Gotham Episode 1.8 Recap: The Mask


I was a little worried that last night’s episode of Gotham, “The Mask” would suffer by following stellar “Penguin’s Umbrella” of last week, but this episode delivered where it needed, even if missing a few beats.

Batman fans were in for a treat as this week provided some serious foreshadowing, or at least fan-service, and moved things forward in a really pleasing way. However, before we celebrate what went right, let’s take a look at the not-so-hot elements of this episode.

The Bad

  • Barbara…Barbara…Barbara. I’m not sure any other character has come off worse throughout this show’s first season than┬áBarbara Kean. For the first few episodes she just seemed like filler, or just something kind of thrown in there at best. However, in the last to weeks she’s been more annoying than anything else.Then came last week, where her decision actually cost Gordon the chance to bring down Falcone and now she’s acting erratically and leaving after telling Gordon how committed she was. I cannot imagine that she’s gone for good, I just hope the show finds a way to make people like her than they have so far.
  • Look, I’m all for the show analyzing what makes Gotham as crazy as it is, and it is reasonable that dialogue can help do that, but the banter between Gordon and Essen about the Waynes being a kind of “moral glue” for Gotham was too much. The realization of the importance of Waynes, and how the city is changing is a dramatic idea but the execution in this episode left a lot to be desired.
  • I realize the landscape of power is crowded on the show between Fish Mooney and Don’s Falcone and Maroni, but I was disappointed that Richard Sionis wasn’t seen as more of a power-player. The Sionis family (and consequently Roman Sionis) end up being heavily influential in Gotham’s power struggle. Perhaps we will see more of a young Roman Sionis later, or other parts of the family.
  • I’m not sure how many more times we can see Selina caught and wind up at the GCPD. It looks like, from the preview for next week, that she will interact directly with Bruce, which should be a positive development. However, I would have preferred a bit more original way for her and Gordon to meet back up.

The Good

  • I enjoyed the Oswald/Fish Mooney confrontation, if for no other reason, because it showed us how far we have come since the pilot. Oswald now has “a seat at the table” as Mooney points out, and this scene reminded me that although some episodes may have felt like they lacked in story development, that plenty has actually happened.
  • While Bullock’s “speech” might have come off as cliche to some, I enjoyed it because it showed us more about who Bullock is, his character, and his relationship with Gordon is becoming closer to where it needs to be. The show cannot continue with them constantly having the tension they did in the first few episodes. Gordon eventually will learn to lean on the few good cops in Gotham and its the only way he survives until Bruce returns to Gotham.
  • “Fight Club” style plots are nothing new but this felt a bit different in that it took place in an office and I’m sure some could take it as commentary on how desperate the job market is, but I enjoyed it because it was very much a comic-book style plot. Crazy situations are exactly what the baddies in Gotham create, and yes it feels like an escalation from how things used to be.
  • I really enjoyed the introduction of school for Bruce. Seeing Alfred acting a bit more authoritatively in having Bruce go was nice to see. The brightness of the campus was a nice contrast the grim scenery of Gotham and in many ways it represents a possible new start for Bruce.
  • Tommy Elliot! Batman fans know the name form one of the most beloved Batman stories ever. Their first encounters were kind of hard to watch, but if you know anything about Tommy you can understand why he is so awful. It was great to see Bruce stand up for himself and his parents, and to see him humbled. He finally is out of Wayne Manor (somewhat at least) and this is a nice way to develop him as a character apart form looking into the death of his parents.
  • Alfred helping Bruce get back at Tommy was really something. I don’t condone violence, but Bruce is further realizing that Alfred is there for him. Alfred is more than mere servant and Bruce asking for his help to learn how to fight shows us that Bruce sees Alfred the same way. I’ve written before about how important their relationship is, and this episode moved it further to the point of Bruce, as broken as he is, knowing there is someone in the world who loves and cares for him. I hope we get to learn more about Alfred as the series goes forward. As hard as this is on Bruce, Alfred is now raising a boy who is heir to a vast fortune and haunted by personal tragedy. The weight on his shoulders would make ordinary men crumble, but Alfred, like Gordon, is doing something extraordinary that ends up benefiting Gotham more than they both could imagine.
  • -“”You remember that I let him try.” Just magnificent.

Next week brings us the introduction of a very important character to Batman as Harvey Dent turns up in Gotham! What is your favorite Harvey Dent/Two-Face story/portrayal?

Watch the video below to learn more about the future of the son of the Sionis family.


2 Replies to “Gotham Episode 1.8 Recap: The Mask”

  1. kenmorefield

    Scott, there’s a weird pattern developing in that I am liking the episodes you recap more than the ones I recap! Not sure if that’s coincidence or your enthusiasm is persuading me.

    I agree that it was nice to see young Bruce in school. I wouldn’t even mind an Ender Wiggin type plot line that lets us see more of Bruce increasingly aware of his gifts. The exchange with Alfred when he is dropped out of school was nicely handled

    You know what I didn’t like? Oswald and his mother? Carol Kane usually strikes me as one-note. I get tired of Oswald getting beat up, but I think it helps us understand his eventual volatility. He’s taken others’ [word redacted] for awhile, and you can see how that will make him live on the perpetual edge of being out of control.

    I’ve never really had a Harvey Dent I cared for…or a Penguin or Nygma, which is probably what gives the show some breathing room. But going back to the school, I want/need the show to be something more/other than a villains’ origin incubator. And I’m not sure I want it to be about Gordon, so more Bruce is probably a good thing.

  2. Scott

    I agree, the Oswald and Mrs.Cobblepot stuff is very odd although I think Oswald’s bizarro Eddie Haskell routine is entertaining because he plays off his mother in a really funny way. I will say, I understand she has an accent, but I was having trouble understanding her, and I don’t imagine that is necessarily what is best.

    I think Gotham really needs to create and rely on its own unique villain to keep it from feeling like a constant origin story. There is a whole history and story leading to the conditions the city is in when Bruce makes his return as an adult ready for Bat-themed activities.

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