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Gotham Wants You to Recycle


MaryAnn Sleasman

Oh look, another mayoral race at the center of Gotham's story arc. It's like no one realizes that there are other ways to be a powerful mofo in a city as messed up as Gotham. When has being the mayor of Gotham ever worked out well for anyone? The disgraced ex-mayor James? Galavan (James Frain)? Penguin of all people should know better, but with this season already stagnating in WTF-land, why not? Let's rehash a major plot point from last season and a decades-old (but still the awesomest) Tim Burton movie. Gotham already showed us last week that it can't write an original Poison Ivy story despite having three seasons to develop the character into her own incarnation. The Penguin-running-for-mayor storyline is as tired as it gets, but with nothing else going for it, Gotham gave itself no choice but to beat that dead bird to ultra extra death.

Gotham introduces you to Poison Ivy...again

I know, we still have Bruce-the-Clone to punch everyone in the face while making those irresistible puppy eyes, but that's basically Hush condensed to all the crummy parts and none of the great ones. Fake Bruce (David Mazouz) couldn't putter around Stately Wayne Manor forever, and he had to turn into a baddie, otherwise Gotham would have had to find a way to either deal with him like a person without the inconvenience of debating whether robo-clones are people or retcon him. It looks like puppy love for Selina (Camren Bicondova) is Fake Bruce's big motivator, much like his masochistic real-life counterpart. Selina's street smarts were tossed in favor of putting her under the clone's spell. I also appreciated that as soon as the real Bruce Wayne refused to chauffeur her around the shelters and hospitals in Gotham to look for wayward Ivy, Selina apparently just gave up, because it's not like she's spent her life getting stuff done the hard way looooong before Bruce's resources fell into her life. That's definitely the Selina we've come to know over the course of the series, right? Right.


Gotham has, from the very beginning, been a series not entirely comfortable with freedom, clinging to its source material for dear life while methodically punching itty bitty holes in its handy dandy bat-life-preserver. Jim Gordon has gone from being laughably unlikeable, like a well-meaning brah too dense to take the hint that he's irritating the nice ladies, to a legitimately unlikeable character obsessed with the women who left him, self-flagellating in the most macho way possible, and trying really hard to be dangerous and edgy, but mostly just coming off as repulsive. THIS GUY becomes Batman's most trusted confidant on the outside? Batman would kick this dude halfway to Metropolis before condoning half the mercenary-for-hire crap Gordon has been pulling all because Lee broke his heart and stomped all over the pieces or something. It really makes you wonder who the real villain in his relationship with Barbara was.

I want Gotham to return to the crazy creativity that gave us the Maniax early last season, the tragic origins of so many future rogues gallery all-stars, and sure, even Galavan. That doesn't mean replaying the story with a different cast or keeping Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) waiting in the wings like some kind of unspoken threat: "Oh, you don't like Gotham City political drama? Careful, we can always bring this hot mess back."

Do better, Gotham. I know you have it in you.