REVIEW: Gotham: The Complete Second Season
Last year, Gotham debuted on Fox amidst a lot of hoopla and generally positive notices. I, however, found the series woefully inept with ham-fisted dialogue and implausible plotting, while ignoring the source material to the point of being unrecognizable. I apparently was in the minority since the ratings were strong and it got a renewal.
Gotham: The Complete Second Season is out now on Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Home Entertainment and while it is markedly improved, it apparently has decided to embrace bad writing and worse plotting since people seemed to like it.
With the core players established, the second season decided to offer up two long arcs, with the winter hiatus separating them. In the first arc, we have the arrival of Theo Galavan (James Frain) and his sister Tabitha (Jessica Lucas), arrive in Gotham and we learn he’s here to settle old family scores as we learn of the intertwined relationships between the Waynes, Galavans, and Dumas. To accomplish this, Theo orchestrates events so he’s seen as a hero and rides his popularity to become Mayor.
He’s secretly working with the Order of St. Dumas which has arrived in Gotham and activates Theo as their Azrael, wasting Ron Rifkin as the organization’s leader.
James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), on the force, off the force, suspected of criminal mischief, and more, seems to be the only one to see through the nonsense (let alone the series ignoring how one registers to run and runs for an office, totally skipped over). Theo grabs the psychotic Barnaba (Erin Richards) and uses her as a weapon against Gordon. That doesn’t work and Gordon seemingly kills Galavan, ending a threat to the city. Gordon continues to have a prickly relationship with new commissioner Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis), who can’t seem to make up his mind whether Gordon is straight or crooked or just nuts.
During all this noise, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) has chosen to live on the streets and allies himself with Selina Kyle (Carmen Bicondova) and they get caught up in the Galvan silliness and Bruce does something fairly cold, worrying Selina his PTSD is getting worse.
The second half of the season brings us to Arkham Asylum and Prof. Hugo Strange (B.D. Wong), who is working for the Court of Owls to make monsters out of humans for reasons unknown. Selina gets trapped in the Asylum as does an undercover Gordon. Bruce, meanwhile, finally figures out who shot his parents (it is not Joe Chill on orders from Lew Moxon) and tracks him down. In theory, by figuring this out at age 11 or 12, he gets the justice he craves and never becomes Batman but that’s entirely ignored.
Meanwhile, poor Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) hangs out with Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), no fully schizophrenic and murderous on his own. Then he finds his birth father (Paul Ruebens) and gets a new home only to find it filled with vicious family who do not like to share, once more wrecking Oswald’s fragile psyche.
Back art Arkham, Strange trains Basil Karlo (Brian McManamon) to impersonate Gordon, and does a lousy job, but no one seems to notice because everyone on this series is apparently clueless. The season ends with Strange exposed, the Court ready to take action, Gordon on the run in search of pregnant Lee (Morena Baccarin) and monsters wandering the city.
The writing continues to lack subtlety and none of the character arcs make a lick of sense. And yet, this mess of a show remains compelling viewing and it has its adherents.
All 22 noisy, mindless episodes are contained in the combo pack along with Digital HD. There are a nice assortment of extras to round out the package including the requisite Gotham: 2015 Comic Con Panel; Gotham by Noir Light, a look at the show’s use of light and shadow; Alfred: Batman’s Greatest Ally, regardless of how ill-used Alfred (Sean Pertwee) was used this season; Cold Hearted – The Tale of Victor Fries; and some character featurettes.