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Gotham S1x08 “The Mask”

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WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS!

So last week’s episode of Gotham was pretty great. It showed that this series is slowly becoming awesome with an incredible element of serialization that was easily the finest hour of the show so far. However, the episode that follows, “The Mask”, wasn’t quite as good, even if it did offer up its own take on the underground fight club by introducing Roman Sionis, played by (Todd Stashwick), aka the Black Mask.

Gordon and Bullock return after an excellent episode the week before.

Gordon and Bullock return after an excellent episode the week before.

There was plenty of teasing here and there with this episode for future fans. We saw Bruce Wayne return to school and run into trouble with Tommy Elliot (Cole Vallis), who will one day go onto become Batman villain Hush. It was interesting to see these two characters not start off as friends as they were in the comics, and the route the writers take these two characters should be fascinating to see unfold, made bearable by the fact that unlike most child actors, David Mazouz is actually pretty good and the potential for his character to evolve as the series progresses is great indeed. Whilst Bruce and Alfred for that matter normally feel shoe-horned into the plot on a weekly basis, it was good to see that they actually seemed important here and there was plenty of things to do as opposed to just lurk around in Wayne Manor. There seems to be an active development on Bruce’s storyline now, and if they can just do the same with Catwoman next week the characters of this series will be in a much better place.

The fight club storyline is frequently found in shows particularly during their first season, but there were several different reasons why The Mask shook up that formula and made it one of the more interesting aspects of the show. There were people attacking each other with various office equipment and there was a spectacular brawl involving Gordon, who’s now annoyed at everyone in the GCPD for abandoning him at the orders of Victor Zsasz last week, much to the chagrin of Bullock. It was good to see that the Gordon’s attitude towards the mob wasn’t quickly swept aside after one fantastic episode, and the high tempo, high action of this episode has made it pretty entertaining so far.

However, this week’s episode wasn’t quite spot on and that element concerns Barbara, Jim’s wife. After pleading with Gordon to let her stay when he sent her away last week, and then returning to save Gordon defying his wishes, to have her leave wasn’t a great move by the writers. It’s choices like these that make characters unlikable, but hopefully episode nine will remedy that going forward.

Whilst Sionis himself felt a little over the top at times, and it wasn’t really necessary to have him stand out in the way that he did this early on, the episode for the most part was fun. It was also a much-needed improvement on the earlier episodes of the series, and there were several excellent highlights, with Bullocks’ speech and Alfred and Bruce finally becoming more activley involved. Hopefully we can keep getting episodes that are improving in quality like this one, because Gotham may be finally becoming good.

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