TV Review | Gotham 1.09 ‘Harvey Dent’

1.09 bruce and catOriginal UK Air date: 8th December 2014

This Week on Gotham…

During a prisoner transfer, insane bomb-maker Ian Hargrove is kidnapped by the Russian Mob. The group force him to help them rip off Carmine Falcone, as revenge for their then-boss Nikolai’s death. The Russians and Gotham City PD end up in a stand off, which ends when Butch Gilzean (loyal to Fish Mooney) blows up the armoured truck that had been carrying Falcone’s cash. In the aftermath, the Mayor announces the re-opening of Arkham Asylum so that the city can house those that are criminally insane – Hargrove is among the initial detainees.

Elsewhere…

– Young, unpredictable DA Harvey Dent suspects Dick Lovecraft of being behind the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. He subsequently hatches a plot with Gordon to catch him.
– Gordon moves Selina to stay with the Bruce at Wayne Manor while he follows up on the Lovecraft lead.
– After discovering that Liza is Fish’s mole last week, Oswald makes contact with her.
– Gordon attempts to reconcile with Barbara, not knowing that she has returned to Renee Montoya.

The Verdict…

It was another mixed bag from Gotham this week, with Harvey Dent being functional rather than thrilling.

In a way reminiscent to Selina Kyle earlier this season, Harvey Dent (Nicholas D’Agosto) was surprisingly sparsely used in an episode named for him. To clarify, he is in a fair few scenes, but he is rarely given the spotlight within them. As such, D’Agosto was fine in the role, but didn’t really do anything to steal the show.

Dent and Gordon’s storyline seemed a little… contrived. After getting relatively nowhere on the Wayne murder case, Gordon suddenly hooks up with a flash DA (that has yet to be mentioned to date), who has his own theory that links the whole thing to businessman Dick Lovecraft (Al Sapienza) – another character who has yet to be mentioned until now. It’s not the smoothest of plot transitions. Also, Dent’s idea to leak that they have a witness linking Lovecraft to the killer is reckless and borderline silly.

Our main storyline this week forms part of the set up for the inevitable gang warfare to come (at a guess, part way through the second half of the series). Bent on revenge for Nikolai’s killing, new Russian Mob boss Gregor Kasyanov (Steve Cirbus) is easily manipulated by Fish Mooney into ripping off Falcone. They need a specialist to complete the job, so they spring/kidnap notorious bomber Ian Hargrove (Leslie Odom Jnr.) out of prison. Investigating the escape/kidnapping of Hargrove, the GPD manage to catch up to the mob just as they are about to make their escape with a whole heap of Falcone’s hard-swindled money. After a brief, tense, stand off, the swag filled truck explodes, the mobsters are either subdued, killed or escape and Hargrove is taken back into custody. It is revealed that Fish’s right hand man Butch is the bomber, and that Fish planned all along to blow up the truck – she simply wanted to strike a body blow to Falcone, whilst keeping herself in the clear.

On the whole, this was generally well done. Fish’s conspiracies are getting more elaborate, and that will surely be her downfall. As for the guest stars, Cirbus doesn’t get much out of Kasyanov (it is pretty blandly written role), but Odom Jnr. does well in his portrayal of Hargrove – a bomber with a conscience. The only thing that hurt it a little was that, despite all this being to hurt Falcone, the man himself is not seen at all in the episode. This is curious decision, as he seems to be the ultimate focus of the heist. It’s a bit of a lost opportunity.

For a little while, Oswald has now been relegated to the tertiary plot and – as such – has fewer scenes than would be liked. Still, Robin Lord Taylor rules those precious scenes he does get. He confronts Liza’s duplicity, ordering her to go along with Fish’s plan for now – but to remember that she now answers to him. The scene was simple, but effective.

The few scenes with Bruce and Selina were a positive too. It was nice to see Bruce acting more like a child his age, and the two do have good chemistry together. Hopefully we’ll get more plotlines likes this, as opposed to incessantly bashing us over the head with foreshadowing of who he becomes later on (the first half of the series was quite guilty of this). Sean Pertwee has been great as Alfred in the past few weeks, as this episode is no exception.

Finally, we got a throwaway scene at the end where Gordon leaves Barbara an answer phone message, only for us to see that she is in bed with Montoya… does anyone actually care anymore? Can we just skip Barbara’s involvement and move Gordon on to his more famous, second wife already?

On the whole, a hit-and-miss episode, but not bad.

3/5

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