Well, folks, for Gotham’s first half of the season, this is the end of the road! Or, perhaps more appropriately, the end of the seedy-looking alley on the way back from the opera house. It’s been good! It’s been bad! Mostly bad! But the series has shown potential, at least enough of it to merit the existence of the rest of the season. But what about ‘Lovecraft’ itself?
The episode begins with Wayne Manor set upon by a gang of ruthless and mysterious assassins (judging by their skills and their focus on only murdering the “deserving”, I’m holding on to my League of Shadows theory), forcing Little Bruce to run for the hills. But it’s not him they’re after – it’s Selina Kyle, the only witness to the murder of his parents, and the corrupt businessman, Lovecraft, that Gordon’s currently trying to bring down…
It’s Bruce and Selina’s plot that stands out most, out of all the threads that get tied up this episode. And that’s a sentence I didn’t think I’d end up typing. Most of the stuff given to Bruce this season’s felt somewhat forced, and an episode mostly reliant on two child actors never bodes particularly well, but the two of them carried it off well enough.
Slowly, Gotham seems to be moving away from the Villain of the Week format; there’s no new case for Gordon to solve this week. The closest there is is the head assassin, Copperhead, and I must admit, I only found that out when I looked it up later: the Copperhead of the comics is a man in a suit with snake powers, while this one’s a female assassin with a knife and a black suit. Still, I’m not complaining about the update. It keeps things suitably “realistic” (arguably, speech-marks around that word are necessary for any universe where a man will eventually dress like a bat and fight crime. But I digress).
She and her crew are suitably awesome, but it’s Alfred who walks away with most of the badass moments this episode. This version’s playing up his past in the Royal Marines for all it’s worth, fighting off assassins hand-to-hand and holding a knife to a thug’s throat for information, which are scenes Michael Caine sadly never got to try out. Like ‘Viper’ before it, this episode’s got some very well-directed fight scenes, alongside a show of parkour from Little Bruce and Selina on their rooftops.
In the end, Penguin’s on thin ice, Bruce is back home safe, we’re a little bit closer to finding out who killed the Waynes, and Gordon’s effectively been exiled to a security-guard position in the newly-opened Arkham Asylum – a setting I’m quite excited to see. And so Gotham draws to its midseason close, giving the tales of mob intrigue and brutal murder a break for Christmas.
It’s been an interesting ride – though the show’s never quite achieved “great”, it’s at least remained worth watching, and maybe we’ll see an Agents of SHIELD-style renaissance. Here’s hoping.