Gotham 1.17: “Red Hood”

And this week’s most uncomfortable scene award goes to…

When I complained that Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) needed more to do on Gotham, her sexing up Selina (Camren Bicondova) isn’t what I had in mind.

In an episode of Gotham filled with odd (and sometimes violent) twists, Barbara’s insistence that Selina would look great in an adult evening dress stands out. That’s going to make future conversations between Catwoman and Barbara (Batgirl) Gordon awkward.

“Hey, didn’t that dress used to belong to my mom?”

“Yeah, I got it when we were living together.”

O_o. I’m not sure the show intended the scene to come across as sexually predatory on Barbara’s part. I suspect it was meant to be a girl bonding moment. But it certainly plays as if the only reason Barbara wants Selina in sexy clothes is because she finds Selina attractive. And given their respective ages, that slides Barbara close to sexual predator.

If the show actually wants to go there, Erin Richards played it perfectly. If the point of Barbara’s character is to show how a basically decent person becomes corrupted by the darkness in Gotham and then Gordon, representing the light, brings her back from the brink, I’m good with that, save that Barbara’s descent needs to be more than moping, looking sad, a few short sex scenes with Renee and Jim, and lots of wine consumption.

But back to the somehow less disturbing violence of Gotham.

Possible Joker Origin, copyright DC Comics.
Possible Joker origin, copyright DC Comics.

I groaned with the announcement of the Red Hood gang for this episode, suspecting it might be another annoying Joker tease, as one origin of the Joker is that the Red Hood fell into a vat of chemicals that changed his appearance and drove him mad. But this Red Hood gang turned out to be entertaining and darkly funny: hey, we’re the Red Hood gang and we rob banks.

DC Comics cover from 1937, first appearance of the Red Hood
DC Comics cover from 1937, first appearance of the Red Hood.
Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bullock (Donal Logue) did police work to bring down our modern day Bonnie and Clydes. Back that up: Gordon and Bullock acted like detectives. Alert the media. Granted, they didn’t have to do much to bring down this gang of incompetents, but they watched surveillance tape, investigated a hide-out, interviewed a witness, and even followed a suspect when they didn’t have enough evidence to charge him. Plus, Bullock snarked his way through the investigation. My favorite lines:

“I just saw a bum eating oysters.” — After the Red Hood gang tossed cash into the street to cover their getaway.

“This brazen audacity cannot be tolerated.” Perfect delivery by Donal Logue.

“If I don’t drink it, you know forensics will.” — While opening a bottle of soda left in the fridge with a corpse.

“When crooks become more popular than cops: anarchy.”

“I need a Danish.” — After the last member of the original gang has been shot down.

Bullock and Gordon didn’t even beat a confession out of anyone, though they did threaten to let one gang member bleed to death to gather information. Oddly, Gordon seemed to think this was fine, so he’s come a long way from the by-the-book cop from the pilot. And, yes, there’s the obligatory Joker tease, as a boy picks up the discarded red hood at the end, and imagines himself a bank robber.

While the A-plot amused me, the B-plots with Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) and Bruce (David Mazouz) will be the most-talked about moments from last night.

Fish certainly didn’t half-ass her plan this week.

Fish, still struggling to find some way out of a place where prisoners are used as spare body parts for the rich, confronts the director of the prison, who turns out to be the Dollmaker. That’s the villain from the early season plot to steal all the homeless children and ship them somewhere unknown. I’d almost forgotten about him.

When the Dollmaker turns down Fish’s demands and threatens to kill her, pointing out her eyeballs would fetch a good price, she grabs a spoon, gouges out her eyeball and stomps on it so it can’t be used.

Best use of a utensil since the spork in Alias. Eyepatch time!

However, I’m not sure how this helps Fish because she collapses after, meaning the bad guys can put her on ice, medically, and still harvest her body parts. Perhaps she thought the Dollmaker was bluffing and called him on it. I’ve grown to enjoy Fish. I wonder if she’ll end up a hero if she takes down the Dollmaker and frees everyone from the prison? Fish Mooney for Mayor!

Reggie’s entrance should have been the first clue…

Alfred also ended up in the hospital at the end of the episode, betrayed and stabbed by Reggie (David O'Hara), an old friend from his British black ops days. This attack was connected to Bruce’s investigation of the Wayne Enterprises board. I loved Sean Pertwee having something to do and Alfred’s assertion that knowing Bruce “made him a better person” said much about his past and future. Alfred lets his guard down for once, with an old friend, and pays for it with a near-fatal stab to the chest. Bruce is inconsolable at the hospital, having already lost too many people in his life.

Penguin’s bar has run dry.
However, viewers knew this segment would turn out sideways for Alfred. The ominous and ever-present lightning foreshadowed it with all the subtlety of Red Hood’s overtly-stated connection to Robin Hood. I’ve no idea how the storm only affected Wayne Manor or why Alfred seems to have not paid the electric bill, leading to all the gloomy darkness in the Manor. And, hey, Alfred, that kitchen needs a serious overhaul, too, once you’re done getting power restored and recovering from near-death. (He’ll recover. He’s Alfred.)

Meanwhile, Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) is given a few scenes to remind viewers that Butch (Drew Powell) is working for him now. Penguin, thinking of Fish, asserts that “Perhaps it’s not our friends but our enemies that define us.”

Unsubtle foreshadowing show, as per usual.

I’m surprised the lightning didn’t illuminate Penguin’s face as he said it, while thunder boomed in the distance.

Corrina Lawson is a writer, mom, geek and superhero, though not always all four on the same day. She is a senior editor of the GeekMom blog at Wired and the author of a superhero romance series and an alternate history series featuring Romans and Vikings in ancient North America. She has been a comic book geek all her life and often dreamed of growing up to be Lois Lane.

Read all posts by Corrina Lawson for Criminal Element.

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