Review for Gotham (Season 1, Episode 8, “The Mask”; Airdate: 11/10/14)

Hey everyone! Welcome to my weekly series of blog posts, which will review the following Comic Book Themed TV Shows:

  • Gotham
  • Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • The Flash
  • Arrow
  • Constantine

I will be giving my TOP 5 Moments in the weekly episodes, Easter Eggs (if applicable) and my predictions for future episodes and seasons (also if applicable)!


So, if you haven’t seen the week’s episodes, DO NOT READ THE REVIEW! I’ve broken it down by show, so you can skip reviews of episodes you haven’t seen yet, or don’t intend on watching. The blog post for the prior week will be posted on Monday mornings, so that most people have had a chance to watch the episodes.

Gotham (Season 1, Episode 8, “The Mask”; Airdate: 11/10/14)

Plot Synopsis

The Mask 3Gordon and Bullock investigate a murder, tied to a Gothamite who runs a deadly fight club for potential candidates applying for a position with his financial firm. Bullock demonstrates his loyalty to Gordon when the other cops refuse to help with the investigation. Penguin continues to manipulate the situation between Maroni and Falcone, to further his own devious agendas. Bruce returns to school and is confronted by a bully and as a result, is set upon one leg in his journey to eventually becoming the Dark Knight. Meanwhile, Barbara makes a “Not so shocking” decision, in regards to her relationship with Gordon.

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Top 5 Moments

  • Selina Kyle is back! After a brief hiatus, she is back in the fold. I’m interested to see how the dynamics of the relationship with Bruce develop. She is using Gordon as her “Get out of jail free card”, and it only makes wonder what DC has in store for their relationship as well. In this episode we find Selina burgling a fur store…IN BROAD DAYLIGHT ON A CITY STREET! No matter how idiotic the rest of the world thinks that was, Gotham’s Finest (at least the cop who told Gordon she was there and wanted to see him) thought so. I’d have to say that this is one of the dumber scenarios so far. Perhaps it was to speak to her inexperience as a cat burglar.
  • Barbara left Jim! I saw this coming a mile away to be honest. The chemistry between them always seems off to me, not just as characters but also as actors. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not. I suppose it was, because DC recently announced the coming of Leslie Thompkins as a possible love interest for Gordon. Hopefully, the sparks fly a bit farther with this coupling. I really can’t say that I was very fond of Barbara’s character from the beginning.
  • Bullock proves his loyalty to Gordon! After showing his ass for the first six episodes, Gotham’s most sarcastic and rude detective proves that he’s got his partner’s back. As a fan of the comics, I still find it hard to wrap my mind around Bullock being the senior man in their relationship and that they are peers. However, I have grown to like the dynamics between the characters and the actors. Donal Logue and Ben McKenzie are both talented actors and flesh out the complexities of the characters brilliantly. Here is where the REAL chemistry lies onscreen. I think it will be pretty interesting to see just how far the limits of their partnership and budding friendship is going to be tested over the course of the season.
  • Bruce punches the shit out of some bratty kid! I think that the development of Bruce Wayne has been very slow on this show. I’m not saying it should speed up necessarily, but I do want to see more of it. Besides burning his hand with a candle and putting together a corkboard of events surrounding his parents’ murder, we haven’t really seen any development of Bruce’s character. I think it’s very important that the show tackle the progression of his development from the orphaned rich kid to the Dark Knight. In this episode, we see him at his first day at school since his parent’s murder and right away, the school bully picks a fight with him. The bully taunts him about the death of his parents and finally, Bruce snaps and pimp slaps the kid. After an embarrassing explanation to Alfred, he is taken to the kid’s home where the rings the doorbell, the kid answers and Bruce proceeds the punch the shit out of him. I personally wasn’t really feeling that moment. It seemed a bit contrived and didn’t speak to the heart of the Bruce Wayne character, in my opinion. I’d have enjoyed it much more if he were defending another student or something a bit more altruistic. After punching the kid and grabbing pizza for dinner, Bruce and Alfred return home where he opens up and says that he liked the feeling that came from beating up the bully and then asks Alfred to teach him how to fight. Again, in my opinion it would have been better served if he had been defending someone else. I understand the goal of this story thread, however it comes off as being a bit heavy handed and self-serving. Not the makings for the hero we all know and love.
  • Favorite episode quote! “I’d give you a good cop routine, but it’s not in my tool kit.” This was a brilliant line from Bullock and speaks volumes of the character and Donal Logue’s ability to portray him. Kudos to the writers for giving us this particular line and here’s to hoping we get more like it.

Final Thoughts

The Mask 1I wasn’t particularly impressed with the portrayal of Black Mask. I wanted him to be a major player and not some “Villain of the Week” character. I think that Todd Stashwick did a decent job of acting in that role, but it wasn’t the “BIG BOSS” portrayal I was looking for and/or had anticipated. In the comics, Black Mask was portrayed as a tortured soul who exposed the deeper parallels for figurative masks worn by people to hide their true natures/feelings. This episode and its plot felt more like “Executive Fight Club” in the Batman universe. I feel that this was a wasted opportunity to integrate a deeper storyline and a waste of a potentially GREAT character to be used/explored in future episodes. Black Mask could have served as a foil for the uneasy Maroni/Falcone truce, had they kept him in line with his depiction in the comics. Instead of properly developing some of the villains they introduce, it seems to me that they’re just using them as filler stories with no foreseeable impact on future stories.

Also, the thread with Bruce at school really didn’t sit well with me at all (see comments above). Besides Bullock demonstrating his loyalty to Gordon and his AWESOME line (see comments above), I didn’t really take too much away from this episode in terms of entertainment value.

Overall, this episode, by far, wasn’t the best and while I didn’t hate it, I wasn’t impressed and in a way it was a bit of a letdown. I’m giving it a C-.

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