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Gotham Hits a Low Point in "Arkham"

Mike Hoffman | 14 Oct 2014 18:15
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The Hitman:

Gordon and Bullock are the only two detectives put on the case of a murdered councilman, and even though Bullock wisely points out that killing government officials isn't worth the money (it's cheaper to buy them rather than paying off their replacements), it still turns out to be an assassination. The detectives catch a break by asking a random, unnamed character in a prison, "Hey, you know a guy that stabs people?"

It's all very straightforward yet inexplicable, especially when Gordon and Bullock learn the guy is working an office job for some reason. Maybe to maintain his cover? It wraps up with a simple, boring fight scene that doesn't send Kae-Kazim off as well as he deserves. Still, we get a lot of Richard Kind as Gotham City's sleazy mayor, and he's just fantastic.

What's up with Arkham?

Hinted at for a few episodes, Arkham is both the name of the city's former asylum as well as a district nearby. Currently, crime lords Salvatore Maroni and Carmine Falcone are fighting over building contracts for it, which are being voted on by council members. So, they each hire the same hitman to kill the other's councilman.

The Wayne family was working to demolish and rebuild Arkham to be a proper mental health facility (remember, Bruce's dad was a doctor in the source material). All this serves to bring us back to the moment that started it all: the murder of the Waynes. In the end, Falcone and Maroni each get a bit of what they both wanted: renovations to the current asylum and the district to be turned into low-income housing and waste disposal (Gotham City sucks, just in case you didn't get it by now).

In the Houses of Falcone and Maroni:

The compromised deal for Arkham will leave Falcone's grip on Gotham City weakened (for some reason), and his subordinate, Fish Mooney, is preparing for the change. She intends to take over the city, and that apparently means holding auditions. After hearing young women sing, she tests their abilities of seduction and has them beat the crap out of each other. The whole thing plays out awkwardly and hints that maybe Gotham should stay away from complex gender issues.

Meanwhile, Cobblepot is infiltrating Maroni's operation quite well, while offering to help Gordon along the way. Cobblepot likely believes he is truly the best thing for Gotham City, which would explain why he's helping Gordon, but he's not afraid to get his hands dirty. The story plays out predictably, especially when he offers canoli to some fellow criminals but doesn't dig in. (What?! They're poisoned?!) As simply as it all plays out, Robin Lord Taylor (Cobblepot) and David Zayas (Maroni) are fantastic and I really look forward to seeing more of both characters in the future, even with all the problems the show has.

Jim Gordon is terrible at relationships.

The episodes ends with the completely unemotional breakup of Gordon and his fiancé, Barbara Kean. It feels like Gotham was trying to do something emotional there, but it should probably just stay away from that area. When Gordon gets angry about Barbara's past relationship with Montoya, it's because Montoya is harassing him about Cobblepot, and not because she's a woman (thank god Gotham didn't go that route).

Bottom Line: "Arkham" is the worst this show has given us so far. Let's hope it stays that way.

Recommendation: If you were thinking about dropping this show from your schedule, after this episode I wouldn't blame you. Check back with us next week, we'll tell you if it gets any better.

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