Gotham: Rogues' Gallery
January 6, 2015 2:11 PM - Season 1, Episode 11 - Subscribe

Gordon brings in Bullock to investigate mysterious assaults inside Arkham Asylum. Selina helps out a friend in need. The Penguin oversteps his bounds and gets his wings clipped.
posted by Small Dollar (12 comments total)
I've begun to suspect that this show doesn't need better writers so much as better story editors, if only to stem the tide of implausible plot contrivances. For instance, any editor who was even half awake would have called BS on the second-act "twist" with Allyce Beasley's nurse turning out to be an inmate. Why wouldn't Gordon (or any of the other characters, for that matter) have already known that? That's not a twist, it's a cheat.

The same goes for the ham-handed handling of the BarbToya relationship, which thus far has existed solely to make both characters seem alternately awful and/or blitheringly dense. And the less said about Barbara getting completed punked TGIF-sitcom style by Ivy over the phone, the better.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall in the Gotham writers' room, if only to see what ideas (if any) actually get shot down.
posted by Strange Interlude at 3:42 PM on January 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

I only watched about 15 minutes of this. Enough time to wish the Warden would've busted out a "sheeeeiiiiiiiit!" and to pine for Firefly.
posted by nubs at 4:26 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Arkham stuff (even with the idiotic double twist) was pretty good and trashy. The Penguin, Ivy / Selina, Barbara stuff was not good and (at best) felt like treading water and reminding the viewer that they exist. The Fish Mooney plot-line was OK, although it didn't seem to go anywhere and ended with an anticlimax. I guess, in other words, it would be nice if each episode would stick to mostly (maybe 50-50) a single plot-line instead of trying to stuff one decent story alongside four bad ones. At least they didn't cram Bruce in there.
posted by codacorolla at 5:05 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'd love to be a fly on the wall in the Gotham writers' room, if only to see what ideas (if any) actually get shot down.

Agreed. I've never been so curious to hear episode commentary. Gotham isn't merely awful, it's *fascinatingly* awful. I really am curious what they're going to do next.
posted by mordax at 9:06 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I am so glad it's back from winter break. Really enjoyed Bullock this ep.
posted by davidmsc at 11:01 PM on January 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

Really enjoyed Bullock this ep.

This is certainly true: Bullock killed it this week. Who knew he would ever be the coolest thing in a story set in Gotham city?
posted by mordax at 12:39 PM on January 7, 2015

Butch just got way more interesting and I think the Bullock/Jim relationship is finding it's rhythm nicely. I thought the Arkham stuff was a fun riff on old murder mysteries and enjoyed that every character Jim interacted with was played as having been guilty, and I enjoy how distinctive the bodies and faces of all the all of the side characters are made to look and are being cast.

Why wouldn't Gordon (or any of the other characters, for that matter) have already known that? That's not a twist, it's a cheat.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:42 PM on January 6 [1 favorite +] [!]

It's not great writing admittedly but actually this still holds one of two ways:

1. Jim does know that she is an inmate albeit with special privileges for good behavior/because the Asylum is understaffed, and does not begin to suspect her until the records business/ Bullock calls to tell him Lang has accused her. the only evidence we have that Jim does not have this information is the scene in which Bullock calls Jim to warn him, but Jim shouts "I know" when Bullock says the nurse is a patient, and the scene where the forensic guy gives Bullock, Jim and the captain her backstory, which he could have easily been presenting to Bullock and the Captain, Jim may also not have gotten to her record yet and not known what her original conviction was and may have been getting that piece of information.

2. Lang is keeping this information from Gordon because he's been working with her so long he now thinks of the Nurse as a harmless colleague and/or is fucking with Gordon. Everyone else has been there 5 years and already knows her backstory.

I believe that #2 is the story the writers were trying to tell, which to you doesn't make sense (also because they're writing it fast and loose) because it's information Jim would need to do his job effectively, however it's clear that Jim is not meant to do his job effectively he is meant to be run out of the system. So it's possible that this information was kept from him because the Nurse is an easily managed patient so if she "escapes" due to Jim it's an easy way to fire him and flush him out of the system.
posted by edbles at 8:49 AM on January 9, 2015

My take on the nurse plot was that Arkham is being so poorly run that they don't even really know their staff, and that she got lost in the administrative chaos of Clay Davis. It does fit with the requirements of living in Gotham being either 1) criminally stupid or 2) an actual criminal or 3) both.
posted by codacorolla at 10:11 AM on January 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I don't think Lang was in on any plot to run Jim out of town. My impression was Lang was so far out of the loop that if anything he might have been afraid that Jim was secretly there to run him out of town. Lang didn't want the GCPD involved because he knew it would only expose how badly run Arkham really was. I'd have to watch the episode again, but it's not clear to me Lang even knew the nurse was a patient.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:19 AM on January 10, 2015

This episode was mostly terrible, the whole Arkham story was insultingly dumb. Fun to see the moment when we learn Fish isn't going to survive the season though. At least, I think that's what the point of all that was. It seems a little rushed that Penguin's going to win and be on top after one season but, well, who else do they have?
posted by Nelson at 5:07 PM on January 16, 2015

I've always seen the story arc of this season as being the Penguin's rise to power, and the dawn of a new era of "weird-crime" for Gotham. If he doesn't, the season doesn't really have any other runners to hang a finale on. Certainly, there's zero stakes to the Gordon/Barbara relationship, Gordon is too in the shit to get promoted to Commissioner this early, Bruce can't get too much closure on his parents' murder, and none of the other iconic Gotham villains are in a position to do much of anything yet. So for better or worse, Penguin is going to have to step up to the task of putting a button on Gotham S01.

I really appreciate having FanFare to post on about this show, because I have to confess it's been kind of a masterclass in promising, yet altogether flawed storytelling. Picking the things that it's doing right out from the stuff that it's getting wrong is a marvelous creative exercise, and I'm grateful to have such smart people to do it with.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:28 PM on January 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

I don't usually comment because I'm way behind (as you might guess, since I just watched episode last night), but holy cats was that terrible. Although, as several people have already expressed, at least it's terrible in a way that's interesting to think about.

Why do the writers throw Montoya and Barbara back together again and then break them up literally an episode later? I take it we're supposed to read that they've been falling back into their mutually-destructive addict relationship, given Montoya's speech, but spend at least a scene or two on it if you're going to insist we have this plotline at all. Why don't the writers ever want to fucking show their work or spend a few episodes exploring the status quo before they reverse it (and then reverse it again in the next episode?) Why is Gordon presumably back on the force in another two episodes ("Welcome Back, Jim Gordon")?

How much time has passed, anyway? Is Jim not living at his/Barbara's place anymore? I think everything after Bullock shows up was supposed to take place over the course of a day or so, but Selina notes that the penthouse hasn't been inhabited for a while. We know Barbara's been with Montoya, but is Gordon just living at Arkham? Crashing on Bullock's couch?

Why did Butch decide to stay loyal to Fish? That was a pretty by-the-numbers mob plot executed reasonably competently, but without any context for why Butch is in the tank for Fish to begin with (he thinks she's a foregone conclusion to be the next boss? He thinks she'll be an easy mark to overthrow? He has a grudge against Falcone? He's in love with her? We don't know! We don't even have any particular reason to argue for one or another!), it's pretty meaningless. The seams on the mob stuff are really starting to show the more they move the focus off of Fish; it was never stellar, but Jada Pinkett Smith at least made it entertaining.

While we're at it, Essen and Bullock being all ride or die for Gordon because he...didn't kill Penguin and brought down a massive headache on both of them is also baffling, but it's still more interesting than the "Jim Gordon: only upright man on the force, alone and friendless" from the start of the season, so I'll call it a win. We still, 13 episodes in, don't have any idea what drives Gordon to be such a fucking paladin anyway or why he came to Gotham or why he's latched so hard onto the Wayne murders, but at least we got a sideways nod to his military service this episode, so that's what'll have to pass for character development.

Whose bright idea was it to let an inmate wander around pretending to be doing the same job she was in when she murdered a lot of people, and why didn't anyone object or at least bother to mention that to Gordon? Why did we even need that "twist" in the first place when the writers could've just as easily said she was a staff member who got hijacked by Gruber?

Was this supposed to be like a two-hour Season 2 premiere before the season order got extended because if this was supposed to be twice as long that might make sense.
posted by kagredon at 1:44 PM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

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