Gotham: Selina Kyle
September 30, 2014 6:10 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

A kidnapping ring is targeting Gotham's street children, including Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Cat, a witness to the Wayne murders.
posted by Small Dollar (33 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have to wonder if kid versions of King Tut, Egghead, Clayface, etc were all on that bus to the shipping yard also.
posted by doctornecessiter at 6:33 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Enjoyed this one much better than the pilot, even though many of the same concerns remained. I think Penny Arcade really nailed the name-dropping concern (references to Cobblepot walking like a penguin, Kyle wanting to be called "Cat" for absolutely no apparent reason, etc.). What's the point of an alias if not to hide something (like the fact you're a catburglar in your spare time)?

The AV Club reviewer still has an issue with the conflicting tone, but that doesn't bother me as much this time. I have problems with the heavy-handed Nolan-style ultrarealism, but I want a more serious portrayal than the camp 60s style (although both are OK in smaller doses). I think they're still working on that balance, but I do like that it reflects both.

Love Richard Kind as the Mayor. He's neither corrupt nor incompetent, but he shows there's a systemic problem in Gotham so it's not just about a crime wave. Although we do need to actually see evidence of this crime war that's supposedly going on soon, rather than just watching the infighting in one gang.

They're trying to advance a whole bunch of plotlines (Alfred/Bruce, Jim/Barbara, gang wars, Cobblepot Yay Carole Kane, Bullock/Gordon, the other police investigators that I can't remember right now...) at the same time, giving short shrift to pretty much all of them. Had they started with fewer they could focus better and build the world more, and then add in the others as they become more established.

A good episode, but still not sold that they're going to pull this off.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:56 AM on September 30, 2014


Another entry in the senseless name-dropping file: Big "TRIDENT TRANSPORTATION SERVICES" (or whatever) billboard in the opening scene. It was so obvious that I spent some time wondering Is that an Aquaman reference that I don't get...?, but as soon as the logo on the truck was described, the Plot Anvil crashed down on me.

Best MSTwatching line from my spouse: "Boy, the lead singer from fun. is really going dark..."

All in all, this episode was good enough. I appreciate how they keep expanding on how completely corrupt every aspect of Gotham is. Everyone but Gordon just takes it as a given that the mob really runs the place.
posted by Etrigan at 7:37 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm looking forward to the oral history of how this show was developed. The tone conflict mentioned in the AV Club article really weakens the foundation of the entire show. What I can't figure out is if the chocolate is in the peanut butter or vice versa. Did the show start out Super Serious Nolan style, but due to the success of Sleepy Hollow and the Marvel movies, was commanded to become more campy? Or did it start out campy and have to try to get serious?

There are moments that show that the creators know what they're doing (usually when Falcone shows up - I'm more interested in the "special relationship" between the Falcones and the Waynes than I am in How The Penguin Got His Groove Back), but that makes the constant stumbles even more annoying and distracting. Take the Riddler example in the PA comic above - missed in the sea of "yup yup I sure am the Riddler riddle riddle" last night was a nice moment of Nigma lingering too long while the rest of the cops discussed the case. Dude is awkward and wants to be involved/interact with people, but does not know how - so turning to crime would be a way of getting attention and being part of the discussion.

The writing is just plain bad. The cast is way too big (and not on the same page vis a vis camp vs serious), but still somehow missing key characters. For example, we all know Gordon becomes Commissioner some day... so where is the Commissioner now? What wasn't he/she involved with the Mayor's reaction to the Wayne murders or kidnappings?

I'm giving this show the same amount of time I gave Agents of Shield. I'd give it less if it wasn't the lead in to Sleepy Hollow. I might have to check out Flash on the WB, but I'm worried that the teen drama might end up doing it better.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:47 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think at this point, I'm mostly bothered by how the creators thought it would be a good idea to have 13-year-old Selina Kyle claw literally claw a man's eyes right out of his skull, and to treat it as a throwaway gag. I don't care how many times Selina's been in juvie, being forced to commit that level of violence should have both emotional and physical consequences for a kid. But sure enough, they show her in the next shot with clean hands and an unsullied conscience. In most of her incarnations, Catwoman has always been morally and ethically questionable (i.e. stealing from the rich to give to herself, avenging sexism and/or cruelty to animals by kicking people in the face), but she's never been a full-on psychotic sociopath, which seems to be where they're going with this version.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:58 AM on September 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


but she's never been a full-on psychotic sociopath, which seems to be where they're going with this version.

Penguin has rarely been as full-on psychotic sociopath as he is in this version, either, but yeah, that scene was a pretty abrupt "OH HEY THIS IS SOME GRIMDARK SHIT WE GOT GOIN' ON HERE INNIT."
posted by Etrigan at 8:07 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm just glad that the story paid off Selina's presence at the Wayne murders. Last week I thought she was there just so the creators could point out "See? DESTINY!" at the audience, but if she actually tells the GCPD she was there and saw it go down, it ties into the actual story in a hopefully worthwhile way. They're playing a long game with us here and not everything that happens is heavily foreshadowed.

I also liked Bruce sneaking up on Gordon and Alfred and being chastised for that. At the rate Bruce is testing himself and exploring his limits already though, I still worry he'll end up prowling the streets as a vigilante by the end of the season for one disastrous night.

How much ya wanna bet that Fish Mooney makes her move for power by season's end, fails, is killed off, and that's what really starts the major mob wars in Gotham. By trying to seize the Falcone throne, she posthumously causes the power vacuum that gives rise to the real freaks.
posted by Servo5678 at 8:25 AM on September 30, 2014


Don't care about Bruce Wayne, interested in the others. Still a bit all over the place tone and direction wise, but decent enough to keep watching.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:31 AM on September 30, 2014


I wish the camera just started following the group that was sitting at the table next to Fish when she started yelling for everyone to get out. They must know all the good places in Gotham.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:12 AM on September 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's a bit of a hot mess at the moment, isn't it? Really, they could drop the Bruce/Alfred/Wayne Murders stuff right now and it wouldn't be missed - give us Gordon, Falcone/Fish, and Cobblepot. Gordon can work on the mystery of the week, which might tie in with those other two storylines (or be a chance to give us a glimpse of someone else - like Selena Kyle), but I want to see Gotham in a slow boil towards big problems that Gordon can see but is helpless to stop...and then, boom! Batman drops the Falcone family and starts darting over rooftops.

Even for that, though, I can't help but feel they've started too early - Bruce is too young and they have to get things moving. In my version, Gordon is a veteran detective - he's been around, knows the corruption, and is haunted by the Wayne murders that happened back when he was a rookie detective and that he was never able to solve. The season builds towards the Falcone/Fish war, and then this Cobblepot guy starts making trouble when all of a sudden this giant bat-man starts beating up thugs...

I'm going to keep giving it a chance, but I'm worried about it. It feels like they don't trust the audience and have to elbow us in the ribs every few minutes with a "Hey! Didja catch that? Didja?"
posted by nubs at 9:19 AM on September 30, 2014


What would be nice is if the Bruc Wayne story is still there, but we never, ever see Bruce. We hear about him, Alfred drops by every now and then to see if there's a break in the Wayne murders, but no Bruce.

There is a danger of showing too much in telling orgin stories and Gotham is doing exactly that with the Bruce Wayne plot. Don't show it, just let it brew in the background.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:34 AM on September 30, 2014 [7 favorites]


I kind of like the idea that Alfred is trying to bring in Gordon as something of a father figure to Bruce, even if it's arguably too soon after his parents' death to be doing that. I'm assuming that, formally, Alfred is or will soon be Bruce's adoptive father, but given that Alfred was the family servant, no matter how well trusted, he's never going to have the same authority over Bruce that most stepfathers would have.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:49 AM on September 30, 2014


I'm assuming that, formally, Alfred is or will soon be Bruce's adoptive father, but given that Alfred was the family servant, no matter how well trusted, he's never going to have the same authority over Bruce that most stepfathers would have.

That reminds me: when Gordon tells Bruce that money won't solve the homeless kids' problems, but having someone to help them out -- like Alfred, for instance -- I could not help but laaaugh. "Money won't help -- having a servant will, though."
posted by Etrigan at 10:30 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Even for that, though, I can't help but feel they've started too early - Bruce is too young and they have to get things moving.

Or, at least, do the Homicide version of the story and have the Waynes be Gordon's Adena Watson. I mean, the audience knows that the case will never be solved, so it shouldn't be the main thrust, but if they're going to play that card, there should be more emotion than they've gotten out of it. Laughably corrupt cops are laughably corrupt.

I can't shake the feeling that this show would be far more interesting if it followed anyone besides Bullock, Gordon and Bruce Wayne. Minor characters will pop up, and I'll be somewhat interested in them, even through the anvils. But when it's Gordon and Bullock, it falls apart. Lack of chemistry, lack of understanding about what their relationship is to each other, and I'm just stuck wishing that they were doing something, anything else with this setup.

And yes, less Bruce Wayne. Once or twice a season as a check in, maybe. Not every episode.

I'm giving it one more episode before checking out.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:35 AM on September 30, 2014


Namedropped Maroni this episode, who wil be played by one of my favorite character actors later on. I don't like this turn with Falcone.

I agree with everyone else: trim it down, fewer characters, more time with each one.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:12 AM on September 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


I may start calling Bruce by a different name: Anakin. 'Cause it's possible that Gotham will have the same affect on the Bat by showing him as a kid.

If you'v seen Guardians of the Galaxy, consider how the scene of a drunk Rocket Raccon, which lasted all of a minute or two tops, perfectly summed up his background and explained his background.

Now compare that with the amount of screen time Bruce Wayne has gotten. Do we really need to see him testing himself and what not? Didn't Batman Begins already cover a lot of that?

Origin stories can work and it's possible that the young Bruce Wayne plot could develop into something good. Hell, it's only the second episode, most shows need a bit of time to find their legs. But what I've seen so far isn't encouraging. But we'll see.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:35 AM on September 30, 2014


That's an interesting pick for Maroni. Zayas is aces at pinning someone down with a stare that says "I will have your entire family killed tonight and not even think about it tomorrow."
posted by Etrigan at 11:35 AM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


That quick scene of Bruce listening to metal and drawing violent images was hilariously blunt, like a Far Side cartoon of young orphan Bruce Wayne. I don't think they could have come up with a less subtle shorthand for "troubled youth".
posted by doctornecessiter at 11:51 AM on September 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


DARKNESS. NO PARENTS. SUPER RICH. KINDA MAKES IT BETTER.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:53 AM on September 30, 2014 [11 favorites]


Okay, maybe I'd be interested in teenage Bruce's secret diary. Maybe.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:43 PM on September 30, 2014


Namedropped Maroni this episode, who wil be played by one of my favorite character actors later on.

As much as I like David Zayas (mostly because I empathized with how he was completely marooned by the writers on Dexter) I'm gonna go ahead and guess that the Gotham fandom is probably going to nickname him "Boss Mawoni".
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:44 PM on September 30, 2014


Like I said last time, I really like it and feel like I could -- could -- love it. I don't see a tone conflict at all; I think this is basically Nolan as camp, which is just fine by me. More to the point, this is much closer to the Tim Burton Batman, which is totally fine by me. BatNolan is a drag, man.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:40 PM on September 30, 2014


I'm still enjoying this! At this point, it seems pretty clear that the camp/cheese factor is a deliberate counterpoint to the Nolanesque 'realism', and I think once you accept it as a deliberate choice it works. Still not loving Catgirl, but Penguin is great. Nice to see Nigma dialled back a little too.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:03 AM on October 1, 2014


Penguin reminds me of young Sean Penn, in a good way, and not just the prosthetic nose...Mostly the voice.
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:06 AM on October 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


I liked this one more. I needed a new hilariously stupid start of the week show since the Strain is, mercifully, ending.

I'm sticking with my prediction that another force (perhaps, perhaps-not Ra's Al Ghul) force is going to try to turn Bruce's emo angst into a force for retributive evil, while Gordon and Alfred try to keep him on the right path.

Anyway, the way that they portray Alfred is... strange.
posted by codacorolla at 7:16 AM on October 1, 2014


Penguin reminds me of young Sean Penn, in a good way, and not just the prosthetic nose...Mostly the voice.

I can see that, but mostly Robin Lord Taylor's performance reminds me of Peter Lorre by way of Paul Reubens. Considering that Reubens played the Penguin's father in Batman Returns, I wonder if it's semi-intentional on either Taylor or the casting director's part.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:11 AM on October 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can't shake the feeling that this show would be far more interesting if it followed anyone besides Bullock, Gordon and Bruce Wayne

Nah, Gordon and Bullock is fine, it's a pretty classic (some might say cliche and overused) trope of idealistic young crusader and cynical grizzled pragmatist... I think Gotham just suffers from prequelitis: cramming in everything from you like from the original in improbable ways and a story on rails that requires all the players to end up at certain points by the end.

Smallville and Gotham (and I'm guessing Arrow and Flash) are basically Muppet Babies versions of your favorite DC characters. Whether that's good or bad is up to you.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:09 AM on October 2, 2014


I felt like this was pretty scattered but it was still pretty interesting. I'm hoping they'll even out the tone a little (it's a bit Temple of Doom) once it settles in, but I'm still in. I have friends who are already ready to bail.

Comparing it to Arrow, which took half a season to really click for me, is interesting. But Arrow is narrow-focus compared to Gotham, and the DC references have been, if not lighter-handed, more in service to a clear plot. It's going to take Gotham a while to get that clarity.
posted by immlass at 10:34 AM on October 2, 2014


I marathoned the first season of Arrow after being suspicious of its LOST-lite first few episodes, and I can see the comparisons here. I will say that Gotham has (relatively) high production values, and doesn't look like it's being shot on a sound stage in a warehouse with mood lighting. For the things that Arrow does well, production design is not one of them.
posted by codacorolla at 10:45 AM on October 2, 2014


My boyfriend said in this show Alfred comes off like a coke addict. I agree.

I will keep watching for a little while at least but I agree that lack of chemistry in the leads is really killing the show for me. I don't particularly like the actor playing Gordon, to be honest-- he's not like, gruff/charming enough? I need to like Gordon and right now he's just the troubled kid with the cute pout from the O.C.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:30 PM on October 2, 2014


Penguin has rarely been as full-on psychotic sociopath as he is in this version, either, but yeah, that scene was a pretty abrupt "OH HEY THIS IS SOME GRIMDARK SHIT WE GOT GOIN' ON HERE INNIT."

I dunno...the Penguin was conceived as a cold-blooded killer and psychopath who put on foppish, erudite airs to throw everyone off the track. His early Golden Age stories have him doing stuff like spraying folks in the face with acid umbrellas and starting his Gotham crimes by helping a mobster, then gunning him down and stealing his gang just because he can. The idea was something like W.C. Fields or some other comedy character turning out to be a front for someone like Al Capone or John Dillinger. His early appearances all end with him just barely managing to escape, and when he's finally captured, the end of the story gives us a newspaper headline showing that he's been sentenced to death. And this was well into the era of Robin the Boy Wonder!

Here, though, the foppish exterior isn't all there, so he's *just* a psycho when he does that sort of stuff. And he still works a lot better than Selina Kyle here.
posted by kewb at 4:19 PM on October 2, 2014


Nah, Gordon and Bullock is fine, it's a pretty classic (some might say cliche and overused) trope of idealistic young crusader and cynical grizzled pragmatist...

I get that's what they're going for - I just don't think they're hitting it. The conflict between them has mostly shown itself as a mild distaste, and that's not all that interesting to watch. Not to mention that Gordon hasn't really come off as idealistic to me - more gruff and anal. Bullock had more chemistry with Montoya in the three seconds they interacted than he's had with Gordon in two episodes.

Imagine that was the pairing (it'd make sense, after all - they're partners in Gotham Central)- you have the idealistic crusader versus the grizzled pragmatist, but they're on equal ground. Bullock has a lot more to fear from Montoya, and Montoya is a lot more likely to call Bullock out. Seems more interesting, right?

Hell, even Montoya and Gordon seems to work better - they're both the department do-gooders, but they don't trust each other, and still have different ways of going after their goals. Plus, the Barbara connection seems a lot less forced and awkward in that version.

Or follow any of the villains around, instead. The riddler would be kind of annoying, but I'd watch the Fish Mooney show. Or Penguin's rise to power.

Also, say what you will about Smallville, but that show lasted ten seasons. It had something going for it - even if that something was just the sheer amount of homoeroticism between Clark and Lex. And Gotham has a lot more room to explore than smallville - the show is mostly dealing with minor characters (or at least has the license to do so), and their main imperative is that they can't completely reform Gotham.

It might take a while to find its feet, but I remain skeptical for now.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:04 PM on October 2, 2014


I'm just starting to watch this show, so forgive me for being a month late, but so far it's campy good fun. It seems to strike the same silly tone as the original TV show only updated for modern edgy times with ultraviolence on screen being unremarkable. To me the only tone problem is Gordon, the not-quite-Russell-Crowe not-quite-Edward-Norton actor. He's too serious, I hope they soften him somehow.

Penguin is marvelous. So is Fish, although she's a bit in Eartha Kitt's shadow. This KittenGirl actress is pretty great too, even if someone set the eyes too far apart when they were designing her head model.

But mostly I wanted to give a big shout out to Lili Taylor, the henchwoman villainness of the week. I love that actress, if they can get someone of her quality for a walk-on every week it'll be great.
posted by Nelson at 9:14 PM on October 27, 2014


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