TV Review: Gotham Season 1 Episode 2

Episode: "Selina Kyle"

Synopsis: Detectives Gordon and Bullock investigate a child trafficking ring preying on Gotham’s street kids, including Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova). Meanwhile, Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) resurfaces in the countryside and begins to make his way back to GOTHAM, leaving victims in his wake.

Recap: While the pilot episode had the unenviable job of introducing over ten major characters in GOTHAM, Bruce Wayne felt like a secondary factor.  Tonight's episode opens with the still grieving Bruce playing with fire, literally, as he burns his hand on a candle flame.  Alfred bursts in and upon seeing the wound both chastises and quickly comforts the orphan Bruce.  This quickly segues to a scene featuring the young Catwoman, Selina Kyle, amongst some homeless teens when some do-gooders bring them food before drugging them and taking them away, shooting an old man.  At one point, one of the escaping teens is thrown through the window of a restaurant.

Gordon and Bullock are called to investigate the body of the dead veteran.  Gordon, as he did in the pilot, rips the duty officer who was busy reporting the kid thrown through the window because the restaurant pays him for protection.  At the station, the teen explains this was not the first time the strange couple have attacked homeless teens, but Bullock goes off on the kid.  Gordon pulls Bullock aside but not before they start a shoving match regarding Gordon's supposed murder of Oswald Cobblepot.  At the same time, we find Cobblepot stumbling along a road a few miles from Gotham, hitchhiking.  Stumbling like a penguin, Cobblepot is picked up by a pair of frat boys whom he quickly murders with a beer bottle when they call him by the hated nickname.

Back at the station, Gordon and Bullock are informed by Edward Nygma that the teen had a fast-acting knockout drug called ATP in his system but the drug has not been used since Arkham Asylum closed.  They decide to check in with Fish Mooney who we find meeting with Don Falcone.  Falcone relates Penguin's admission from the pilot to which Fish denies completely.  Renee Montoya and her partner visit Penguin's mother as they investigate his disappearance and get nowhere.  In a hidden cell, the kidnapped teens awaken to find themselves completely trapped.

Having dinner with Barbara, Jim confides about the corruption he sees with the missing teen case.  She suggests calling it in to the newspaper and then takes the initiative herself.  Gordon and Bullock then find the three companies that sell the ATP and investigate.  At one location, the mystery couple discusses terms with the employee who has been supplying them with the drug.  When he raises his fee, they mention they are working for The Dollmaker.  Gordon and Bullock arrive.  They have a gunfight with the couple before chasing them off in their van.  Gordon overhears the warehouse manager mention hosing down the room and he finds the teens locked in the basement.

The rescued kids are then trotted out for a press conference with the Mayor of Gotham who promises to pull all of the kids off the street and into juvenile custody.  The Mayor admits his plan is to put the teens in foster care and those who cannot be will be sent to a detetion camp.  Gordon confronts the Mayor who laughs him off.  Alfred then visits Gordon and asks him to visit and speak with Bruce.  We next see Bruce drawing disturbing images while listening to death metal.  Selina Kyle asks to speak with James Gordon but is instead forced onto the bus for the detention camp.  The bus is taken over by the mystery couple who hijacks the bus.

Bullock beats the warehouse manager with a phone book as they try to find where the child snatchers are going.  At their warehouse, Selina evades the snatchers and hides as the rest of the kids are taken away.  Gordon realized the logo drawn by the manager is that of a shipping company and they head out.  As the snatchers find Selina, the cops subdue them and try to find the missing kids.  Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred relates Bruce's issues.  When Gordon suggests therapy, Alfred says he promised Bruce's father he would let the boy set his own path to which Gordon scoffs.  Gordon tells Bruce directly that talking to someone would help but Bruce pushes him away.  The Penguin meanwhile sets up a map of his enemies and awaits a ransom request for one of the frat boys, but they don't believe him.  Selina (she prefers to be called Cat) demands to speak with Jim Gordon and reveals she knows who killed The Waynes.

Review: While I was not a big fan of the pilot episode, I am still intrigued by the concept of GOTHAM.  I also abide by the idea that you should give a series at least two or three episodes before making a final judgement call.  This second episode plays better than the pilot in that the characters do not feel as crammed into the plot of this story.  The episodic mystery of the Child Snatchers, played by the great Lili Taylor and Frank Whaley, feels like it could have come from the pages of a comic book but without veering too far into joke territory.  Bruce Wayne's story feels a bit forced in and the misleading title of the episode made it seem as if Selina Kyle was going to be more significant.  Edward Nygma was once again an annoying side character but the Penguin role is not only played to perfection but a great iteration of the classic character.

If this episode had been the pilot, I think there would have been a much better reception to GOTHAM compared to last week.  At the very least, I am now looking forward to next week more than I was to this episode.

Rating: 7/10 Gotham PD Badges

Next Episode Airs: "The Balloonman" airs October 6th.

Source: JoBlo.com

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Alex Maidy has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been JoBlo.com's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.