So Gotham is basically a live-action cartoon, and in addition it is pure crack at this point. And last night's episode showed just how far the "young Bruce Wayne" element has come, from its troubled beginnings. Spoilers ahead...
As long as Barbara Kean and Renee Montoya stay in bed together (and off camera) for a few seasons, we're good. Seriously. Order pizza and eat it in bed. Watch TV in bed. Get one of those adjustable beds and a TV tray. Just... hang out in bed for a while, and don't interact with any other characters. Barbara and Renee deserve some peace and quiet together. Like, a few years.
Anyway, Gotham is continuing to be more fun than anyone could have hoped — and now, the show is spreading its wings a bit more, giving us two really odd couples in last night's "Lovecraft."
In a nutshell, professional assassins show up at Wayne Manor to target Cat, because Harvey Dent has spread it around that there's a witness who can identify the Waynes' killer. Cat escapes with Bruce Wayne and they hide in the city, and then Alfred has to team up with Harvey Bullock to find them before the killers do. And meanwhile, James Gordon tracks down the mysterious Lovecraft and gets framed for his murder, while Falcone tries to figure out who stole/destroyed his money.
The Selina/Bruce pairing, which was fun to watch last week, really paid off this week, with Bruce Wayne dipping his toe into the dirty underbelly of Gotham City. Their relationship gets a lot to breathe and starts growing past the "sheltered rich kid/hardened street urchin" thing they had going on before. In this episode, Bruce tells Selina she's "not nice," and this gets under her skin, to the point where she sort of proves to Bruce that she actually is nice. Meanwhile, Bruce goes from just blurting out his name to everyone he meets (despite being in hiding) to being a little more crafty, under her influence.
The Bruce Wayne stuff was some of the weakest material in earlier episodes of Gotham, because he was just sitting in one room brooding and having improbably frequent visits from Jim Gordon. But the character has been slowly developing, and it paid off a lot last night — the notion of a Bruce Wayne who wears his heart on his sleeve, while also being an analytical, overthinking nerd, is a neat one, although I'm not sure I see this version of Bruce becoming Batman given that he's working through his issues.
Meanwhile, the pairing of the roughneck Harvey Bullock with the butler Alfred also pays off massively, and this is the "buddy cop" relationship we really needed all along. Alfred is capable of being a violent bastard, but also turns on the charm, while Bullock just sort of growls and slouches his way through every situation. Between them, they get most of the funniest lines in the episode.
Despite this episode being called "Lovecraft," it's really not clear why who Lovecraft was, or why he was supposed to care about him. He was a minor gangster, I guess? Harvey Dent decided he was responsible for the Wayne murders, for no reasons that anybody can cite, but he's actually a small fish. He babbles to Jim Gordon about a run on Wayne Enterprises stock before the murders happened, and has evidence of some kind of conspiracy, but then he gets killed by the same assassin who was chasing Cat and Bruce. (Who looks curiously like Lady Shiva, but is never identified.)
And Jim Gordon gets knocked out by the assassin, only to wake up with a dead Lovecraft, killed with Gordon's gun. (In one of the signs that this subplot was probably edited a lot for time constraints, Gordon calls in the murder, but then the next time we see him he's already at the Factory where Bruce and Cat are being chased by assassins.) The Mayor, who has apparently forgotten that Gordon tried to arrest him, decides that instead of having Gordon charged with murder, he'll just blame Gordon for Lovecraft's "suicide" and have Gordon reassigned to become a guard at the new Arkham Asylum. This should be interesting.
Most of the other subplots on Gotham don't really advance that much, because this episode is (rightly) spending most of its time on its two odd couples. We see Ivy Pepper, for the first time in ages, and she's still a spooky redhead who's upset about her father's murder. A few other minor characters get a look in.
But the other subplot that inches forward is the one about Penguin and Fish. Oswald gets pulled in by Falcone, who believes Maroni was behind the attack on Falcone's secret money stash — but Penguin convinces the don that he has a mole. And that mole is connected to Fish, but Penguin doesn't identify Liza... yet. As Penguin tells his new henchman, Liza is a time bomb, and Penguin just has to wait until she goes off. Meanwhile, Falcone is alienating his lieutenants by imposing high new tariffs to replace the money he lost, and Fish sees an opportunity to win them over to her side.
Curiously, for the last episode before the spring, "Lovecraft" doesn't contain any blockbuster revelations or twists, other than Gordon being reassigned. But this show has been moving forward at a reasonably zippy pace generally, so that works. When the show comes back next year, we'll presumably see the results of the writers getting to retool it in the wake of seeing what worked and what didn't this fall — a few weeks ago, I still might have put Bruce Wayne in the "doesn't work" pile, but that's no longer the case.
Just stay in bed, Barbara and Renee — no need to get out of bed. Really. Have a staycation. You've earned it.