Better To Reign In Hell
Burn The Witch
Look Into My Eyes
New Day Rising
Anything For You
Follow The White Rabbit
Beware The Green-Eyed Monster
Smile Like You Mean It
The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies
How The Riddler Got His Name
These Delicate And Dark Obsessions
The Primal Riddle
Light The Wick
All Will Be Judged
Pretty Hate Machine
Following the open ending of Season 2, the third season of Gotham picks up 6 months after the events of last year. With villains all across Gotham City fighting for power and Detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and a young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) caught in the middle of this struggle, the show is more action packed than ever before. With an over-reliance on cliched tropes and some questionable character angles, the action this year doesn’t always translate to the overall plot which varies wildly in quality.
The overarching mystery this year revolves around a strange group called the Court Of Owls who rule over Gotham. On top of that, the Mad Hatter (Benedict Samuel) is introduced along with a few new villains and the emergence of a virus that turns people into frenzied monsters. There’s no denying that there’s a lot packed into the 22 episodes this year but the execution sometimes leaves a lot to be desired.
The biggest problem with Gotham is its inability to pull the trigger and take the show in a different direction. Despite being an alternate take on a pre-Batman Gotham, the inability to kill off any characters is a real problem. Its predicable – we know none of the villains will get killed because Batman grows up and thwarts their plans. Even worse still, several characters look like they’ve met a grisly end this year in dramatic fashion only to be magically brought back to life via some convenient plot handling. The trouble with this style of plotting is that it alleviates any tension built up through the episodes and as such, makes it very difficult to become invested in the characters.
Its made worse by the writing for arguably two of the most endearing characters in the show, Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith). The main plot line for these two characters this year begins with Penguin in love with The Riddler and caught in a jealous rage when Riddler finds a new love interest. Its made even more bizarre by the fact that nothing in the previous 44 episodes would even suggest Penguin’s sexual orientation would swing this way, especially after his joy at watching Barbara and Tabatha kissing in Gotham’s club last year. Its ill conceived, clumsy and the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Its a shame too because late on in the season these two become the focal point of a power struggle that engulfs the city and Riddler in particular is an absolute scene stealer.
Speaking of character angles, Bruce and Selina’s teased relationship is finally explored this year too, albeit only for a few episodes. With more emphasis on progressing toward becoming The Dark Knight and training to become the caped crusader, season 3 feels like the show is finally progressing forwards. Its a relief too, with so many villains finally being introduced in Gotham there needs to be another hero other than Jim Gordon to root for. Driven forward by another solid year of costume and set design, there’s absolutely no denying that Gotham is a lot of fun and its finale is arguably the best episode of the entire show.
Overall, the third season of Gotham doesn’t quite feel as tightly woven as last year. There’s some nice ideas here but its dampened by a fear of killing off any of the key characters. The show loses tension because of this and the storyline varies wildly through the season from excellent to questionable. The characters themselves are also a mixed bag, ranging from bad to very good. With an excellent finale and some strong acting all round, Gotham once again proves to be the perfect mix of action and complicated storytelling in a pre-Batman world. Although it doesn’t always hit the mark, when it does there’s no denying that Gotham provides some very entertaining television.
Verdict - 7/10