Gotham Season 1 Episode 3: “The Balloonman”
Directed by Dermot Downs
Written by Bruno Heller
Starring Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, David Mazouz, Camren Bicondova, Erin Richards, Zabryna Guevara, Andrew Stewart-Jones, and Victoria Cartegena FOX
Air Date: Monday, October 6, 2014, 8pm
Gotham 1.3 “The Balloonman” will be reviewed in just a moment. But first, let’s recap last week’s episode, “Selina Kyle.”
Be warned that there will be spoilers included below, so continue only if you’re caught up or don’t mind knowing what’s going on.
The children were the sad tormented stars of this episode as little Wayne (Bruce, that is) “tests” himself with fire and cutting. Alfred (Sean Pertwee) is beside himself and seeks Jim Gordon’s (Ben McKenzie) help, because of his solemn vow of no psychiatrists to the late Waynes. Jim tries, but Bruce (David Mamouz) sees right through him. This burgeoning friendship is sweet and authentic.
Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), whose mommy really loves him, does not listen to Jim’s warning , and is making his way back to Gotham however he can, killing and kidnapping included. Robin Lord Taylor, alternating nervousness and viciousness, plays Penguin masterfully. You find yourself almost feeling sorry for him as the bullied kid who strikes back.
Street kids are disappearing thanks to Patty and Doug (Creepy Lili Taylor and Frank Whaley) at the behest of The Dollmaker (new villain alert!). Jim and Harvey (Donal Logue) follow a lead (after fighting multiple times over each other’s policing) that leads to the lost kids. Yay! It’s comical the way they think they solve cases in the middle of the episode, congratulate themselves, and then get thrown right back into the same case. The mayor looks good by finding “loving” homes for the children. And by loving I mean right back into the clutches of Patty and Doug. Selina “Cat” Kyle (Camren Bicondova) is forced on the bus, but manages to escape long enough to perform an “eye”-ectomy on one of their goons allowing Jim and Harvey to once again save the kids. Right before she is once again sent upstate to a children’s home, Selina decides to use her knowledge to strike a deal. She tells Jim she knows who killed the Waynes.
Gotham 1.3 “The Balloonman”: Look forward to another Jim/Harvey investigating musical montage as they try to track down info on a unique vigilante! This one cuffs crooked figures to weather balloons to slowly rise to their deaths.
“Cat” dangles her info in front of Jim, til he is swatting for the toy, while remaining skeptical. What will be revealed? Will Jim keep his word? I’d like to believe so, but he’s been letting some shady things slide.
Penguin finally makes it home. His opening welcome is comedic, each second of scene through his eyes is used as a reflection of his character. He quickly “removes” his fierce dishwashing and shoe competition, and puts himself in the opportune path of another mob figure.
Again New York dresses herself in gloomy clouds and the grimy crime of the ’70s. It’s hard to pinpoint the “when” of it. Bruno Heller told Entertainment Weekly:
“It’s a mash-up, to use the modern phrase,” he said. “If today Batman exists, then this world is the past. But it’s everybody’s past, an 18-year-old’s past and a 54-year-old’s past. So in your memory, the past is all mashed up together. So in this Gotham, it’s a kind of timeless world. It’s yesterday, it’s today, and it’s tomorrow all at the same time, because that’s the world that dreams live in.”
That was a smart move. it removes all need for actual time period authenticity, allowing for more creativity.