After a series premiere that seemed to introduce one new character every minute, I questioned whether or not Gotham was going to be able to slow it down a bit to make the characters and story more accessible. Let’s find out if they were able to do so. Here is the recap/review of “Selina Kyle.”
The episode opens in the sitting room of Wayne Manor. Bruce is staring at a candle. He slowly begins to place his hand on the flame and holds it there, his face in agonizing pain. He is interrupted by Alfred, who demands that Bruce reveals what he is hiding behind his back. Upon seeing the burn on Bruce’s hand, Alfred begins to berate him, until he realizes what he is doing and grabs the boy and holds him tightly.
- I am ALWAYS a fan of the sarcastic Alfred, so while totally understand why he has to be the caring guardian here, I am going to geek out when he gives Bruce his first verbal comeuppance.
We catch a glimpse of the Gotham skyline (The city, not the show, so to use italics would be WRONG here, you grammar jerks), before the scene changes to Selina Kyle. She is in a run down part of the city (probably the show’s version of the Narrows) and is playing around with a necklace, kind of how a cat plays with a ball on a string. She is hanging out with, but not really, some other street kids. A truck pulls up, and two “missionaries” for lack of a better term, Patty and Doug, arrive with food for the kids. Selina decides not to indulge herself, which was a good idea, as Patty takes out a drugged needle and stabs two of the kids in the neck with it, dropping them both to the ground. A third kid is able to get away, but not before Doug shoots and kills a bum who tried to intervene. Doug chases and eventually catches the boy, but in the struggle throws him through the front window of a restaurant. Doug has no choice but to escape with Patty and the children they WERE able to capture.
- One of the kids referred to Selina as “Cat.” I am okay with it. While I want this to be its own show, there HAS to be nods to who these characters eventually become. Otherwise, where’s the fun?
The next morning, Jim Gordon is standing above the body of the bum who was shot the night before. He reaches down and notices the man is wearing dog tags. A veteran, just like Jim. Bullock walks up with coffee, but not before we notice Selina lurking on a nearby rooftop. It’s very similar to the scene from the last episode, with her hiding during the Wayne investigation. Gordon is wondering why they are the only cops at the scene, that they need to do something, to which Bullock replies that to find yet another criminal that shot a bum is like finding the tooth fairy. Finally, the on duty patrolman arrives. His reason for not being at the crime scene was because he was dealing with the kid that was thrown through the restaurant window. Since the restaurant gives the cop a kickback, it had first priority. This didn’t sit well with Gordon, especially since there could be a connection between the two crimes.
- I know that Gordon is one of the only few good cops on the force, but they don’t have to show him throwing down with people every single week because of it.
Back at GCPD, Gordon and Bullock are questioning the kid, Mackie, as he describes how his two friends were kidnapped. He reveals that this is NOT the first time something like this has happened. Kids have been disappearing off the street by the dozen, with no explanation. After some hard interrogation from Bullock, Mackie tells them to ask Cat, as she saw the whole thing. Gordon tries to calm Bullock down, who was ready to beat the “truth” out of Mackie. Bullock plays the hypocrite card, bringing up the fact that Gordon “killed” Oswald a few days before.
- The dialogue between Gordon and Bullock was MUCH better this episode. It was much more real. Last week’s episode seemed to use their fighting as exposition.
Oswald is walking down what looks to be a state route, 9 miles outside of the city. He is still in the same clothes, and is waddling along (I used that on purpose. I can be campy, too!). He tries to hitchhike, as it seems that he has been trying for some time without success. Finally, a car with what could be described as two “frat boys” pick Oswald up, but not before giving him a hard time getting into the car. After a few minutes on conversation, Oswald seems to have found some new friends. They even offered him a beer. This lasts for about 10 seconds, as one of the boys mentions how he was walking like a Penguin. Oswald reacted the same way any other person would. He broke his beer bottle and stabbed the boy in the neck with it.
- If this is the structure of the series, two arcs revolving around Gordon and Oswald respectively, then this series will do well. I have to problem with Bruce Wayne in the show, but he needs to be a supporting character to Jim’s arc. He doesn’t need one of his own. Not yet.
Back at GCPD, Bullock and Gordon are in Captain Essen’s office, arguing about when to bend the rules in Gotham. While discussing the validity of Mackie’s claims, Edward Ngyma interrupts with the result’s of Mackie’s blood test. He found traces of a high grade sedative in Mackie’s blood, a sedative that had not been used since Arkham Asylum closed years ago. After some protesting from Jim, Essen’s orders are to NOT leak this case to the press to avoid panic, even though getting the information out there could bring about some leads. This kidnapping happened on Mooney’s turf. They need to go talk to her, but Bullock wonders if “she’s still mad at them.”
- I know I can use the internet to find out, but did they make any mention last week that their captain was Sarah Essen? She’s still a cop, but her comic version is supposed to be a transfer that has an affair with Gordon. I am interested to see where this version is going to go. Also, they are reporting to a Captain. Where is the Commissioner? Does Gordon become such a good cop they create the position for him? This is geek speak, and is not taking away from the episode.
At Mooney’s club, an all woman rock band is playing, and the club seems to be at capacity. She is joined at her table by Carmine Falcone, who wants to have a talk. He says that before he had Oswald killed, he confessed that Mooney was trying to make a play and take Falcone down. She of course denies it, but he still sends a message, having her bartender/boy-toy beaten to a pulp in front of her. After their “civil conversation” concludes, Mooney finally breaks and has the club cleared out.
- Jada Pinkett’s over the top performance is one of the things I REALLY like about this show. It’s campy and subdued at the same time, not going overboard to where it’s a cartoon. I did notice that this episode she seemed to channel her inner Eartha Kitt.
A woman with a thick accent is now talking, fawning over Oswald. Montoya and Allen are at the home of Oswald’s mother, trying to determine the whereabouts of their missing snitch.
- Carol Kane is playing this role well. She makes it easy to see where Oswald gets his “idiosyncrasies”
Back a Mooney’s club, she and Butch are discussing how she tried too early to take out Falcone. For now, she will bide her time, but when all is said and done, it will be HER that kills “the old man.”
Oswald drives up to a farm in the frat boy’s SUV, Gotham City well visible in the background. He inquires about the trailer for rent at the front of the property. He is wearing the clothes of one of the boys, trying to pass as normal. Oswald and the Farmer exchange money and pleasantries, Oswald trying to hide the body wrapped in plastic in the back seat. The Penguin now has his “home base.”
The two kids from the beginning of the episode finally wake up (I hope this isn’t real time. It’s been quite a bit.) They are in some sort of basement, with a few of the other kidnapping victims. Just to add to their fear, there is a pit in the middle of room, the bottom as dark as the one in 300.
- I am sure that pit will NOT be used later in the episode. They will just pretend it’s not there. Mark my words.
Bullock and Gordon finally go to see Mooney, and they let bygones be bygones as best they can. She has a new-found respect for Jim, since he’s the one that took out Oswald. They ask her about the kidnappings. She knows that a buyer overseas is in the market for children of all ages, regardless of looks. Gordon pushes about the identity of the buyer, to which Mooney HIGHLY implies that he should let that go for now.
At Barbara’s apartment, Jim is talking to her about the case. She brings up how corrupt the system is, and tries to get Jim to confess what he is hiding from her. He denies any secrets. The more Barbara knows, the more dangerous it can be for her. She asks why they don’t go to the press, and decides to take matters into her own hands and calls in an anonymous tip.
Captain Essen is NOT pleased with the headline of the Gotham Gazette the next day. She demands to know if either Bullock or Gordon leaked the story to the press. They both truthfully denied leaking the story. The duo are able to track the drug to three different distributors in the city, and set off to investigate each one.
Doug and Patty are at one of the distributors, obviously the one they are using (C’mon guys, it’s pretty easy to keep up). While the kids are being held captive in the basement, the owner of the shop argues with the couple over how much for the rest of the drug. The negotiations come to a halt as Bullock and Gordon arrive with a search warrant. Knowing they have been caught, Doug and Patty start a fire fight and escape. Gordon and Bullock save the children, but not before shooting one of the supplier’s partners, sending him falling down the “Spartan-Pit.” Wow. Guess I was wrong.
- The conversation between Bullock and Gordon about relationships outside the distributor was once again better. It furthers the characters along rather than set them up.
The mayor is holding a press conference at GCPD, calling Bullock and Gordon heroes. He then speaks of a new initiative to get children off the streets so that they can get the care they need. By that he means send all of them upstate to juvenile detention. One of these many children is Selina.
- I KNOW it has to be the weirdest coincidence, but she looks a LOT like Michelle Pfeiffer.
- Richard Kind is usually a goofy character actor. (Meaning he plays goofy characters.) I think it’s a breath of fresh air that he’s playing it straight for once, albeit a corrupt straight.
Alfred comes to the station to see Jim. After the incident with the candle, and Bruce’s respect for Jim, Alfred feels that Jim might be able to talk some sense into Bruce. Gordon agrees to visit Wayne Manor the next day. Back at the manor, Bruce is doodling in a notebook. They seem to be his twisted version of the eyes of his parents’ killer. At the same time, he is listening to heavy metal through his headphones.
- I hope the relationship between Jim and Alfred doesn’t become one of distrust and resentment. With what Gordon has to deal with at GCPD, it might be good to have someone on HIS side of the fence.
- I am giving it a pass, because he’s a kid, but if he puts on black nail polish, NOT COOL.
The children that are to be sent upstate are beginning to be loaded onto school buses. Selina is giving the corrections officer a hard time, pleading that she needs to speak to Gordon. This falls on deaf ears and she is loaded on the bus. Before Selina can react, Patty and Doug take control of the bus, taking the children to another location.
- For what the characters of Doug and Patty are supposed to be, Lily Tyler and Frank Whaley were perfect choices.
The mayor bursts into Essen’s office, irate that they lost an entire busload of kids. Meanwhile, Bullock and Gordon are “questioning” the drug distributor. Gordon understands what lives are at stake, and lets Bullock cut loose on the man…with a phonebook (Well, at least we know the show takes place before 2010). He is able to describe to them the logo on the truck they had been using: a blue plate and a silver fork.
Patty and Doug unload the kids out of the bus and into a shipping crate at some sort of warehouse. They seem to be missing one, and Patty heads inside the bus to investigate. Using skills that will come in handy a few years from now, Selina is able to avoid being caught and hides within the warehouse. Patty and Doug write it off as a mistake, and are pleased with the amount of children they DO have. Patty says “The Dollmaker will be so pleased with us.”
- For those of you up to date on The new 52, the Dollmaker is the one who removed the Joker’s face in Detective Comics #1. This could be the “big bad” of the season.
Gordon and Bullock are having no luck finding companies with a fork and plate logo. Jim finally realizes that they are not looking at a fork and plate, but the Earth and a trident. They head to Trident Shipping.
One of the Trident Shipping’s guards enters the room where the shipping crate is. Selina had ripped out the man’s eyes. Patty, Doug, and the rest of the crew go in search of her. Patty “takes care” of the guard, who now blind, is useless.
- Patty having to reload the gun was a funny moment to break the tension.
Patty comes across Selina, who is hiding among some crates. Before Patty can shoot her, Gordon is able to knock her out, saving Selina’s life. Bullock comes around the corner, Doug as his captive. For the second time, Bullock and Gordon are able to save the children.
At Wayne Manor, Alfred is explaining how Bruce is hurting himself. Gordon questions whether or not Bruce should seek help. Alfred says he made a promise to Thomas, to trust Bruce to find his own path. He is a Wayne after all. Bruce comes in unannounced. Bruce says he is just “testing” himself. Bruce changes the subject, wanting to talk about the kidnapped children. Bruce decides to help by giving all the children new clothes. It seems that the philanthropist is starting to show through as well.
- I laughed a LOT when Alfred yelled at Bruce for “sneaking up on people.” THESE are the kinds of nods to the future this show can do, and do well.
At the police station, the children are still being sent upstate. Selina blackmails the social worker into getting Gordon to speak with her.
Oswald is in his new “lair,” staring at a diagram of the important people in the Gotham. His phone rings, and it is the mother of the remaining frat boy, who Oswald is holding for ransom. Showing he still has a long way to go, the mother thinks it is some sort of prank, and hangs up on him. This doesn’t make Oswald very happy. While the fate of the frat boy is left ambiguous, it is obvious nothing good happened.
Gordon finally talks to Selina. She does NOT want to go upstate. She says she has information, and says she will provide it if she can stay in Gotham. As he begins to question her, she reveals that she saw the murder, and knows who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne.
- The beginning of the episode with Bruce and the candle looks similar to the comics when he takes his bedside oath to rid Gotham of evil.
- Selina is still wearing her Catwoman Goggles
- The Gotham City Oswald walks past looks like the one the Batmobile drives past during the 1966 series. The difference is the show sign is 14 miles, where this one was 9.
- One of the skyscrapers had a Queen Consolidated logo on top of it. Arrow Crossover? Please?
I changed things up a bit, putting my review WITHIN the recap, so no Good/Opportunities section. This episode was a vast improvement from the pilot. Keeping the arcs to two, Gordon and Oswald will overall help the story move forward in a more watchable manor. The dialogue between Bullock and Gordon made more sense, and the Easter Eggs weren’t cheesy, but fun. I still feel it can be a LITTLE better, but they are on the right track.
GRADE: B++ (I can’t give it an A just yet, but it was REALLY close, hence the two pluses)