Gotham: Arkham
October 14, 2014 12:08 PM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

A major redevelopment project becomes the subject of a mafia war when two council members corrupted by opposing factions get murdered.
posted by Small Dollar (15 comments total)
 
I'll admit, I don't know much about urban planning. But I can't for the life of me explain why you would ever make a specific plan to build attractive, affordable housing next door to a mental hospital. (Then again, maybe that's what makes the attractive housing affordable...)

Speaking of which, was the asylum the only idea that the Waynes had for saving the city's less-fortunate? Instead of things like funding for food-assistance and job-development incentives? Knowing what we know about Arkham, it's not just a hilariously ineffectual revolving-door institution, but an actual incubator for criminal psychosis. That's not just irony, it actually makes Bruce's parents seem like part of the problem in the first place.

Another thing: If the Waynes were such big believers in the power of psychiatric care for the masses, why did they give Alfred strict instructions to NEVER EVER take young Bruce to a therapist?

So much of what happens on this show feels like a bullshit just-so story to explain stuff that didn't need to be explained in the first place.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:56 PM on October 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Riddler's going to snap after years of being frustrated that he never actually gets to pose any riddles working in the GCPD, right?
posted by Small Dollar at 3:07 PM on October 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


That's not just irony, it actually makes Bruce's parents seem like part of the problem in the first place.

The show gives that impression sometimes, doesn't it? The Waynes being friends with Falcone felt hinky, too.

I was also disappointed by the Penguin's friends holding the Idiot Ball and just letting him poison them. Like... c'mon. Lame. He should've had to work for that a bit harder, and it's not the first time that's come up.

On a more positive note, still enjoying Fish Mooney, despite her inexplicably unfortunate name.

Upon preview:
Riddler's going to snap after years of being frustrated that he never actually gets to pose any riddles working in the GCPD, right?

Man, I hope so.
posted by mordax at 3:09 PM on October 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is how I feel about this episode:


Eeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhnnn.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:43 PM on October 14, 2014


Knowing what we know about Arkham, it's not just a hilariously ineffectual revolving-door institution, but an actual incubator for criminal psychosis. That's not just irony, it actually makes Bruce's parents seem like part of the problem in the first place.

This seems a little unfair, on a few counts: first of all, "knowing what we know" is, in this case, literally being able to see the future. That's not a small advantage to have in city planning.

Secondly and more relevantly: this is the poisonous bit of the "compromise". The "compromise" prevented a gang war, gives the city some affordable housing and some waste development, and seems like a win-win for everybody. Score for James Gordon, right? Except that in both non-compromise plans, the asylum was gonna get demolished, totally razed to the ground ("brick by brick if necessary" someone stressed early on) - in The Wayne plan, it was to get replaced completely with an actual modern (and presumably more effective) mental health institution, in the other case I believe it was just going to be eliminated altogether? Or turned into a jail or something? I forget. In any case, the "compromise" instead definitely has the current, incredibly sketchy wrought-iron-gated facility getting "renovated" instead of completely demolished and rebuilt. You and I, because we can see the future, know that simply rehabbing that nightmarish building isn't going to cut it, and that therefore this compromise is subtly tainted, and the short-term win of preventing a gang war comes at the significant long-term cost of letting the walls of Arkham continue to stand. I think we're supposed to know that; nobody in Gotham could be realistically expected to predict that, though.

Finally, there's...well, per the Nolan Batman canon, Batman himself is at least partly responsible for the disproportionate number of crazy supervillains in Gotham - the "arms race" that Gordon calls him out on, IIRC near the end of Batman Begins. In a lot of the comic-book Batman canon that I'm familiar with, you're right that Arkham is largely responsible for the disproportionate amount of super-villainy in Gotham. Here though, so far we've already got the Balloonman, and we've got a generic works-for-money professional hitman whose weapon of choice is an arbitrary, bizarre, and terribly inefficient spring-loaded spike. And we're only 4 episodes in! Arkham's not functioning yet, and Batman's still a moody 12-year old kid. Apparently - and who knows if they'll ever address it, but I hope they do, because it's maybe the thing that interests me the most about this show right now! - something about Gotham, as it already exists without either of those two factors, breeds a particularly "creative" type of criminal insanity already.
posted by mstokes650 at 4:52 PM on October 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Man, that spike. Did they hire that Hitman out of the Penny Saver? Dude seemed so proud of something that, on the lethality scale, ranks a few steps above fresh fruit. I mean, I guess he was pretty clever to make a Pointed Stick needlessly complex (Hrm, let's make it so I have to screw this together to use it because, uh, the pointy part is longer than either one of the two halves?), but he struck me as a noob who was trying to save up for his first gun. There was no situation where that "professional" was at an advantage due to his weapon (he even ditched it in favor of Gordon's gun!). Heck, most of his kills could have been handled by a .22 rifle bought from a general store in Smallville. Gotham is a city of rooftops and big windows, after all. Floyd Lawton is going to wreck this place.

The showrunners seem to have caught on that the Penguin is the most interesting part of the show, which is good, I guess, but I suspect he'll become Murderous Urkel if they keep leaning on him like that. Dude practically turned to the camera and said, "Did I do thaaaattt?" a few times this episode.

I promised you 6 episodes, Gotham. It's getting really hard to keep that promise.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:35 AM on October 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


So, uh, when is this set? Because it seemed like modern day until they had that office scene with row after row of typewriters.
posted by codacorolla at 7:22 AM on October 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


I was really hoping that immediately after the scene where Cobblepot smiles as hired goons wolf down their cannoli there would be a TWO WEEKS LATER scene in which the aforementioned goons are all happily talking about how much they love working for Cobblepot because he always goes out of his way to show that he appreciates them by bringing them little treats.

But that would force this show to acknowledge humor or fun, and where would that leave us?
posted by Parasite Unseen at 2:15 PM on October 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


It reminds me of The Strain, where it's soooo close to being a fun genre show, but its own self seriousness won't allow it to take the step to actually being kitsch. So, instead, it just comes off as poorly done.
posted by codacorolla at 2:53 PM on October 15, 2014


there would be a TWO WEEKS LATER scene in which the aforementioned goons are all happily talking about how much they love working for Cobblepot because he always goes out of his way to show that he appreciates them by bringing them little treats.

And then it cuts to 15 years later and Batman is punching a thug in the face. "MY PARENTS ARE DEAD," shouts The Bat, "Why do you lot keep working for the Penguin when it only ends in pain? THE PAIN I FEEL FOR MY DEAD PARENTS!"

As the thug drifts off into unconsciousness, he dreams of the delightful torte Penguin brought back to the lair last week. "Just a tiny something," the little man coo'd. "Now dig in before the lemon zest fades."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:58 PM on October 15, 2014 [15 favorites]


The use of "Spellbound" just underscores for me why Gotham is my jam, and why it is not the jam of post-Nolan BatFans. Siouxsie and the Banshees is about as clear a shout-out to BatBurton (specifically Batman Returns) as you're gonna get. For me, I love that Batman and have found every subsequent cinematic iteration kind of a drag, which I know is not the prevailing nerd sentiment. So be it!

That said, this episode was not the show's best. The gang war doesn't really make sense, and the Crappy Anti-Deadshot was a baffling kind of Anton Chigurh, but crappy. I also am not crazy at all about the way the show is characterizing Renee Montoya. AT ALL.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:45 PM on October 15, 2014


If they're going for the Burton-Batman, then they need to get everyone on the same page. Too much trying to be everything to everybody - big scenery chewing like Burton! NO SMILES like Nolan! illogical plots like Schumach-wait! Skip that last one!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:19 PM on October 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


I am so so so so so sick of kiddie Bruce Wayne. Every time he's on screen I scream at him, "NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU, BRUCE! MOAR HOT JIM GORDON!"
posted by Jacqueline at 9:05 PM on October 15, 2014


Apparently - and who knows if they'll ever address it, but I hope they do, because it's maybe the thing that interests me the most about this show right now! - something about Gotham, as it already exists without either of those two factors, breeds a particularly "creative" type of criminal insanity already.

Calling it now: like Buffy lived at the Hellmouth, it turns out Gotham was built on the Crimemouth - a portal between Earth and crime.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:14 AM on October 16, 2014 [7 favorites]


Siouxsie and the Banshees is about as clear a shout-out to BatBurton (specifically Batman Returns) as you're gonna get.

For all that I've been calling the new Penguin "based on Danny Devito" since episode one, I hadn't put that together until you said that. It makes more sense of what I think of as the unevenness of the tone than anything else I've read.
posted by immlass at 10:18 PM on October 18, 2014


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