Television: Gotham, "The Mask"

What would have made an interesting, if thin, plot is subsumed by other goings-on.

Case of the week: a dead man with a finger in his throat leads Gordon, Bullock, et al to a financial institution where the boss forces men to fight. Like, literally. The men are taken to an abandoned (yet fully stocked) office and told to fight until there is only one man standing. That man gets the job, the bonus, the promotion, what-have-you.

Yeah, there's not a lot to it, and you know if an episode starts with men forced to fight to the death, it's going to end with your main character in that exact situation. Which "The Mask" did. Gordon ends up forced to fight four masked guys, and then the boss himself. The cavalry comes too late, but it's the thought that counts, since Gordon is still feeling slighted by the fact the entire police force abandoned him last week.

Since the episodic stuff was watery, the episode plugged the gaps with B and C plots that featured Bruce getting bullied at his new school and Fish Mooney shoving her protégée into increasingly uncomfortable dealings. Oh, and Barbara is coming even more undone, to the point that she leaves Gordon at the end of the episode. Penguin keeps doing his thing, too. ::shrug::

Actually, I liked that there were a few different things going on; that made the episode more interesting than most. I know a lot of people get annoyed with the Bruce stuff, but I like watching his character develop. And I'm very fond of Sean Pertwee as Alfred. Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish is also pretty stellar; though the character is a bit one-note, Pinkett Smith is making the most of the material.

I'm still not 100% into Gotham. I know this because I'm not to the point where I'd be sad if it were cancelled. I wouldn't sit and wonder what had happened to any of these characters. But maybe that's because their futures have already been mapped in comics and movies. Sure, the fun is in getting there, but so far this ride has had a mix of scenery: some interesting, some not. I hope we find a stretch of highway that is smooth and has consistent views.

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