Gotham Season 1 Review “Harvey Dent”

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On the latest episode of “Gotham,” we got another canonical member of the Batman mythos in the titular “Harvey Dent,” aka the man who will become known as “Two-Face.” Oddly enough, though, it was actually Selina Kyle who got more of a chance to shine- even more so than in the episode, somewhat ironically titled in retrospect, “Selina Kyle.” Go figure.

Not that I’m complaining, as Catwoman has long been one of my favorite villains, that misfire flick with Halle Berry of the same name notwithstanding. Still, you expect with a title like that, that the person in question would be the one making the biggest impact, and this isn’t the first time on “Gotham” that has proven untrue. Not sure what they’re going for with all that, but okay.

Anyway, this episode had bigger problems, as the main criminal at hand was actually not so bad of a guy named Ian Hargrove (Leslie Odum, Jr, “Person of Interest”), who was serving time for a crime not meant to hurt anyone that had nonetheless resulted in several deaths and who was paying the price for that accordingly. Unfortunately for him, some Russian thugs had other ideas for him, and bombarded his prison transport vehicle to bust him out of captivity and then forced him to build them several bombs to ultimately break into a vault containing a significant amount of Falcone’s money- at Fish’s behest, as it turned out.

Given that it was done under duress, as the Russians threatened to hurt his brother and his family if he didn’t comply, Hargrove was actually a fairly sympathetic guy. Not that, mind you, all criminals should be unsympathetic, but at the same time, the end result was kind of meh. About the only vaguely interesting thing about it was that Fish was behind the move and that she had henchman Butch blow up the truck containing the money so that no witnesses were left to rat her out when the cops busted them. That was pretty cold-blooded.

Gordon did manage to save Hargrove, but only to see him transferred to the newly-reopened Arkham asylum, which is no one’s ideal of a pleasant place to live. Not that prison is either, granted, but you get my meaning. Hargrove kind of got the shaft in all of this, though I suppose he did kill some people, so you could see it as karmic justice, ultimately. It is what it is, I guess.

Much more intriguing was Gordon’s decision to stash Selina Kyle at stately Wayne manor for safe-keeping after she had a police sketch artist draw a picture of the man responsible for killing Bruce’s parents. This led to some fun interactions between the two, including some wry observations by Kyle of Wayne’s lessons from Alfred on how to fight (“They don’t wear boxing gloves in Gotham”) and his other weird behaviors, like practicing to hold his breath for extended periods of time underwater.

The two also got their flirt on, with Kyle repeatedly making bets and the like that would have resulted in Bruce playing a bit of tonsil hockey with his mysterious guest, had he actually succeeded in besting her. That didn’t happen, but you got the distinct feeling that she wanted it to. Granted, this was a bit on the icky side if you think about it, as Kyle is a bit older than Bruce, but not by that much, I suppose, so we’ll let it slide. Besides, Kyle is a girl who clearly didn’t have the most pleasant childhood, so seeing her cut loose with Bruce and have a little fun was actually sort of sweet. Even Alfred got a little gushy about it, which was something. This was by far the most interesting, compelling part of the episode, for whatever that’s worth.

The problem is, as aforementioned, this was supposed to be about Harvey Dent (Nicholas D’Agosto, “Masters of Sex”) and the introduction of his character, and while we got some iconic moments- the two-headed coin flip and a quick glimpse of his split personality- it felt so brief and almost tacked onto the episode, Dent barely registered. I know D’Agosto to be a skilled actor- he was great on “MOS”- but he seemed a bit cartoonish and broad here, and not quite of a piece with the previous portrayals of the character, acting-wise. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he was bad, just kind of disappointing.

Of course, it’s early on in the series still and it’s only D’Agosto’s first episode, so he still has plenty of time to grow into the character. It’s just that most of the show’s characters are so well-cast, you kind of expect by now for whoever it is to knock it out of the park, and this just didn’t do it for me. Maybe in time, my opinion will change, but for now…also kind of meh.

That was really it, save the big reveal that Barbara had gone back to Montoya, which was sort of a bizarre move on her part. So, Gordon being a good guy who often gets into life-threatening trouble because he’s, you know, a cop and all, is a bad thing; but Montoya, who completely tried to trash Barbara’s opinion of him and drag him through the dirt, and who Barbara herself sent packing for being trouble, is okay?

And I might add, Montoya does pretty much the same thing as Gordon, so it makes even less sense to be with her if she’s objecting to what Gordon does for a living, unless maybe- and I can’t stress this “maybe” enough- she’s actually a full-blown lesbian rather than the bisexual that’s been implied. I really hate it when characters are weakly written and conceived like this, and this to me is the worst example of that since the whole ”Walking Dead” debacles of Lori and Andrea.

Still, even the best shows have the occasional off episodes, and at least this one was on a roll until now, so I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt- for now. But if next week’s episode, entitled “Lovecraft,” barely has that character in it, then we’ve got the beginnings of a problem. And I would genuinely hate to see that happen, as the show has the makings of greatness. We shall see soon enough, I suppose.

So, what did you think of “Gotham” this week? Am I being too hard on the show? Or not hard enough? What did you think of D’Agosto as Dent? Did you enjoy the Selina Kyle and Bruce stuff? What is Penguin up to with Liza? Or Barbara with Montoya? Sound off below and see you next week!