Review: Gotham, Season 1, Episode 17: Red Hood (Prince of Thieves?!?)

gotham

(SPOILERS AHEAD)

“You’re doing great folks”

‘Red Hood’ was another over-stuffed episode of Gotham. There was quite a lot to admire about it, but quite a lot that didn’t need screen time. Fish Mooney’s and (oddly) The Penguin’s screen time felt unnecessary and forced. They both dragged out storylines that could have been resolved in a better-structured episode. The main storyline of the ‘Red Hood’ gang was squandered, due to the short duration it was given. However, we delved a little into Alfred’s past, and a storyline involving Bruce Wayne actually rewarded us!

A bank heist, a criminal cracking jokes and causing anarchy…the beginning of The Dark Knight, or ‘Red Hood?’ Another Gotham, another potential Joker…who is killed off in the first ten minutes. He shows off his homemade ‘red hood’ in a scene reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan scene in Django Unchained (almost word for word…), and says it is lucky. Sure, in the following bank heist, a security guard misses at him with six gunshots. However, he isn’t lucky when Carl Destro, the would-be-leader, shoots him dead. It’s not that lucky, then, is it? The Robin Hood aspect of the episode was downplayed, at a time when the story would resonate with the masses. We all hate bankers! So why not string out the story of a criminal gang robbing banks to give to the poor (and to themselves, of course)? It’s another plot to give us the origin of a supervillain. And it feels that’s the only reason for it. Why not weave it in to existing storylines? Harvery says “when crooks become more popular than cops, that’s anarchy.” Why not explore that a little bit more? But no, got to make room for other story lines…

As always, Gordon and Harvery’s investigation is mixed up with all the other storylines, given short thrift. They give us some humour in an otherwise humourless episode, however. Fish still doesn’t get to see the man in charge of the basement. We find out his name, however…Mr. Dulmacher. Wait, that sounds familiar…Dulmacher…Dollmaker, perhaps?!?! Her story still feel drawn out and pointless. The only plus was the spectacular eye-gouging scene. Rather than have her eyes donated to Dulmacher, Fish takes a teaspoon and scoops her own eye out. Rather cleanly, considering she used a teaspoon. I hope it isn’t that easy to gouge your eye out with a teaspoon…A gruesome and memorable moment, the highlight of her dreary storyline. Skip to the end?

Stop trying to hit me and hit me!
Stop trying to hit me and hit me!

“Your appearance can be a weapon, as powerful as any knife or gun”

Penguin, for the second episode in a row, gets another dull storyline. A comedian fails at his club, he runs out of liquor, and Butch helps him find some liquor (at the expense of Maroni). That’s it…AND Barbara comes onto Selina…or was it just me who thought that? We know she’s a lesbian, but coming on to Selina…just wrong! Selina thought what I was thinking, and runs away. Oh Barbara, you always get the short end of the stick. Another dollop of screen time that could have been used elsewhere.

However, where the episode really brought up the goods was (for once!) Bruce’s story. Reggie, an old army ‘friend’ of Alfred’s, comes knocking at the Wayne Mansion on a cold and rainy night. His interactions with Bruce later on are a sign that Gotham CAN do subtlety. Reggie goads Bruce to punch him, and tells Bruce to use his surroundings in a fight…much like a certain Ra’s al Ghul, perhaps?!?!? Apart from a silly scene where Alfred allows Bruce and Reggie to drink, even though Reggie is a self-confessed alcoholic (that’s sensible, Alfie!), this storyline didn’t falter too much. We learned a little bit more about Alfred’s past. And the ending really brings an emotional punch. Reggie stabs Alfred, and while we know he won’t die, Bruce’s reaction almost brings a tear to the eye. It’s followed by the revelation the the Wayne Enterprise’s Board of Directors paid Reggie to investigate Bruce Wayne. A great twist that I didn’t see coming!

VERDICT: 7/10. Another over-stuffed episode of Gotham. A few of the storylines were only there to remind us of certain character’s existence, much to the detriment of other storylines. However, Bruce Wayne’s storyline packs an emotional punch, and elevates the whole episode.

(Click here for my review of Episode 16: The Blind Fortune Teller)

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