WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS!
I don’t know if any people reading this review are also watching Elementary, but you may recall in Season 1 that the series there was an episode entitled “Child Predator”, which also focused around the crimes conducted by someone who went by the name of the Balloonman. However, there are several major differences between the Balloonman of Elementary and that of Gotham, and perhaps the biggest one is that it’s set in the titular city, not New York. Gotham is already a twisted, dark and corrupt place with the seeds being planted in someone even as young as Bruce Wayne that things are not going to get better from here. It offers more hints that he’s going to become Batman and further shines the light into just how corrupt the city is, already.
Another difference with Elementary and Gotham’s villain of the week? Elementary’s Balloonman dealt with children. This Balloonman deals with the corrupt forces of the city, which already is shaping up to be pretty much everyone with a major role in the city itself. It’s highlighted further in the opening montage of the Penguin’s return to Gotham, in which Oswald sees multiple muggings, prostitutes and corrupt cops accepting bribes all on one street. It sets the dark tone for the episode, which is where a minor problem comes in when you take the somewhat ridiculous case of the week into consideration. It doesn’t quite get the gritty, realistic vibe that the series is presumably trying to accomplish, but regardless, does allow for a relatively solid plotline.
However, even in the dark vibe, there’s room for comedy in Gotham. Harvey Bullock got tossed around an apartment by a woman who he greatly underestimated was one of the episodes’ more amusing moments, which whilst although not a laugh-out-loud moment, did come as an unexpected surprise.
Early on, we also got to see Jim Gordon teaming up with Selina Kyle who last week revealed that she witnessed the Wayne’s murder. I think that this was one of my favourite scenes of the episode and I’m rapidly starting to enjoy watching scenes with Selina in as Bicondova is becoming more tolerable as things progress, which is a good thing, and hopefully we will continue with her storyline again next week.
There were some cool easter eggs in this episode as well. There was a mask used that is similar to that of Professor Pyg, among other good moments. However, what didn’t work as well was the hints being dropped that continue to push Bruce Wayne in the direction of becoming Batman. They’re too obvious, too blatant. It was almost the same problem as Agents of SHIELD had early on, with too many in-your-face references to the fact that it tied in with The Avengers. Whilst obviously this is a slightly different case, the fact that we’re almost certainly not even going to see Bruce Wayne become Batman on this show it does become somewhat frustrating to see these things crop up time and time again.
Unfortunately, Balloonman doesn’t quite live up to the previous week’s episode, Selina Kyle, but neither is it entirely unwatchable promising a solid hour of which there were a lot worse on TV this week already. It did however give us a very interesting ending sequence, featuring Cobblepot knocking on the door of Jim Gordon’s home, and this will no doubt be something that will be exciting to watch develop in Arkham, episode four, which will also hopefully deal with Arkham Asylum, something that Batfans have probably all been waiting for.
(Also, I mentioned this in my review of The Strain this week, but in case anyone is not following that coverage, in terms of reviews, I will no longer be offering coverage of Sleepy Hollow on a weekly basis; instead, I will be covering both The Flash & Arrow, which return this week.)