Television Reviews

REVIEW: Gotham – Season 5, Episode 2 “Trespassers”

When we last left Gotham, Tabitha had been killed by Penguin, Nygma was at war with himself and Bruce had finally earned his place in No Man’s Land. The promo promised a battle with Jeremiah and even gave us a glimpse of the Dark Knight himself. I knew the latter wouldn’t be happening until the finale, something that was alluded to multiple times by Ben McKenzie over the years and which was reaffirmed back in October during the New York Comic Con. I had hoped Jeremiah might show up this week, though, especially with the brief cameo from Harley Quinn aka Echo. Although neither Jeremiah nor Echo appear in “Trespassers,” I couldn’t wait to see what was to come.

*Spoilers*

“Trespassers” opens with the boy who staggered into the GCPD being checked out. As Gordon and Bullock look on, Gordon fills his partner in on who the boy is and how they need to rescue others like him. Jim tries in vain to get the government to give them some assistance, but after last week’s helicopter fiasco, they are more unwilling than ever. I loved this scene, particularly because it presents a running theme in the episode. Although he’s been in morally grey areas throughout the show, Gordon is still trying to be a good person, despite Penguin’s contract on his head in exchange for Ammo. After angrily shutting down their communication, Gordon tells Lucius and Harvey he’s going to need more officers to help with this one, as well as housing for the children, thus spreading what little resources they have even thinner. Bullock reminds Gordon that they are going to have to go through Sirens club territory. When Gordon goes to the club to confront Barbara, she is more nihilistic than she has ever been, still in the throes of grief due to Tabitha’s death. We then cut to Bruce, who is trying to find the witch to help Selina. Instead, he finds someone who claims to have captured the witch… in the form of an unconscious Ivy.

Barbara asks Gordon what he needs trucks for, and he gives her the stock answer of, “It’s a police matter.” Barbara has heard this before, going all the way back to season 1, but instead of being disappointed or trading barbs with him and asking for something in return, she simply makes a joke about it. Gordon probably could’ve gotten what he wanted, but instead, he tries to tell her how revenge against Penguin would be a bad idea. This sets Barbara off, and she yells at him, wondering why he didn’t just shoot Penguin in the head. He attempts to talk about how he’s trying to do the right thing, but Barbara only sees the monster who tore the city apart, not the man who’s trying to keep it together. As they travel through the dark zone, we see how primitive some of the citizens have become, using arrows to defend their territory.

We then see exactly what these Soothsayers are doing to the kids, which, to me, is a great example of “show, don’t tell.” They are put to work, and if they disobey, the consequences involve starvation, sleep deprivation, and cattle prods to get them to continue working. Gordon, of course, will not abide that, so after a shootout, they manage to get the kids out of there, something for which the kids are incredibly grateful. Unfortunately, the Soothsayers are still chasing them, so they have to hide in a hotel. It is here that Gordon learns that not everybody wants his help as a young boy tries to help lead him and Bullock, albeit briefly, into a trap.

Gotham, Trespassers

Meanwhile, Bruce confronts Ivy, who says she didn’t kill all those people, but Bruce doesn’t believe her. He tells her about Selina but keeps her name out of it. This was an odd choice, as I had still believed, regardless of what’s happened between them, that Ivy would jump at the chance to help her. Bruce and Ivy end up striking a deal for the seed that will heal Selina.

Finally, we get back to Nygma, who had strapped himself down before going to bed. Initially thinking it worked, he finds a criminal tied up in the bathtub. He doesn’t remember, of course, so he has to interrogate the thug for what will evidently be the second time. Nygma tells his captive to bring him to the base and to find out what it is his other half was doing there. Apparently, the latter has started a war with crime lords, and now Nygma knows his alter ego is trying to make it look like Penguin is responsible. While I wish they’d use Cory Michael Smith more, I love that they are slowly spilling out a mystery over the course of the season, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to come next with this storyline.

We then return to Bruce, who must have agreed with me, at least initially. He tries to reason with the citizens who want Ivy dead, but she very quickly proves them right, with Ivy telling Bruce how naïve he was. It’s then that he decides to lay his cards on the table, telling her Selina’s the one that’s hurt; she’s paralyzed and has lost the will to live. However, Ivy’s response is to let her suffer. Bruce then tells her how horrible she is in what I can only assume was a bad early Batman voice. Eventually, Ivy agrees, with the understanding that he will leave her alone. Ivy gives him the seed but warns him that it will change her. Bruce wonders if he can trust Ivy and she says that he’s finally becoming a man. Maybe it’s because this week is the 20th anniversary of Batman Beyond, but I was suddenly reminded of all those conversations with Terry and how Bruce doesn’t trust anybody. While it was really cool to see echoes of that Bruce tonight, I don’t like how this is executed, as Bruce seems to flip flop in all his scenes with Ivy, and Ivy’s story in “Trespassers” is clunky at best.

Gotham, Trespassers

In the episode’s climax, Gordon is ready for a shootout with the Soothsayers (who were increasingly giving me Mad Max vibes). It looks like he and Bullock are prepared to go out shooting when Barbara shows up to save them. In the process, Gordon ends up saving his ex when he shoots a Soothsayer in the head, impressing Barbara, who wonders whether he is ready to take out Penguin. He simply tells her the conversation is tabled until everyone is safe, which happens in the very next scene when Lucius shows him the new safe haven they’ve found and how it’s spreading throughout the city. A family thanks Gordon and Barbara leaves, letting him bask in his victory, but reminds him that they have unfinished business. Back in the hospital, Bruce gives Selena the seed and, although it’s touch and go at first, Selena makes a full recovery. However, from the last shot in “Trespassers,” it is clear that she is indeed different, as her eyes suddenly become far more cat-like…

Danny Cannon put his writer hat on this week, and while he did a great job giving Gordon a mini character arc, I feel that, except for the cattle prod scene, there was far too much telling and not enough showing in “Trespassers.” Director Louis Shaw Milito dshows us the different corners of Gotham and gives us a bit of an homage to Mad Max. In the promo for next week, it looks like the hunt for Jeremiah begins, as Bruce and Selina team up to find him. I just hope it’s better than “Trespassers.”

Gotham - "Trespassers"

Plot - 7.5
Acting - 6
Progression - 7
Production Design - 9
Mythology - 8

7.5

Good

Danny Cannon put his writer hat on this week, and while he did a great job giving Gordon a mini character arc, I feel that, except for the cattle prod scene, there was far too much telling and not enough showing in "Trespassers." Director Louis Shaw Milito dshows us the different corners of Gotham and gives us a bit of an homage to Mad Max.

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