Gotham Season 4 Episode 1: ‘Pax Penguina’ Review

[featured image: fox]

Gotham is finally back for its fourth season and it’s off to a pretty good start. Although this show is by no means perfect it manages to deliver most weeks. This episode was primarily good with very little complaints to go along with it.

One of the greatest things is that we finally get to see Jonathan Crane again and not only that but we also get to see him become the Scarecrow. We haven’t seen him since season 1 episodes 14 and 15.

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If I had any complaints, it would be the huge gap between seeing him then and seeing him now. Although the episode did a fairly decent job at making it work, it does feel lightly fragmented. Season 1 Gotham wasn’t shy when it came to Easter eggs, for example, we had Ed holding the mug with the question mark on it in season 1 episode 6, in various episodes, Selina is called “Cat”, and in season 1 episode 9 Harvey Dent has half his face cast in shadow, but none were quite like Jonathan Crane.

Although we didn’t get to explore him too much in the first season, but more his father, we were introduced to the possibility of the Scarecrow by the end of season 1 episode 15 and it really felt like we were going to see more of him and his story by the end of the season or in season 2. That should have happened. What we got of Jonathan didn’t feel like a simple Easter egg, it felt like the start of something. Even with this new episode, it’s hard not to feel that way still, like we should have had this long ago.

In terms of consistency, it would have worked slightly better to have seen the Scarecrow story back then, however, after the success of Jervis Tetch in season 3, I will admit that I have a lot of hope that they will do the Scarecrow the same kind of justice which makes the massive gap in time so much more forgivable. I have some fear that we won’t see Jonathan again and just the Scarecrow from now on, but I’m willing to leave those concerns until we’ve seen more episodes.

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The next big thing, and an honest improvement, would have to be Victor Zsasz who probably said more in this episode than he has on this entire show. We also got more personality too. Despite not having much screen time he’s arguably one of the most loved characters on Gotham, we’re supposed to see him in quite a few episodes this season and it’ll be interesting to see how he’s used. Will he get some sort of storyline? I hope so.It does seem like it’s primarily going to be about him working for Oswald, but

It does seem like it’s primarily going to be about him working for Oswald, but hopefully, he gets his own thing, even if it’s just for a couple of episodes. We saw back in season 1 that he’s already in the habit of carving tallies into his skin so if they’re picking up Jonathan Crane from season 1, perhaps they’ll pick up this little moment for Zsasz.

He’s so underused and it’s nice to finally see that he might be treated right. He was by far one of the best things about this episode and if that continues, I’m going to be content.

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A personal favourite would have to be that Batcat roof scene. It was nice to see Bruce’s apology to Selina on screen. It was even more satisfying that it took place on the rooftop. The way it was shot, the colours, the music, everything about it blended together just right.

I enjoy the fact that they’ve completely made up yet and they’re still on their own paths right now, but if we get scenes like that one again, it’ll still be a good season for their relationship. There were little moments that told us that they’re still connected and will continue to be so from here on out. The way Bruce gets up on the ledge, and the way he compliments her. The way Selina tries to play it cool but you can see her visibly shaking. David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova play off each other so well and it creates by far one of the best depictions of the Bruce and Selina relationship.

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Bruce’s struggle between balancing life behind a mask and life as Bruce Wayne is great to see. We can already see the start of him preferring life as Batman and being a vigilante. Despite the route we’re taking I do doubt that we’ll see Batman any time soon, and I appreciate that one way to keep Bruce grounded and to slow his journey just a little, is Alfred.

“There is a time for masks, and there is a time for Bruce Wayne.”

There are a couple of times throughout the episode where we get to see Bruce being himself and using that to get what he needs. For example, the way he gets the information from Oswald and then later stands up to try and stop Oswald from killing those men. Both times he did it without his mask. It’s the perfect set up to allow us to see both Bruce and his masked counterpart trying to protect Gotham, leaving much room for Batman content later on in the season, or the shows lifspan, without cramming it all in now.

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The relationship between Selina and Tabitha was everything I ever wanted and more. Seeing the latter care in such a motherly way wasn’t too surprising. There were split moments of such a relationship with Silver St Cloud in season 2, but both Tabitha and Selina seemed to have developed a close relationship already and it seems that’s only going to grow.

It’ll be interesting to see how that changes when Barbara connects with the duo.  From interviews, it seems like it’s only going to strengthen, but even so, it’s bound to change in some way. There definitely seems to be a family element there and it’s such a genuine pleasure to watch as opposed to just seeing some kind strict mentor who doesn’t actually care.

While Bruce has Alfred to teach him and look out for him, Selina now has Tabitha. The two just work so well as a pair and it really can only get better from here. Also, that scene in the alleyway was fantastic. We got to see Selina use the whip, and it turned out to be a training session with Tabitha, but it wasn’t too much all at once.

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Elsewhere, Oswald is back on top again and it’s honestly no surprise. One thing Gotham does well is make you feel emotional whenever Oswald is torn down, despite knowing that he will rise up again, just like he always does.

This time he’s on top in a fairly different way. He’s focusing more on Gotham’s underworld but still reaching quite far without spreading himself too thin. From him saying, “I remember when I sat there, in the mayor’s chair. I do not envy you.” we know that he’s not upset about no longer being Mayor, but he’s still trying to possess some kind of control over those areas by instrumenting the licenses and bringing officials like the Mayor, and the Commissioner into the mix.

The licenses are definitely an interesting factor and I’m curious to see how they play out from here. It’s only episode one and they’ve already caused such an uproar. We also saw Oswald get sprayed with the fear toxin so we could see many more bumps in the road for him throughout the season.

Speaking of the gas, I loved that the thing Owald saw was Ed. We know, and it’s made apparent throughout this episode, that he most likely never plans to set him free and it seems like Oswald has no real idea of what the effects of the ice may be or if Ed is even still alive. However, on the off chance that Ed is okay in there (which we, the audience, know he’s alive at least) Oswald is most certainly not going to want to come face to face with him. Oswald could be scared of the idea that he may have to confront what he’s done, and/or be scared of what Ed could do to him in retaliation.

It’s only a snippet and although I really don’t expect to see any substantial interactions between Ed and Oswald for a while hopefully this little moment with the fear toxin, and others like it, comes up gradually in the meantime.

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Some other things worth noting:

  • Harvey trying, and once again failing, to not give a shit about what happens with Jim only to end up going along with his plans anyway.
  • Bruce leaving while Jim is still talking.
  • Charlie Tahan as Jonathan Crane.
  • I hope we see a lot more of the Iceberg Lounge because I really don’t care at this point. I kind of wish he’d taken over what used to be Fish’s club and then Oswald’s. For filming locations maybe it wasn’t plausible but I hope we see more of the Iceberg Lounge and that him converting Sirens comes into it a bit more.
  • Jim reminded me a lot of season 1 in this episode. The way that everyone in the GCPD was doing one thing and he was off doing the complete opposite. The last time the GCPD was severely corrupt was back in season 1 and although it’s not that bad right now, it’s heading back in that direction. I’m liking the vibe of it in this episode and it seems to be acting as a springboard for more classic Harvey and Jim.
  • I think it’s funny to note that Harvey never wanted to be Captain and yet he still is at this point.
  • The Bruce and Oswald scenes were so perfect and we’re going to need much more of them in the future.
  • Those Zsasz and Alfred moments.
  • Selina and Tabitha getting pizza after a successful day of training.
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