Episode 2: “Selina Kyle”
by Dan Tomasik
Homeless kids around Gotham are being snatched, including Selina “Cat” Kyle.
Wasn’t it just a review ago that I talked about keeping Bruce Wayne separate from Gotham’s main storyline? Perhaps I spoke too soon. The open-ended nature of the case allows it to be brought up again and again without getting stale or repetitive. It has potential to be a strong first season overlapping arc. Still, it’s hopeful that Bruce & Alfred can eventually branch off into their own story arc that does not directly involve Gordon. It’s not that the two don’t work in a scene together, more a suggestion for shaking things up. There are a million Batman stories that feature Wayne and Gordon working together on cases, a little deviation from that path for once would be liberating.
The best stories are the ones that catch you off-guard. The scariest villains are the ones you don’t see until it’s too late. The worst feeling for any kid is to face nightmares alone. The best feeling in the world is being recognized for your struggles. Let it be known, Gotham is here to stay.
First off, the best parts. Falcone’s scene with Fish Mooney. For a man who never becomes more than a mob boss in the DC mythos, he is easily the most fascinating criminal on this show. Equal parts honorable and ruthless, you don’t dare take your eyes off him in a scene. The part is played with wonderful charm and restraint by John Doman, as opposed to Jada Pinkett Smith’s often over-the-top Mooney. Cory Michael Smith’s brief appearances as Edward Nygma (eventually the Riddler) have thus far been my favorite moments of the series. You can just sense the giddiness he has for puzzles and clues, this man is too smart for what the GPD has him doing. Next is the episode’s main villains, a nameless couple working for an obscure Batman villain known as Dollmaker (not seen). The couple is so homely and cheery, yet their child-snatching business puts them among such company as the Coachman from Pinocchio. These are monsters in human clothing. Last but most certainly not least is the episode’s namesake, future Catwoman Selina Kyle. A plucky 13-year-old orphan, already she has found the path she will follow into adulthood. A path all her own, neither good nor evil. More, please.
As for the weak parts, Mooney is the big one. The character was created solely for the series and has no DC counterpart. This eliminates her only excuse for over-the-top behavior. Her plotted coup against Falcone should already be exposed and ruined, but Falcone is amazingly buying her innocence. Something needs to change or become upturned fast, or this character is going to become a permanent black mark on the series.
With luck, more villains like the kid-napping cheery couple will come out of the woodwork. There are dozens of great Batman villains audiences aren’t familiar with. Some are too bizarre for serious television (Calendar Man, Crazy Quilt, Blockbuster, Kite Man, etc), but there’s a strong catalogue of rogues perfect for putting realistic terror into viewers (Zsasz, Black Mask, Hush, Terrible Trio, Scarecrow, etc). The right villains will fit into reality, but with enough dark flavor to establish Gotham as a veritable Pandemonium.
Episode Score: 8.1