I wasn’t so hot on this episode if I’m being completely honest. The first half of episode 3 was rather stale, I didn’t get the buzz from it that I experienced with the previous episodes. Though the second half of the episode picked up a little and raised my opinion of the episode as a whole significantly the first 20 or so minutes, with the exception of the presence of The Balloonman were very generic.
The Balloonman was actually very unique, he was reminiscent of The Joker in that he utilised usually very trivial and comical items such as balloons as a means of committing horrible acts such as murder. However, I found it slightly difficult to take some of the scenes involving The Balloonman seriously given that he kills people by attaching them to balloons, however it may be that we are meant to take it in a way that isn’t entirely serious.
The action was fun this week which is something new as previously they have been incredibly dark and gritty. The fight scene which involved Harvey Bullock and James Gordon versus the two people in an apartment that were trying to resist arrest had comic elements to it. The interplay between Bullock and Gordon was once again sparky, especially scenes in which they are apprehending a criminal. These little moments can either be comical, if Gordon and Bullock struggle to apprehend someone in comic fashion or, very serious in which one of the detectives is close to being killed and the other must save them. Either way these little moments are bonding the two characters closer to a point of trust and possibly in the future a place of friendship.
This is more of a point about the series’ direction in general than the plot of the episode, I like the games Gordon is playing within the power structures of Gotham. Corruption is at the very core of the Gotham City Police Department, they are essentially working within the crime structures, cooperating with Carmine Falcone. Gordon knows to make a difference he must appear to the crime bosses and the police department that he is “with the program” therefore he pretends to kill The Penguin so that he does not anger Falcone while not betraying his morals.
A particularly interesting presence in this episode was the absolutely magnetic David Zayas as Sal Maroni, he is a fantastically written and acted character who has a lot of dramatic potential for future episodes. The characters Gotham creates can be fascinating or hate-inspiring depending on the effect they desire. For example Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen are the embodiment of annoyance. They are everywhere, constantly putting a spanner in the works, halting Gordon’s progression in his war against crime. In all seriousness I find the actual storyline relating to these two very annoying.
I feel like I have been overly negative about this episode so let me close with these positive points: The shots of Gotham’s skyline are again a visual treat, The Balloonman’s monologue about the power structure in Gotham as well as the following action scene was electric. Acting between big characters such as Fish Mooney and Carmine Falcone are enthralling, due to the brilliant acting which leaves much to subtext and subtleties in behaviour.
My final statement is this…though the episode was a bit thin on the ground when it comes to making Gotham feel like a living and breathing place the show succeeds every week. This week it was the social impact of the balloon killer noticeable in the vox pops and the dialogue that made Gotham seems like a real town.