Gotham 2.03 “The Last Laugh” Review

While watching the first season of Gotham, I found myself defending it a lot. Many people weren’t in love, and had a lot of things to say. My response would always be that ‘it’s a first season show finding its stride’. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am very comfortable saying that it has hit that stride.

In my last review, I talked about how we were going to see a vengeful Gordon moving forward, and we certainly did. It was a strong contrast to the ‘by the books’ Gordon that viewers have grown accustomed to, but certainly not a stretch. Jim Gordon gets very real when you hurt someone he cares about.

Gotham Writers

It was certainly nice to see Jim taking charge, as well.  Jim Gordon is a natural leader, but not a perfect one immediately, so it was nice to see that reflected.  I found myself laughing when he demanded to know who was in charge.  Yeah, that would be you, muffin.

The theme for this season has been the ‘Rise of the Villains’ and it has been just that up to this point. Barbara has found a cozy place for herself in her new role of crazy sauce with cheese, but with an interesting independence to go along with it. Not a lot has been said about her these past couple of reviews, and I’d like to take a moment to say that’s not because I haven’t found her suitably interesting. On the contrary, I like psycho Barbara infinitely more than anything we were presented with in the first season.

Erin Richards makes performing Barbara seem easy, which has made her swift transition completely believable. I found myself torn in the first season, because I hated the character but wanted Richards to remain on the show. With this new change, they have definitely granted that wish in a great way.  How about those Harley references, eh? Unlike some, I’m pretty on board with them heading in this direction, but I do hope they maintain her fierce independence, instead of moving in the direction of typical Harley Quin.

Before we start talking about Jerome, I need to point out that I am not a ‘team villains’ person, especially, especially when it comes to the Joker, in any iteration. I’m a steadfast Barbara Gordon fan, so I’ll let you fill in the blanks there yourself.  Now, with that being said, every single thing that Jarome has brought to this season has been gold. Solid gold. You find yourself laughing with him, despite your alignments, and it’s disconcerting.  It makes you think, it makes you feel that brief moment of shame before you’re giggling again at the next psycho thing he’s done.  A+ to Cameron Monaghan, and the Gotham writers, because his character has thus far made season 2 for me. Which is what made the end of the episode so rough, but we’ll discuss that soon enough.

Perhaps I am alone here, but I find the Galavans to be very textbook and a little boring. The moments used to bring them awe just seem like they’re trying too hard. Tabitha’s line ‘He’s a monster in the sack’ to the Deputy Mayor, for example. What was the point of that? I don’t want to steer too negative here, so suffice to say I am left wanting with these two characters, but am interested to see where they’re going.

I subscribe to the Whedon doctrine of ‘be dark, be grim, but for the love of god, tell a joke’, and I love that Gotham does so. Alfred’s hitting on Lee was a perfect mixture of awkward and funny. It was interested to see the difference of the tone from the teaser that they released prior to the episode and the actual tone of the scene. In the teaser things seemed tense, but really it was just Pennyworth trying to figure out how to talk to a lady. Come on, man! You’re British, just talk to her!

Lee and Barbara meeting face to face was an okay moment that went exactly as expected. I’m not bothered by this. Not every second of every episode can be groundbreaking and out of the norm. I did love that Lee got a shot in on Barbara though, that was fun!

One of my favorite moments of this episode was one that wasn’t focused on, and honestly, that made it even better.  In this episode, we got our first taste of key members of the Bat Family working together.  It will certainly be more interesting as we get more characters involved, but Jim, Alfred, and Bruce forming a plan and playing it out had me absolutely giddy!

This was quickly overthrown by my least favorite part of the season so far, the death of Jerome.  Whether he was the ‘real’ Joker or not, the character brought a certain something great to Gotham.  While this moment did ‘up’ the seedy factor for the Galavans, I just can’t see it as a good move for the show, especially while the Theo and Tabitha are as bland as they are.   Arguably, now there’s more opportunity to focus on them, but I have a hard time seeing either of them live up to Jerome’s level of villainy, or be half as interesting.  ‘You stole my city and now I’m here to take it back’ just doesn’t do it for me.

The use of the dead father’s prophecy was certainly a worth while ending to the episode.  It’s said that when the heroes get guns, the villains will find bigger guns.  So, what happens when a villain sets the bar, and the rest seek to match him?  There’s also the question of if that is even what we were seeing.  We haven’t been introduced to magic in Gotham yet, though it certainly exists in the Batman universe.  The quickness of the change and the levels of crazy almost make you question if we are close to that coming out.

The Good

  • Bat Family working together!
  • Cameron Monaghan’s performance
  • Alfred hitting on Lee
  • All of the great one-liners!  ‘People say Bruce Wayne has a split personality’ – c’mon!

The Bad

  • The Galavans
  • The death of Jerome

 

All in all, this was still an enjoyable episode, and an explosive continuation of an amazing season 2.   I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next week.  For now, I give The Last Laugh a 7.5/10!

Amelia Emberwing

Amelia loved many great things as a kid, but Harry Potter and Batman were what really brought her in to the world of fandom. Her tastes are eclectic and she firmly believes that one doesn't have to choose between Marvel and DC or Star Wars and Star Trek. Charities and well developed, strong female characters are the way to her heart, and she survives on a steady IV of caffeine, rants, pixie dust and fangirling.

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