Gotham Recap: Seeing Red

This week on Fox’s Gotham, Jim and Harvey were on red alert, Alfred got a blast from his (dark) past and Fish Mooney shared with her captors her, ahem, vision for the future.

So here we are, Episode 17, and still there are episodes that frustratingly toggle between compelling-ish storylines and patience-testing wheel-spinning.

WHAT WORKED IN ‘RED HOOD’
The titular storyline, especially coming off of last week’s Joker tease (courtesy of Jerome/Cameron Monaghan), was interesting to me on a personal level, since the Red Hood/Joker origin story is one I most vividly remember reading in the comics as a young’un. Here, they stayed true to the bank robber aspect, as each member of a band of run-of-the-mill thieves took turns donning the crude cloth mask, feeling magically “empowered” and/or impervious with it on. As with Jerome, there was a pointed tease — the first robber had a knack for “theater” and a cackle akin to Batman’s famous foe, but he got offed in a jiffy. #RedHerring With the help of a local store owner, Jim and Harvey eventually nab the remaining thieves, though the red hood is then seen being picked up by a young man, destined to “live on” another day.

I also was on board for the Wayne Manor story, where Reggie, one of Alfred’s old mates from Her Majesty’s Secret Service, paid an unexpected visit, full of drink and down on his luck. Bruce invited Alfred’s chum to crash with them for a bit, and that went well enough until Reggie started teaching Bruce a rougher form of close combat. Later, the three gents mended fences over good wine (presumably pop for Master Bruce) and war stories that hinted at Alfred’s not-so-noble past. When the Wayne butler went to send his pal on his way with fresh clothes and a picnic lunch, Reggie ran a blade through him, sending Alfred to at least the hospital for a few weeks. And as the episode drew to a close, we saw that Reggie actually was doing recon work for the Wayne Enterprises board, reporting back on the extent of Bruce’s evidence of wrongdoing at the company.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Maybe someone better versed on the Dollmaker’s larger role in DC Comics canon can illuminate me on the potential (if any) for this storyline, but I find Fish’s latest tale just so ridiculous. The “basement” she and the other prisoners live in isn’t the slightest bit interesting, visually or conceptually; the ease/expedience of her power grab was laughable; and her current role as some “voice of reason”/compassion is undercutting any teeth the character had to start with. So, she demands to meet with Dr. Dulmacher himself, but gets stonewalled… and then pampered. And when she and the facility’s “manager” hit another impasse, Fish’s answer is to grab a spoon and gouge out her eye before someone else can. OK.

Meanwhile, Penguin continues to run a lousy nightclub, cuing up the umpteenth scene of a third-rate stage act performing to middling reviews at that venue. The solution? More alcohol! But! Maroni has cut off Penguin’s club. So? Penguin looks to intercept a truck. But! Butch beats him to it, enlisting some dirty cops to keep the booze flowing at the club. And this all matters because…?

Hell, I rank the Barbara/Selena C-story slightly above Fish/Penguin fare, if only because I honestly have no flippin’ idea where this is going, plus it was fun to see Selena cut down her hostess: “And look where that got you.” Ouch. And yet, true.

What Gotham storylines are currently floating your boat?

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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17 Comments
  1. NC says:

    Please tell me that Alfred’s friend is not supposed to be THE Bane. I swear they made it a point to call him Mr. Bane at the end…

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Ha — I thought it was Payne the first time I heard it, which is far more British-y, but it did sound like Bane that one time. I’m gonna go with no, though.

      • NC says:

        Well then thank god. That would have been too much.

      • Patrick Maloney says:

        I close captioned it and it was in fact Payne. Also, the Dollmaker is a new villain to the mythos and his really small claim to fame is cutting off the Joker’s face. I wish they stuck to his character’s MO, taking people’s skin and making human sized dolls, and not make him a run of the mill organ harvester. When they said his name was Dollmaucher, I literally groaned. I really enjoyed, like you, the Red Hood storyline, though. The show tied so much to that storyline, from the Red Hood Gang to the superstitions that will aid Bruce in becoming Batman and how the show’s criminals are starting to become display showmanship in their crimes.

  2. Chris Turner says:

    What is the deal with the narrators on tonight’s Gotham and last week’s Nashville. Why the sudden change or have I subscribed to some new service?

  3. Joey says:

    I don’t think you’re giving some storylines enough of a chance, Matt. Do you always give a big thumbs down when something is set up in an episode and isn’t immediately paid off a few minutes later?

    On the actual episode, while I look forward to seeing Colm Feore as Dulmacher, I’m thinking that I wish they’d actually cast Jeffrey Combs as a really devious Dulmacher. I love his horror roles, and I’m sure if he really could have brought the creepiness.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      “Joey,” I have exhibited the patience of 100 saints with this show, thank you. And as I clearly said above, I welcome any theories on how this Dulmacher storyline might prove to be interesting and or relevant.

      • Joey says:

        You’ve been pretty down on most episodes that you recap. Shame since I typically enjoy your recaps!

      • Georgia Madman says:

        I could do without Fish completely and Penguin is trying my patience. I know I have to endure Penguin because of canon but still….. I only really enjoy Gordon, Alfred, Bruce, Selina, Riddler and Morena’s character who’s name escapes me for the moment.

      • WarpedSage says:

        I have a feeling they are going to use the Dulmacher storyline to introduce Hush. In some renditions of Hush, he starts going mad right after The Wayne Parents die. Theoretically he is going to need somewhere to learn his craft of stealing other peoples’ faces and then grafting them in, so where better for him to start learning as a child?

        As for Dulmacher, my theory for him is not based upon comics, but rather the same stories being told over and over through out ages. I have a feeling it’s going to be the story of Pygmaleon/Galatea. He is the doll maker trying to make his perfect doll. He is using his clinic for money so he can do his “scientist side project” to find the perfect parts to make his perfect creation. This would explain better his out burst when he was gushing over Fish’s eyes then she destroyed one of them in front of him.

  4. Ashton says:

    Fish has always bugged me, probably because she’s not from the comics. Hopefully there are much more intriguing story lines for her to come

  5. A says:

    I think the Penguin/Butch storyline may seem tangential now, but is laying the groundwork for a bigger one. I don’t think we can discount anything that involves Butch.

  6. WMJ4520 says:

    The show has zero idea what to do with Barbara. I actually turned to something else as soon as she came on. She has no point in the show; they should just get rid of her….permanently.

  7. Sparta says:

    I like this show, have from the beginning but I gotta say, this current Fish Mooney storyline is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen on tv.
    Doctor, or whoever is in charge, how can you not see how easy it is to kill her off and go on with whatever the hell you were doing before you kidnapped her? She’s causing problems for you, so you act as if she has the upperhand and allow her to make demands? Seriously?? I completely quit watching when she cut out her own eyeball – wtf – and that dude acted like it was the worst thing that could happen to his organ reselling business. Awful, awful, awful.

  8. colig says:

    this fish mooney storyline is absurd.this little twit of woman makes all these demands.why not just kill her and be done with it.why are they listening to her.

  9. Moria says:

    I know most loved last week’s episode written by Bruno Heller himself but I still think it was a hot mess that now the other writers have to clean up. Totally agree the Fish story makes no sense – out of nowhere the basement people were her family, and why doesn’t the Doctor just get rid of her annoying ass immediately? Still yelled my head off when she gouged out her eye this week. And wasn’t Butch brainwashed to help Penguin last week? Why was he back to his old self this week? Why all the messing around with no alcohol, then getting it later? But all the new stuff this week with the Red Hood mythology, Alfred’s backstory then betrayal, and tying it all back to Wayne Industries was so good. Even liked Barbara and her two buddies for the first time all season.