Gotham: The Balloonman (EPISODE REVIEW)


Episode three of the new series gives us our first taste of vigilantism in the city of Gotham, misguided as it may have been. But as the initial jolts of awesome character introduction begin to wane as the season starts to settle, the plot grows thin and the villains are at their zany peek. This week’s vigilantist murderer, the Balloonman, finds a nifty way of killing individuals by tying them up to weather balloon and letting them drift into the atmosphere.

Yes, this is as silly as it sounds. Along with the petty criminals bombarding the streets, and Oswald Cobblepot’s insanity, Gotham already feels like it’s gone to Arkham. For the sake of dissecting how silly it gets, let’s just derail this review a bit and marvel at how nobody knew what happens to weather balloons when they reach a certain altitude – they pop. And the fact that one of those dead men comes out of the sky to land on an old lady? Interesting writing. Why is it that when Jim Gordon grabs ahold of the man being lifted into the air by the balloon, it appears to carry him up as well, at double the speed?

One storyline I am enjoying thoroughly is that of Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth. Pertwee does a better job at capturing this version of Pennyworth than in either of the previous two episodes, making him not only a caretaker, but a good friend. I love his energy, and his sparring session with Bruce was a highlight of the episode. How they didn’t break anything is beyond me. As much as I loved this entire interaction though, I will point out they may be laying on the fact that Bruce is well on his way to vigilantism himself too much. He understands the fine difference between being a true hero and a criminal it seems though, so that’s a good step in the right direction. Also, what’s up with Wayne Manor only having that one room? Show us more!

I really don’t like Barbara (soon-to-be) Gordon at this point. They haven’t given me enough information on her to really care, but they tease at this intense past life she lived. We are again teased at her previous relationship with the female detective, but this scene felt a bit forced and invasive to the episode as a whole. Also, are we to assume she just hangs out at home all day, getting high? Does Gordon know about it? How does she mask that smell? She does mention she has a meeting, but we see none of this.

The show’s most impressive performance thus far would undoubtedly be Robin Lord Taylor’s portrayal of Oswald Cobblepot (aka the Penguin). He’s just so very insane, so unnecessarily creepy, that it just works. The makeup they put on him gives him the constant air of looking as if he’s contracted the flu, or that he took a swim in arctic water. It’s all around so well done. He’s going to be a great character. And he already kills without abandon. I will mention that the state Gotham is in, it’s so far beyond saving. It really is rotten to the core. It might be best for Bruce to help out elsewhere.

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