Gotham Review: Gordon Solves “The Primal Riddle”

Gotham

As Gotham winds down for the season, it is slowly but surely becoming more like the Batman universe that most fans know. Batman villains abound, Bruce Wayne begins his training, and Gordon and Bullock race through the GCPD ranks. Does this make Gotham a better or worse show? That remains to be seen. But either way, things are changing and the characters are as compelling as ever.

This week on Gotham: Barbara learns that someone above the “queen of the underworld” ranks is running things in Gotham, and enlists “The Riddler” to help her find out who. Tabitha and Butch assist them, but their loyalty wavers when Gordon approaches them. Penguin and Ivy add Victor Fries and Firefly to their ranks as they prepare to take back Gotham. Gordon works to gain the Court of Owls’ trust. Lee works to solve Jim’s uncle’s murder. Bruce’s clone struggles to find his place, so he seeks guidance from Selina.

For the most part, I’m enjoying this arc. It’s nice to see the characters from the show morph into familiar Batman universe characters, and their journeys have all been compelling. But I find myself (at least partially) missing that balls-to-the-wall, cavalier attitude that the show carried through most of seasons 2 & 3B. I’m torn, because on this side of things (Season 3B) it feels more focused and intentional, but at the same time isn’t quite as high stakes or exciting. By being a Batman fan, I know exactly how some of these stories are going to go, and it makes things less exciting as a whole.

Though I have complaints about the plot, I have very few about the character work or the acting. Lee’s vendetta against Jim (she clearly thinks he killed his uncle, and he wants the Court to think he did, too) is especially interesting to me because of the incredible talent that both Morena Baccarin and Ben McKenzie bring to the table. This also happens to be my favorite of the dangling plot threads, because it has the least to do with Batman lore. Aside from that, there is still fantastic work being done in Gordon, Penguin, Nygma, Bruce, etc. So you see my dilemma, right?

I think my issues with the plot are mostly trivial, especially because lots of fans have been clamoring for more Batman and less “prequel”.  Still, I think the show is at its best when it embraces the wackiness and insanity that much of Batman lore contains. That, and it’s also a compelling police drama. When Bullock and Gordon are at work, the week-to-week episodes are at their absolute best. I don’t know that Gotham is operating at the highest level it’s ever been, but it’s still an excellent show.

Here are a few other thoughts:

  • Can someone fill me in on something I’m missing from comic book lore regarding Selina? Or did they just unceremoniously kill her off?
  • I wasn’t sure how I felt about Ivy’s age up at first, but I’m really getting used to/loving Maggie Geha in the role.
  • I still think that Barbara, Butch, and Tabitha are an underrated trio.

Overall, this was a good episode. I’m more excited, however, on where it leads next. Several dangling plot threads should come to a head over the next few weeks, which has the potential to be exciting as the show has ever been.

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy the episode? Let us know in the comments!

Gotham airs Mondays at 8/7c on FOX

Gotham Season 3 Episode 17 Review: "Heroes Rise: The Primal Riddle"
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Summary

Gordon pursues the Court of Owls, while Nygma and Barbara search for them on this week’s compelling episode of Gotham.

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