Midseason Report Card: Is ‘Gotham’ season 3 to date a thrill, or a letdown?

Gotham -Gotham” is a show that comes with high expectations. When you are adapting one of the most famous comic-book series of all time in Batman, it is difficult to expect almost anything less. The problem that this show runs into sometimes is that if it tries too much to be like Batman, viewers become upset. Meanwhile, if it doesn’t try to be like Batman at all, viewers also become upset. Are you sensing the pattern here? It’s hard to make this particular group of people happy.

Luckily, we do think that “Gotham” executed a number of things particularly well throughout the first portion of season 3, and while they may still have a number of issues to improve on, this is a show that is blowing its former self out of the water — and by “former self,” we’re speaking in particular about a first season that lacked much in the way of an exciting creative direction.

What worked – The entire storyline with Jim Gordon started slow, but over the final episodes became thrilling as the character was forced to take on the Mad Hatter and the effects of Alice Tetch’s blood virus on a progressively more personal level. First, he saw the virus impact his boss in Captain Barnes. From there, the virus played a part in distorting the brain of Mario, the man Lee Thompkins was about to marry. There were certainly melodramatic moments throughout this story, but we’re an old-school romantic and once it was clear that this story was going somewhere interesting, it was easy to get on board.

Meanwhile, the same thing can be said for the Oswald – Nygma story. There is some criticism out there about this through the lens of it not being something in the comics. Who cares? There are a multitude of stories not from the comics, and as Robin Lord Taylor said at a convention earlier this year, having an issue with this one in particular hints at an issue that may be even deeper. What mattered here was that we saw a character in Oswald so desperate for human connection that he fell in love with the first person offering it to him, even though this said person didn’t have the same feelings or intentions. The romance never came to fruition, and we’re entering the show at midseason in a truly thrilling place, as we will see precisely how Nygma chooses to work with Barbara — a woman desperately in need of a larger story — in order to further figure out precisely how to throttle Penguin and overtake the criminal underworld.

What didn’t – The Poison Ivy reboot. Even for a show with some supernatural elements, a young girl turning into a young woman overnight before committing a series of hapless crimes just seems too much out of left feel. The Bruce Wayne story as a whole started strong, but eventually squandered a little bit of its momentum courtesy of what we ended up seeing in regards to the Court of Owls, who may be too mysterious for their own good. They’re intimidating, but we don’t know any one of them well enough to be intimidated or care if something happens to them.

The other main critique is all about an individual character in Harvey Bullock who is great, but needs more changes to be great other than being constantly wrong about almost everything happening around him in the city. Can’t this guy have a chance for some sort of victory at some point? Or, how about a storyline where we learn more of his past? Donal Logue is a tremendous actor, and the show’s not doing him right in terms of screen time.

Overall – “Gotham” remains an interesting, incredibly-gripping show, but it does need to become great for all of its characters rather than the select few to rise from its current level. It’s better than season 1, but lagging behind season 2. Grade: B.

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