Review: Gotham 1.01 – “Pilot”

The time has come for one of the most anticipated new shows of the fall season to premiere! Gotham is diving deep into the popular Batman lore to deliver a series about the early days of Detective James “Jim” Gordon’s (Ben McKenzie) start as rookie cop in the seedy city of Gotham. The premise is huge and because of all the anticipation, I was worried it would be a let down, but so far, the pilot shows promise.

The pilot starts with an interesting character: a young Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (Camren Bicondova) scaling the roof tops of the buildings just like a- well- cat. She then free falls to the street where she steals some milk and a wallet from Gotham citizens. She steals the milk to feed a cat? Okay, definitely the future Catwoman. She happens to be in the very same alley that a young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and his parents (Grayson McCouch & Brette Taylor) decide to come down.  Selina watches as their joyous night is stopped short when a random masked man decides to rob them and shoot both of the elder Wayne’s dead. The man runs off with the wallet as Bruce’s mother’s pearls fall to the ground. Bruce cries out in agony! This is Gotham!

Gotham City Police Department has a dang cool police station. I’m loving the set. The show wastes no time introducing us to Jim Gordon after an incoming inmate steals a cop’s gun and demands his pills. Jim tricks him and ends up saving the day. Everyone is happy except one guy, his grizzled old partner, Detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue). They don’t have much time to argue because they are called down to the scene of the Waynes’ murders.

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Harvey discovers that the deceased are none other than Thomas and Martha Wayne. He immediately knows he doesn’t want to get involved, but it is too late as Jim has already started talking to Bruce. Jim is a good guy, let us not forget, and he comforts Bruce, promising to find the killer. He even relates a story about how his father died after being hit by a drunk driver. Sad. Alfred Pennyworth shows up and Bruce runs into his arms. He almost sarcastically wishes Jim good luck on the case. Hm.

Harvey and Jim go to a diner. Harvey still doesn’t want to mess with the case. Two other detectives from the Major Crimes Unit, Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) and Crispus Allen (Andrew Stewart-Jones), come in and ask to take the case off of their hands. Jim and Harvey (surprisingly) both refuse. Later, the Mayor of Gotham (Richard Kind) publicly mourns the Waynes and demands a capture of the murderer. The police captain (Zabryna Guevara) tells them that they have to close the case. Harvey begs her to give him a different partner than Jim, but she refuses. These two are not getting along! Yay, conflict.

What follows is an odd montage of them capturing and interrogating muggers. With help from a young Edward Ngyma (Cory Michael Smith), they conclude that the murderer may be more than a mugger. Harvey decides to pull out his Fish Mooney card. They go to visit Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith, with a strange, but fun accent). She is part of the mob scene, working under crime lord Carmine Falcone (John Doman). One of her lackey’s is none other than Oswald Cobblepot aka the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor). It is really fun to see beloved Batman characters as well as new ones!

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It seems Harvey and Fish (what kind of name is that?) have a great repertoire, something that doesn’t sit well with Jim. Later, Jim goes home to his beloved and beautiful fiancee, Barbara Keane (Erin Richards). I can’t help but think they have a crazy-nice apartment. Dang, it’s nice. These two have no chemistry at all and it really brought up their not so good acting in this scene. Eeeh, awkward.

Harvey and Ryan, I mean, sorry, Jim (sorry, sometimes I think this is the O.C.) get a lead. They visit a Mario Pepper, a thug with a battered wife and daughter named Ivy. Hmm. He denies being guilty but then decides to throw the table across the room and run. Typical rooftop gun chase scene that turns into a fist fight ensues. Luckily for Jim, Harvey shoots Mario Pepper dead just before he was going to stab Jim. Phew. Or was that a mistake? This show has me paranoid about everyone’s motives.

Afterwards, the cops on the scene find Mrs. Wayne’s pearl necklace in Mario’s house. Yay! The murderer was caught. Everyone cheers, even though we all know that wasn’t true. For some reason, Oswald aka The Penguin, meets with rival detectives Renee and Crispus, and tells them Fish Mooney and the cops planted the necklace on Mario Pepper. Why would he do that?!

Meanwhile, poor young Bruce attends his parents funeral. Young Catwoman- or should I call her a stalker at this point- watches. Bruce thanks Jim and Harvey for finding his parents’ killer, even though we still know it’s not true.

In perhaps the oddest scene of the premiere, Barbara gets a visit from rival cop, Renee. Renee warns Barbara about Jim being a bad guy. Okay, really? And then she sorta implies she and Barbara had something in their past together? I don’t know what that’s about. Later, Barbara confronts Jim and he denies being bad and she believes him. So that was just weird… Jim then confronts Renee and tells her to stay out of it.

Jim does some of his own investigating and presents his evidence to Harvey, who tells him to let it go. Very suspicious behavior. Jim then visits Fish, who is becoming more and more fun. She tells him he has danger in his eyes and then gets her men to beat him. When Jim awakens he is tied up in a meat factory with her right hand man, Bruce (Drew Powell). Meanwhile, Barbara worries about a missing Jim, but Harvey lies to her about his whereabouts.

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I’m not gonna lie, it’s sad to see the Gotham skyline without the Bat Signal. Harvey tracks down Jim to the meat factory and demands that Fish let Jim go, revealing that she has a snitch (Penguin) in her company. She refuses, because he threatens her, so she has Harvey tied up too. Luckily, Carmine Falcone and his mob men burst in to save the day. Fish, who is watching a comedy show at her club, hilariously asks Penguin to rub her feet then accuses him of being a snitch before beating him and hitting him with a chair. It is great! I wish the show would just make the leap and be a bit more comical and over-the-top. I think it works better than this quasi-gritty, comic book quality.

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Anyways, Falcone gives Jim a speech to stay quiet because now Jim knows that basically everyone in the police force, government, and everywhere else is corrupt. Jim doesn’t want to do that, but has to. Falcone also admits he was friends with Jim’s father. Ooh, interesting. Later, Harvey tells Jim he lied to him earlier and that the city is bad. He then pulls a tied-up Penguin out of the truck and tells Jim he has to kill him or he and everyone he loves will die. Jim is obviously reluctant because he is a GOOD GUY, but he does it – or so you think. He tells Penguin to leave Gotham forever and fake shoots him.

Jim is a changed man now! He goes to visit Bruce at Wayne Manor. Bruce happens to be standing on the roof, conquering fears. Jim tells Bruce the murderer is still alive and he promises to find him and bring justice to the city! Big goals for the season right there. As he leaves, stalker Catwoman perches on the outside walls.

Finally we end with a dramatic resurfacing of Penguin, who then kills an old man randomly. No, wait, he kills him to eat his sandwich. Gotham looms in the distance!

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All and all, the pilot was good. I wouldn’t call it great because it’s still struggling to find it’s voice. But there is a lot of potential and it is pretty fun to play with the beloved characters beginnings. If they want to follow in the footsteps of Smallville, which ran for 10 seasons, they really got to milk it, which I think they can. I’m excited for the next episode and to see where the show goes. Personally, I’m hoping it goes more “comical” but not in a cheesy way, which is hard to do. But let’s see where it goes.

Hopefully we will get to know the characters more and more and the show doesn’t get too bogged down by plot! If we don’t care about the characters, we won’t care about anything else. So here’s to some good character development!

What did you guys think of the Pilot? Let me know in the comments below!

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Post Author: Ben Fleck