Gotham Recap: Kitten's Got Claws

Gotham Selina Kyle Episode

Fox’s Gotham thus far has had two weeks to offer a taste for what it can do, and what it can do well.

And while the series premiere was generally strong and indicated promise, this week’s episode, “Selina Kyle,” unfortunately fell into the first category.

RELATED Gotham Star Talks of Penguin’s Debt to Jim Gordon, Bond With Mom Carol Kane

Make no mistake, I can enjoy a police procedural (which, let’s face it, this show will more often than not need to be). But in such a scenario, I need to see the detectives be uniquely clever and/or intuitive — and the bar has been set high by the likes of the hyper-observational Sherlock Holmes and Patrick Jane, even the Major Crimes team. And save for realizing that a doodled fork was in fact a trident, Detectives Gordon and Bullock didn’t exactly crack this kidnapping case wide open.

And then you have our first foray into weekly villains. As played by Lili Taylor and Frank Whaley, Patti and Doug were more broadly comical than I had been expecting from Gotham; Patti in particular almost struck me as an animated Scooby-Doo baddie. In fashioning one-off villains, will Gotham be more evoking the early, lighter Batman movies, or alternating between the broad and the truly fearsome? Or does broaching the latter risk undermining the threat of Penguin and Fish? Speaking of….

RELATED Fall TV Premiere Poll: Gotham Cops a ‘B+’ Grade

While Robin Lord Taylor has instantly made Oswald a compelling cretin (and Carol Kane is spot-on as his doting momma), I wonder if the show is placing too much stock in Fish Mooney, at least in terms of how invested we are in her as a recurring foil. Would you rather see Gordon ultimately take down Fish, with her breathy, diva-like taunts, or John Doman’s more traditionally intimidating Carmine Falcone? On the flip side, the bits and pieces we get with young master Bruce (played by David Mazouz) thus far have been interesting, every one of them hinting at his destiny, and it’s an interesting spin to show Sean Pertwee’s Alfred at this early stage fumble through the grooming of his charge, toggling between overly gruff and desperately reassuring. (Knowing how he and Gordon will one day be the No. 1 confidantes of a caped crusader, it’s fun to see them often butting heads here on the series.)

Something to ponder: It was mentioned that the Waynes, prior to their death, were aiming to finance the reopening of Arkham Asylum, which on the series has been shuttered for a while. Could that have been a motive for murder?

For an episode named after her, it was a bit of a tease to barely see Selina until midway through the hour, and not hear her first speak until a bit after that. But when she is on screen, Camren Bicondova ably presents the potential for the complex character Catwoman one day will be, boasting much pluck and great swag. Now that she had dropped hints at new intel about the Waynes’ murder, her dynamic with Gordon should become another draw for viewers.

What did you think of Episode 2? Also: Watch this new trailer for Season 1:

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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51 Comments
  1. Cobra says:

    I thought it was a very strong episode. And I agree, while it’s fun to watch incredibly intuitive detectives (a la Sherlock Holmes and Henry Morgan), truth is, not all detectives see every single little things and latch onto it. I think it’s good to have a detective whose strength in the area will grow as the character develops rather than immediately seeming to be a god in the field.

  2. Joey says:

    While not as immediately compelling as the pilot episode, I still thought it was a solid episode overall. Penguin and his mom were both outstanding, even though I wish there had been more. Nice shoutouts about Arkham Asylum, too.

  3. Did you mean Patrick Jane or Thomas Jane? I was pleasantly surprised that they weren’t going to take notes out of the Nolan notebook when creating villains. PS loved that the Dollmaker was the one behind it all.

  4. Sara says:

    I am having a really hard time getting into this show. Arrow hooked me right away, as did Agents of SHIELD (and yes, I’m sure that will get me some flack, but I really enjoy it and it has really hit its stride!), and I have a huge and enduring love for Smallville, but for some reason I am not sure I am digging this so much. I think the biggest problem I have is that it is spreading itself too thin by trying to incorporate so many villains as main/supporting characters and make it be about their backstories, that I am not sure if it is supposed to be about them, or about the formerly stated purpose of Jim Gordon’s rise in Gotham. I’ll still stick it out for a bit to see if it grows on me, but I might just end up waiting to watch it on Netflix (I believe I read that Netflix already bought the rights to the show).

    • Lexie says:

      People who stuck with AoS from the beginning shouldn’t get flack – they just have excellent intuition. I gave up after the pilot, and it took the combination of Turn Turn Turn and meeting Ming Na Wen to convince me to give it a second chance. Glad I did – its one of my favourite things on TV right now.

    • Ben says:

      Sara, I too was hooked from the start of AoS. I think it may have something to do with the fact that I didn’t come into it with a set of expectations. The tail end of the season then turned it from a show I was hooked on to THE show I was waiting to come back all offseason. Don’t let yourself take flack.

      PS was also hooked by Arrow right away and intend to tune in for the Flash. But I haven’t bothered even giving Gotham a go. Like you, I think I’m going to wait for a while and maybe watch it another day later if people are still saying it is great a season from now. It’s not only because it doesn’t hook me the same way. It’s also because sometimes there are practical limits on how many things one can reasonably keep up with at a time.

    • Fido says:

      I’m watching all because it is set in the Batman world, but it might take a season before I ‘get’ the show.

  5. “Sean Pertwee’s Albert” ssssss. Nope, heh.

  6. I actually thought tonights episode was better than the premiere, maybe its because we already knew who everyone was so we weren’t told things over and over.

    • Melanie says:

      I agree. I liked it better than the pilot. I think it’s interesting in a different way that all other superheroes derived shows on tv right now. Not the same action, but I really like how the show is featured and film compared to general show. It is going slower, but not in story line just in the way its filmed.

  7. Mike says:

    Totally summed up my biggest problems with this show; mainly it’s just all over the place. It’s a gritty crime drama, except for the goofy villains and dialogue (like Jada Pinkett Smith doing a horrible Eartha Kitt impression). It’s about a young Jim Gordon, except you barely notice he’s on screen, because anyone else in Gotham is more interesting. It’s a crime procedural, except there’s no development or motivation; I couldn’t even tell you the names of the villains of the week, and in this episode you only know “someone” pays money for kids, “overseas.” Good enough! Holy disappointment, Batman.

    • Jon says:

      This is exactly how I feel about this show. It has no idea what kind of show it wants to be. While I love Lili Taylor, she was so over the top that she couldn’t be taken seriously. Selina was actually my favorite thing about the episode. Jada Pinkett Smith is overacting beyond belief. I’m really hoping the show will be able to find a tone at some point and stick with it.

  8. Matthew says:

    I feel like this show is too light. The dialogue is hooky at times and fish mooney is an awful
    Character that brings down every scene she is in. Gordon is the strongest character in my opinion and Ben has all the mannerisms down. But bullock is over the top and their fights are awkward.

  9. James D says:

    i agree with you Matt while it was entertaining it didn’t have any wow moments. Judging by the first two episodes the writting seems weak to me, it is trying very hard to come off edgy and grounded but ends up being more melodramatic then anything else. I have the utmost respect for Lilly Taylor but what the heck was she doing with this character it was weird and offputting. I will wait to assess the show until I see a few more episodes but so far am not that impressed. I do however love the kid who plays Bruce that was some very good casting.

  10. tamara says:

    I like that they are doing more with Barbara than just keeping her as the girlfriend. I like her taking action.

  11. webly3 says:

    Honestly, I’ve been really enjoying Gotham. Maybe it’s just me because I’m not incredibly familiar with Gotham in general, but I really like how they’re handling things.

  12. JeffDJ says:

    I liked this ep better than the pilot, but Gordon, who’s supposed to be the main character, often gets overshadowed by everyone else around him.
    .
    In this episode in particular, I found Selina to be the most compelling character to watch and kinda wished the series was about her instead. Cobblepot was also intriguing, and it will be interesting to see his gradual transformation.

  13. Joey Padron says:

    New episode was good. Good to see two actors from Almost Human in episode. Penguin & his mother were great in episode. From new trailer they shown they’ll have good villains in future episodes. Can’t wait to see those villains on show.

  14. mistermcgee says:

    Was Jada Pinkett Smith this over the top and “breathlessly “dramatic” in the Pilot? I have to rewatch because I remember liking Fish Mooney last week. But this week her mannerisms and voice were distracting.

    But overall I’m still liking the show. I have great love for Ben, so here’s hoping he becomes even more of a leading man.

  15. Gilded Lady says:

    I thought that Dollmaker’s henchmen were too over-the-top. It was painful to watch. I’m not at all feeling the MCU. They’re trying to get us to believe that Gotham is rotten to the core, yet there’s a unit that isn’t corrupt? Not quite buying it.

    I wish it’d settle down in tone some. It has plenty of time. It doesn’t need to be so big.

  16. Trenton says:

    Shows like this have to find their timing with so many moving parts. Shooting ahead means adjustments won’t happen for a couple of episodes. But I hope we get more proper villains than random one offs though they said some villains become something more. Also calling her Fish Mooney is so obvious as what do Penguins eat. I can’t think they would be so blatent. I like Alfred and Gordon together…want to see more of that. They have a lot of mystery and intrigue stuff. I wonder if they killed of Bruce’s parents too soon. I’d like to have seen more of the fabled Wayne parents. How they were who they were. Also hoping that someone at Wayne Ent is trying to limit his interests so Alfred has more to do as caretaker.

    So far Harvy has been too one note and Donald Logue is too talented to waste. The gay stuff with Barbara is a bit cliche but creates tension down the road. Kind of wished James knew Falcone more personally. Like he was friends with his father and that shocked Gordon. Would have been more lived in if he knew him well and that’s also what got him saved. The reason he came back was his father died and his old high school sweetheart was Falcon’s daughter. More intertwined.

    Such a rich tapestry to play with they almost can’t lose.

  17. Bill says:

    Just watched the preview for the Season and it looks pretty good. Major complaint is Zsasz. That actor looks puny and sounds terrible

    • Joey says:

      Not sure what show you’re watching because Victor Zsasz hasn’t been introduced yet. Unless this was meant to be a veiled insult at the guy who plays Penguin that just flew right over my head.

  18. Jerri says:

    I don’t know. I’m not really feeling Gotham. Usually try to give new shows a few episodes before things settle down. They could’ve called the show any other name and it still would’ve worked (provided they would’ve also changed some of the characters’ names)

  19. Lee says:

    I liked it better than the pilot. While the pilot did a great job in introducing us to the dark world of Gotham, the writing sometimes felt a bit heavyhanded. This wasn’t the case with last night’s episode, and I don’t mind that the villains sounded cartoonish. Selina herself was great to watch, much more so than I originally thought. Hers and Penguin’s stories I currently enjoy the most, Bruce less so – but that may just be because Wayne Manor very much stands outside the dark, grimy feel that Gotham has and which I really like.

  20. Maybe it’s because its early but I just don’t give a damn about Penguin and Mooney. The show’s already got a big enough cast, really feels like those two could have been left out as main cast members.

  21. Dude says:

    I wasn’t a fan of the pilot and I actually liked this episode more. The villains were probably a little more broad than expected but it reminded me of the animated series come to life and I think it really separates the series from a regular cop show. It’s biggest problem right now is tone and pacing, it’s all over the place. It’s gritty and edgy one moment and cartoonish the next and its full of way too many villains. We shouldn’t have to follow Catwoman, Penguin, Fish, Carmine, Riddler, Poison Ivy subplots every week unless they tie into the story.

  22. Kirsten says:

    Well crap this wasn’t exactly a recap either…

  23. Catherine says:

    I love to see the ‘bad guys’ eliminate each other. While the cops taking down the bad guys can feel good for the soul, I just find it more entertaining to watch the ‘bad guys’ take each other down. I especially loved the scene in the restaurant/club (?) between Falcone and Fish and then afterwards when Fish vowed to kill him with her own bare hands and teeth! Loved it! To me seeing that happen would be way more entertaining than just Falcone or Fish being taken away in handcuffs. Penguin is an interesting character and I found myself intrigued with the actor’s performance. At first I was a bit taken a back because he reminded me a bit of Pee Wee Herman but seeing how murderous he was that thought was quickly erased. I have to admit that though I was forewarned this show would be about how dark and corrupt the city of Gotham was, I was still shocked to see that the warning had merit. Definitely not all bark and no bite! Yep, I am enjoying Gotham so far and plan to continue watching every Monday night at 8 pm.

  24. Kubrick says:

    Nice to see before she became a literal cat burglar she had an interesting relationship with Gotham’s future police commissioner.

  25. Sarah T. says:

    I like this show but it definitely needs development and growth.
    Drawbacks:
    Jada/Fish Mooney-a little too over the top with the accent and enunciation. She needs to dial it down some because whenever she talks, she’s a little distracting.

    The constant reminding me of us of the villain these characters are going to be: “Selina Kyle.” “I’m Cat. Call me Cat.”
    “Did anyone ever tell you that you walk like a penguin?!”
    Viewers aren’t dumb, we know who these villains are. We don’t need to be constantly reminded of it.

    They’re going to have to figure out a better way to integrate Bruce. I realize the point of this show is to focus on Gotham and how Gordon is working to make it a better city. But this is a large part of Batman’s back story. The thing I’m concerned with is that realistically we’re not going to get to see the pay-off of seeing Batman in action because he’s so young. Part of the appeal of Arrow/Flash/Smallville was that you get to see the backstory and the “hero” development with some actual “hero” work in there. We’re probably not going to get that out of Gotham because technically it will be years before Bruce even starts to become Batman. I think the show is going to have tricky time of filling that void. Character development/backstory on villains is fine BUT you need the counteraction of a hero. I know that’s supposed to be Gordon (and that could still work) but technically he’s not a hero, he’s a detective so he needs to be a bit more clever or something (I’m not sure what).

    Overall, I really like the show and I’ll probably stick with it for awhile. I think part of the reason I wasn’t overly hyped about it to begin with is because I knew that we’re likely not going to get the pay off seeing Batman doing any of his Batman skills. We’re mainly going to see him grow-up which I think might be a bit dull.

  26. I’m hoping, much like The Blacklist, this show finds a solid footing. I enjoyed the procedural aspect of The Blacklist, but the second it found a focus (being Berlin) it got incredibly strong.

  27. chuckiechk says:

    I feel that im forcing myself to like this show because its a dc show and I want it to succeed. I will say that im already seeing “batman” (or batboy) in bruce wayne.

  28. Drew says:

    I hate procedurals. They’re lazy and stupid. My big fear when this show was coming out was that it would be a boring CBS show with Gotham added just for the name and attention.
    I am happy that it didn’t turn out that way though. If you took Gotham City from the comics and put it on TV, this is it. It is dark and moody, but still the place where Joker can exist. The villains this week were good. They were exaggerated for real life, but grounded for comic books. I was happy with them.
    It seems to me that a lot of effort went into the look and feel of this show, and it works. I watch the show and as someone who has read the comics and who grew up with Batman The Animated Series, I recognize the city and the characters.

  29. John Moshier says:

    this show is very dark like the penquin movie you need to lighten up nobody would wont to live in gothen show some lighter side once in awhile

    • Drew says:

      Umm… Nobody should want to live in Gotham. The place is like Detroit. Once great, but corrupted to the point of being a paved jungle where anything goes. There is no way to lighten that up.

  30. will says:

    I’m not surprise about the glowing reviews for cat girl. I think the Mooney character could use a different hairstyle. Logue needs to tone it down a bit, he’s over playing his character.

  31. Nathan Fleischman says:

    Batman met Scooby-Doo.

  32. Gotham’s ratings were still good and what I predicted. However, this was the fall show that I was most looking forward to and it’s not doing it for me. The cheeky 1960’s comic book type villains of the week and the fact that they are throwing every villain (aside from the Joker) from the comic out in the first few episodes leaving the show feeling too bloated with no real substance. I wish they took an approach similar to Arrow and roll out the villains more slowly and had major villains (aka a big bad) recur throughout the season.

  33. Delante says:

    It was another great episode but I was excited at first when the episode was called Selina Kyle but then she wasn’t featured as much at all so it was confusing…..Still looking forward to seeing what happens next tho!