Gotham 1.09: “Harvey Dent”

 Bruce Wayne (David Mazouza) and Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) strike a deal in Gotham Season 1 Epiosde 09 "Harvey Dent."
Bruce and Selina strike a deal.

This episode was called “Harvey Dent” but it should have been dubbed “Two-Face,” for the dual nature of nearly everyone involved, starting with those crazy kids, Bruce (David Mazouz) and Selina (Camren Bicondova).

With far more subtlety than this show has shown so far, young Selina brings out the Bruce and eventual Batman selves in the young rich orphan. First, she tells Bruce that his training in boxing and self-discipline won’t help on the streets. “In Gotham, people don’t fight with gloves on.” We know, Selina.

Then Selina brings out the fun side of Bruce, hinting at his later, playboy, persona. She challenges him to a food fight with a kiss from her as the prize and the pair play like, well, the kids they are. She also provides solace when Bruce reveals his regret over not saving his parents. “What could you have done? A gun’s a gun!” Selina states. More than anything, this gets through to him.

Less clear is whether Bruce gets through to Selina, especially when she gives him several obviously false tales about her mother. Selina’s mother has never played a big part in her stories, if she’s mentioned at all, but her father? That’s another story because, in certain tales, Selina is the illegitimate daughter of one Carmine Falcone (John Doman).

If Gotham chooses to delve into that parental connection, well, things could get very interesting fast.

Ah, but back to the plot, which has more to do with the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne than any episode in a long while. Working from Selina’s description, a sketch artist creates a portrait of the killer. It’s nobody anyone recognizes, which gives me hope that the killer is, in fact, Joe Chill. Why would I prefer that? Because, in the comics, Chill was simply a desperate thief who resorted to murder, making him a banal symbol of Gotham’s problems rather than a super villain or part of a vast conspiracy. Somehow it seems fitting because, in the end, Batman fights against street crime and Bruce Wayne against the conditions that produce street crime.

Foreshadowing, quite literally.

However, unlike me, Assistant District Attorney Harvey Dent (Nicholas D'Agosto) sees conspiracies everywhere. While Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) and Allen (Andrew Stewart-Jones) claim Dent is on their side and can be trusted, Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) isn’t so sure. But, still, Gordon agrees to go ahead with Dent’s plan to leak a story about having a witness ready to testify that the killer was hired by billionaire Dick Lovecraft.

Lovecraft comes out of nowhere. He’s not in the comics and he’s not been mentioned before either. One wonders what Lovecraft’s doing hanging around a dump like Gotham, especially when Dent harasses him at every step, but I suspect he’s there to prove just how unhinged Dent already is. The flash of temper Dent displays during their meeting is very reminiscent of the “Big Bad Harv” personality that Harvey Dent (not yet Two-Face) acquires in Batman: The Animated Series. Two-Face is two-faced already, he just needs the living mask. Let’s hope Maroni doesn’t toss that acid at Dent yet because I’d like to see Gordon and company make some headway.

Jim and Harvey are on it.

While Bruce and Selina bond and Gordon gains an ally, Bullock (Donal Logue) investigates the crime-of-the-week, about a mentally ill bomber, Ian Hargrove, who is freed by some Russian thugs. Hargrove also has two personalities: savant and crazy bomber but he seems pretty sane and reasonable to me. Note to GCPD: try not labeling your trucks clearly as “Prisoner Transport.” That might make it harder for people to hijack you. (The GCPD stupidity is more than matched by the security guards who receive the first bomb disguised as a foodie gift basket and are thrilled. Dudes, that food looked less than appetizing.)

But in a move that ties the bomber plot back into the simmering mob war plot, it’s revealed Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) hired the Russians to use Hargrove to build a bomb capable of breaking into Falcone’s big vault o’ cash. It’s the smartest thing Fish has done so far. The money and the Russians are blown up when Gordon and Bullock arrive to arrest them. Fish doesn’t care. She didn’t need the money, only to hurt Falcone.

I wondered if these disposable Russians were from the comics but I had no memory of them and couldn’t find a reference online. I’ll point out that one of Batman’s later foes is called the KGBeast, a Russian who wrecks havoc in Gotham.

And Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor)? He doesn’t kill anyone this week but he is creepier than ever. He breaks into Liza’s (Makenzie Leigh) apartment to smell her scarves. Later, he notes the same strong lilac smell on Fish Mooney, leading him to conclude Liza works for Fish. He’s right but, jeez, Oswald, lilac is a popular scent. That’s a reach. Maybe he should’ve consulted Eddie, who off being weird and yet utterly competent this episode.

Oswald threatens Liza and Liza eventually agrees to do whatever Oswald says to stay alive. Seems a good strategy around Oswald. So now Liza is going to be two-faced by reporting to Fish and Oswald. Everybody’s got a secret, except Gordon.

The mob situation in Gotham now stands as this: Oswald has Maroni and Falcone taking his advice and he’s gathering evidence against Fish. Fish has blown up Falcone’s money. Maroni has stolen from Falcone. Yeah, that’s not going to end well for Fish and Maroni.

On the police side, Gordon has a witness and a sketch of the Wayne’s killer, plus an ally to prosecute the case.

What he doesn’t have is a fiancée anymore, as Barbara (Erin Richards) indeed left him a “Dear Jim” letter. She has to get herself together, she says. Also, she’s tired of posing prettily in the clock tower and being put on buses. (She didn’t say that but you know she was thinking it.)

That makes more sense than anything Barbara has done, except that getting herself together turns out to be “having sex with my old lover, Renee Montoya.” Seriously, Jim, Renee: can we talk? I get that Barbara’s beautiful but the girl’s a dim bulb. What’s the attraction?

Alfred, the BAMF (the B doesn’t stand for Butler).

Next week: Alfred shows off the BAMF (bad-ass, oh, you fill in the rest) that he is when Dent’s plan goes awry and bad guys come after Selina and Bruce. It’s the fall finale, so perhaps Jim might even show off a personality other than glum.


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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