Gotham: “Harvey Dent” Review

Did you mean Selina Kyle?


Who names these episodes, seriously? There has been a running theme, and a gag among people who cover these shows, that Gotham names episodes after characters who have very little screen time or affect on what happens. This episode was named “Harvey Dent”, after the infamous District Attorney who is an ally to Jim Gordon, and soon Bruce Wayne, that will eventually become Two-Face. But because Dent has so little to do with, and in the episode, you would only know that, if you already know that.

gotham-ep109scn1015230hires2jpg-e14c57_960w“Harvey Dent” was a disjointed mess. The dialog was off, the B-story was forced, and each reveal was more superficial and telegraphed than the last. When Harvey was introduced, trying to scare that teen straight, and said “Teens almost always pick heads.” SO WHY DON’T YOU MAKE THE STIPULATION! It was just poorly written. Hell, The Dark Knight showed you exactly how to do this. Then, just as quickly as we meet him, we’re whisked away to follow the story of a mad bomber, Dick Lovecraft, who is busted out of prison by Russians.

His story was really boring considering he was billed as a demolitions master, creating bombs with nothing more than hopes and twine. It started out so interesting, then went no where fast. Introducing a character with that kind of potential, then stifling him was a bad move.

gotham-ep109scn913735hires2jpg-bc17c1_960wThere were so many distracting elements in “Harvey Dent” and none of them good. We were supposed to be watching a budding friendship between Bruce and Selina, and how a kid, crushed by the death of his parents and holed up in a mansion has trouble relating to another kid. Add to that, Selina isn’t exactly normal herself AND he’s dealing with a girl for what appears to be the first time. On the surface, all of those beats were hit, but the writing for the pre-teen actors is so off, it brought most of the scenes to a screeching halt. I understand (and like) the mashed time period they utilize in Gotham. It’s a tradition in most Batman stories, but when it comes to Selina, they can’t seem to decide if she’s a teen, a little streetwise before her time, or a legit numbers runner from the 20’s. I expect her to end every sentence with “ya see”. Then there’s Bruce, whose preferred workout attire is sweater, button up and slacks. I get he’s a blue-blood, but man, by that kid some gym shorts or something. Self-discipline means nothing if your shoes and sweater water log Brucie.

I was also a supporter of seeing some of the villains and allies of Bruce/Batman appear on Gotham, but having them show so many signs of their future selves, not so subtle winks and nods to their future is a little grating. When done well, it works, like Cobblepot. “Harvey Dent” was an example them getting it wrong. Every annoying aspect of the show was smashed into this one. Grating Edward Nygma, check. Harvey flipping coins and losing his temper, check. Bruce and Selina forming a bond through respect and some tension, check. But it all screams “You’re never actually going to see any of this”. All of those things are Batman tropes and characteristics, meaning they’ll either introduce them now, nullifying the effect they would have later, or we’re just being setup for zero payoff on this show.

gotham-ep109scn1313912hires2jpg-bc17c3_960wI’ve barley touched on the mob conflict, which has been a strong aspect of the show, but everything was so weak this time around, it was hard to fit it all in. Turns out Mooney was using Dick to destroy some of Falcones money. Her connections with Nikolai’s men, and their lust for revenge set it all in motion. Oh, and Penguin now knows that Liza is a spy for Mooney. Why, because reasons, that’s why. It makes sense that he would be the one to figure it out, but it was such a non event the way it was framed that I really didn’t care. Nothing held weight this episode. Even the reveal that Barbara was cheating on Jim with Montoya.

“Harvey Dent” just didn’t get it done. Gotham has shown flashes of being a good show. Not great, but elements and pieces have come together several times to show that this is something people should watch. Then there’s moments like this where every weakness is brought to light. The tone is off, the characters off, and the events weightless. Maybe this is just them going through some growing pains, but inconsistency isn’t something that Gotham can afford when the highs haven’t fully offset the lows.

Score: D


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