This week on Gotham: Our detectives investigate a “Fight Club” in Gotham’s financial district. Meanwhile Gordon continues to butt heads with his fellow officers. Liza begins to have second thoughts and Bruce gets into a fight at school.
I think this is my favorite episode of “Gotham” to date. The acting and scripting were superb while the “Batman Mythos” was deeply ingrained into the heart of the story. Furthermore, this was the first episode to have an overarching theme that connected “Gotham’s” very different characters with each other. Finally, “The Mask” was not filler but rather developed the relationship between the plot, the characters and the city itself. So let’s take a look at some highlights.
1. Richard Sionis
I have always been a fan of Black Mask because he represented both the “old” and the “new” Gotham. That is to say, he is both the traditional gangster and completely insane. Thus to see him come to life in a live-action iteration was very exciting. To be clear, the character in this episode is not Black Mask (Roman Sionis), but presumably his father. Nonetheless, Richard dons an “black mask” as he pits applicants to his financial firm against each other in a fight to the death. The characterization of Sionis was spot on: a successful financier who views business as combat, and gets a little carried away. Todd Stashwick portrays the character perfectly, unfortunately, the mask he wears is a little…ridiculous.
While I understand the designers were trying to emulate an East Asian style, presenting Sionis as a student of Sun Tzu; the “Fu Manchu” mustache was over the top to say the least. Despite the aesthetic flaws, the mask is significant because it will serve as the precursor to Roman’s own. Though we may never see him within the context of the show, the stage is clearly set for Black Mask.
2. Tommy Elliot
Hush has had an amazing impact on the Batman community. The biggest new villain since Bane in the early 90s, Hush was very well received by fans and critics in 2002. Therefore, I was was not surprised that young Tommy Elliot made an appearance on “Gotham.” What did surprise me was his characterization. In the comics Tommy and Bruce are best friends, however in “The Mask” Tommy is Bruce’s bully. While Tommy is depicted as a true sociopath, I can’t help feeling that something is missing. The most important part of Batman and Hush’s relationship was that they were best friends, which is what makes their battle so difficult for the Dark Knight. By making Tommy “Bruce’s bully”, that emotional conflict is immediately dissolved. Even still, we do not know how the show will progress, and perhaps they will become friends. Either way, these two will be interacting with each other very soon.
“Gotham” continues to surprise me. I keep expecting it to dip in quality but it has been steadily improving. The plot is getting tighter, the characters are far more interesting. While I am very happy for the success I wonder how long it will last. After all, the next episode could “flip” either way.