Gotham – ‘Beasts of Prey’ Review

A serial killer who targets young women and cops on his tail surfaces (or rather resurfaces) on this week’s Gotham. Jim is put onto the case by a young, seemingly well-intentioned uniform who claims admiration for his integrity as the reason for the request. The officer waxes poetic about the victim’s need for justice and his desire to be in on Jim’s crusade to clean up the GCPD and Jim swallows the story without much difficulty at first.

Turns out, however, this flattery was a scripted ruse from the start, perpetrated by Commissioner Loeb as a way to take Jim out as a threat. I liked this writing choice, if only for the way in which the sinister-ness of it is perpetuated by playing up to Jim’s own sense of self and his idealistic mission. Flattering him into taking the case just makes the reveal that much more horrifying in the end – even the people who seem to be trying to build him up are probably out to take him down.

Milo Ventimiglia (of Gilmore Girls and Heroes fame) guest stars as the “Don Juan Killer,” and he plays it off with more than a sufficient amount of creep. While he is more subdued in some ways than you’d expect from such a perverse kind of man, it is a credible performance in that it made my skin crawl.

Speaking of making skin do things it shouldn’t, Dr. Dulmacher has the rug metaphorically pulled out from under him as Fish stages a surprising escape from his island hospital. This was a welcome development to me if only because I have never found this side-plot particularly compelling, narrative-wise. Granted, Pinkett-Smith makes the best of it, and it has provided some pretty stellar moments for Fish as a character – showcasing her ability to think on her feet and adapt quickly on the fly. However, Dulmacher and his operation are gross without being remotely interesting, and the isolation of that narrative thread from the other plot lines was dragging the overall story down.

Meanwhile, Bruce is now on a crusade to avenge Alfred’s stabbing, and he solicits the help of Selina Kyle. I enjoy his repeated dependence on her street smarts when he gets into situations that are over his head…which is most of the time. Although they are portrayed as love-interests of a kind, it is their odd-ball friendship that truly shines when they share the screen; both are more interesting together than either are a part.

Finally, the Penguin has started his revenge plot on Don Maroni, the first step of which is his silent acquisition of a local mom-and-pop bar to which the Don has some nebulous affiliation. Mob drama is often a weak spot on Gotham, and this predictably is no exception (though Robin Lord Taylor remains flawlessly spot-on in his characterization of Penguin). I can only hope this storyline is resolved quickly, so we can get back to Jim wrestling with temptation and perhaps have Cobblepot cash in his chit from Jim.

That’s the set-up that keeps me hanging on. Well, that and Jim’s banter with Bullock. What can I say? The buddy cop shtick just works so well for them and these days their dynamic is strongly reminiscent of that Buffy-Giles Tumblr meme:

Bullock: Jim, don’t do the thing.
Gordon: I’m gonna do the thing.
Bullock: Fine, I will help you do the thing.

It’s almost sweet in a way.

Quotables

Gordon: Harvey, the victim deserves justice.
Bullock: Yeah, and I deserve a mute supermodel who likes pasty Irish guys and loves to cook. It’s not happening.

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