Gotham Season 4 Premiere “A Dark Knight: Pax Penguina” Review


GOTHAM: Robin Lord Taylor in the “Pax Penguina” season premiere episode of GOTHAM airing Thursday, Sept. 21 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2017 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX.

Going into this fourth season, I would say I sit in the boat who are trying to figure out if this season of Gotham is worth sticking around for. The third season had some standout moments, but it still felt like they don’t know what they want from this show. I had my hopes for this show. That we would like Gordon a lot more than we do, because he is the most bland character on the show. That we would see more side characters making their rise without forced romance or drama. I even hoped we would see less of Bruce and Selina considering the show was initially meant to center around everyone who is not them or that young. I just don’t, and the only two characters who keep me coming back for more are Bullock and Penguin (Who they redeemed from whatever that was between him and Nygma before they hated each other again).

The highlight of this premiere was just what I hoped it to be, and that being the exploration of a Gotham that Penguin once again controls. If there’s one area that they haven’t failed us, it is when the villains are actually acting like villains. They were quick to establish the new status quo and they had fun with it. Did this with the right character as well. Victor Zsasz has been one of those characters they didn’t disappoint with by adding their own touch to him. Penguin on the other hand is back to basics and that is where he needs to be. Not falling for Riddler, or recovering from mommy issues. He needs to be the crime boss that he presented himself as the minute his first scene came. That for instance begins with Penguin hosting the grand opening of his new Iceberg Lounge. When I picture Gotham, that is where I always hoped to inevitably see Penguin as the world and these characters evolved. It was better now than later or never, we probably could have gotten here much sooner if it wasn’t for the consistent distractions last season. Aside from this, Penguin continues to have the strongest characterization of the cast. He demands the attention when the camera is turned to him and he has a confidence that can’t be matched. It would be a shame if so quickly he lost the steam he started off with. They do this too often with characters who still have heights to achieve.

This fourth season doesn’t take us where we want to be with Gordon and the GCPD, but I suppose it takes us where we need to be as there’s a new wave of crime to overcome. Their work is never done and Penguin’s new license to commit a crime shakes things up. It’s not so easy doing your job when it means crossing everyone who doesn’t want to cross Penguin. Of course this was just another way of showing how defiant Gordon can be, though this time around you might side with him considering criminals can do whatever they want as long as they have a piece of paper with them that says Penguin approves. At the end of the day there isn’t anything new with Gordon which might disappoint some. Who knows, bland might be what he needs to avoid the next train-wreck storyline they try to center around a relationship or his “dark side”.

GOTHAM: L-R: Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue in the “Pax Penguina” season premiere episode of GOTHAM airing Thursday, Sept. 21 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2017 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX.

Like I said, I don’t know how I feel about this Bruce Wayne trying to play hero. They instantly screwed up not minutes into his first act of heroics by pulling the biggest mistake in a hero who can’t keep his mask on. I can’t be vague about this, don’t put a hero in a mask if you’re going to make them remove it at dumb times for the sake of plot. This is not a thing in the books, but somehow be it TV or movie they screw that up consistently. They did manage to redeem themselves by the end of the episode, even if that will only be for this episode likely. We should see more Bruce Wayne than this vigilante.

Selina on the other hand developed in a way that I can actually approve of compared to Bruce. This doesn’t mean that I’m fully on board with this direction they are taking them to become Batman or Catwoman, but for now she is at least a breath of fresh air. I would gladly take seeing more Selina if it takes us deeper into the Gotham Underground. Her perspective offers us something that other characters can’t when they are too attached to their own nonsense, like Bruce.

The plot of this episode centering around the fear toxin was an interesting choice. This isn’t the first time a villain was killed off and something they left behind still able to cause trouble. Now with that said, the villains here were forgettable as well as the plot in general. It wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t what you were invested in contrast to other things going on. At best this was the anchor needed to demonstrate the pros and cons of the new order Penguin created in Gotham. You have to be able to see both the good and the bad.The only thing that made this worthwhile was the origin of a new villain that they were able to squeeze out of this. The villain that you thought we were introduced to before, but now properly.

The Gotham season 4 premiere “A Dark Knight: Pax Penguina” was satisfying. Hard to say exactly where this season is taking us, though there is a whole new city to explore. There will be some clear bump in the road as well that you could see before the premiere even started. However, for now I do think the good you have to anticipate each week outweighs the cringeworthy.

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