some great action scenes, Bullock and Alfred playing good cop/bad cop, Falcone shooting his dinner guest just to make Fish squirm (it seems), Harvey Dent proving to be an opportunist little git and Gordon being called a “plank” and a “putz” in the space of a minute. Best of all, no boring Barbara Gordon subplot.
And just when the dust seems to have settled, the mayor proves that he hasn’t forgotten that Gordon threatened to throw him in jail a couple of weeks back by throwing Gordon in jail instead… sort of. Gordon is reassigned to guard duties at Arkham Asylum, which is bad news for him, but great news for us because it surely promises some great episodes ahead.
Bullock: “You’re pretty handy for a valet.” Alfred: “Butler, mate, I’m a butler.”
Health And Safety
Bloody hell, walking down polished wooden stairs in socks is dangerous enough. Balancing on a balcony in socks is plain suicidal. This is just about the tensest thing we’ve seen on TV for ages.
Anyone else expecting Fish to look down at the plate she’s been served at Falcone’s meal only to see that she’s been served some grilled fish?
Leap Of Faith
Bruce's rooftop leap is brilliantly shot and directed to show what a landmark moment this is in his development towards being Batman.
There’s a wonderfully creepy cameo from Ivy in the episode, but is she actually the future Poison Ivy? She looks the part, but if she is, this is the biggest departure from a comic character’s origin we’ve seen so far.
Apparently, the assassin credited called Larissa Diaz is Gotham’s version of the snake-themed supervillain Copperhead, famous for his “constricting” chokehold (even though the snake of the same name is not a constrictor but a poisonous viper… later versions of the comic character did introduce a poison angle too). A female version of Copperhead was previously seen in the videogame Arkham Origins.
Gotham airs on Monday nights on Channel 5 in the UK, and on Fox in the US.