Review: Gotham Episode 9 “Harvey Dent”

Content Guide

Sex & Nudity – Pre-teens flirting; two women are presumably naked in the covers with each other and begin to kiss.

Violence & Gore – A group of Russians kill police transporting a prisoner; explosions killing both cops and gangsters

Profanity – Moderate language for  prime time TV; this particular episode wasn’t too profane, but did air a few expletives

Oh? A trustworhy lawyer? In Gotham?” – Alfred Pennyworth

Summary

“Harvey Dent” begins as Jim Gordon brings the young Selina Kyle to the affluent apartment he shares with his fiancé, Barbara Kean. Unfortunately for Jim, Barbara has left him. Jim shrugs off this fact and heads to Wayne Manor with Selina Kyle. He asks Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth to let the thief stay with them so that she’ll be safe. Alfred objects, but Bruce undermines his butler and permits her to stay.

Meanwhile, a master bomb maker has broken free from a prison transport from Blackstone (long time Batman fan’s recognize the name) to an unnamed psychiatric care facility. Harvey Dent is introduced to Jim Gordon and the audience, right outside Gotham’s courthouse immediately after flipping his famous coin with a juvenile criminal. Major Crimes Detectives Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen setup the meeting between the two, hoping that Gordon and Harvey can help them bring down the Mob in Gotham. Harvey Dent adds another mobster to the list of Don Falcone and Sal Maroni: Dick Lovecraft.

Oswald Cobblepot breaks into Liza’s apartment, somehow suspecting Falcone’s new dame of foul play. He discovers a lilac scented perfume. Later he confronts Fish Mooney in her club and comments that she smells of lilacs, insinuating to the audience that he now knows about Liza and Fish Mooney, but for Fish and her thug Butch he just seems weird.

While Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock chase down the escaped bomb maker, Ian Hargrove, Edward Nigma points them in the direction of the bomber’s whereabouts. Ian Hargrove wasn’t set free so much as he was kidnapped from police custody by Russian gangsters who are working for Fish Mooney and plan to use the demolitions expert to steal Don Falcone’s massive wealth from a massive vault.

All the while, Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle get to know each other in Wayne Manor. She pokes fun at his various attempts to become stronger and smarter and he tries to learn more about the thief regardless Alfred’s warnings that she is devious. We also get to see Bruce continue to push himself towards what we the audience know to be Batman.

Harvey Dent has Dick Lovecraft, the gangster he has linked to Don Falcone and Sal Maroni, visit him in the District Attorney’s office where he bluffs that he has a witness linking Lovecraft to the Wayne’s murder. Lovecraft doesn’t flinch, but we do get an portentous glimpse of Dent’s dark half when he erupts on the mobster.

Oswald Cobblepot returns to the apartment of Fish Mooney’s mole, Liza, and confronts her for her duplicity. Ultimately he keeps her secret, forcing her to keep his association with Don Falcone a secret from Fish Mooney.

After retrieving Ian Hargrove, the demolitions expert, from the Russians that kidnapped him, Jim Gordon learns from Harvey Bullock that Mayor James is moving all of the criminally insane from Blackstone prison to Arkham to avoid future escape attempts. Effectively this is the inception of Arkham Asylum. (A notable location in the Batman mythos)

“Harvey Dent” closes with Jim Gordon leaving Barbara Kean a voicemail, asking her to come back. After he hangs up it is revealed that Kean didn’t leave Gotham but is actually sleeping with Renee Montoya!

You're the weirdest kid I've ever met - Selina Kyle

You’re the weirdest kid I’ve ever met” – Selina Kyle

Review

“Harvey Dent” has one of the most popular Batman antagonists introduced, not only before he was the future duplicitous villain, but also before he was the famous champion for goodness in Gotham. Secondly, it also has the worst subplot of Fish Mooney trying to assault Don Falcone. Thirdly, it has really captivating dialogue between the future Batman and Catwoman. Two out of the three plotlines of the show are great, and if the middle third had been better “Harvey Dent” could almost rival “Penguin’s Umbrella” for the best episode in the series so far.

Harvey Dent is immediately introduced during a trademark coin flip with his two-headed coin in an apparent moment of chance. The up-and-coming District Attorney is affable, honest, and tenacious. He is almost too good to be true. Or, perhaps, he is just a young, wide-eyed rookie D.A. who hasn’t been in Gotham long enough to become jaded; he’s not too different from Jim Gordon. Apollo, Dent’s nickname in the comics, would be angelic if it was not for the outburst he has on Lovecraft. I admit I wasn’t too excited by Nicholas D’Agosto when I heard he was portraying the white knight, but his acting in this eponymous episode was astounding. I was hesitantly excited to meet Harvey Dent, and I was pleasantly surprised!

Fish Mooney, and her insane attempt to steal from Falcone’s vault is the worst part of “Harvey Dent.” I like Fish Mooney. I really enjoy Jada Pinkett Smith’s portrayal of the mobstress. I think up to this point she has been really well written. However in “Harvey Dent” Fish Mooney just seems too eager for her own good. She’s not thinking, which she has been doing for the last eight episodes. Perhaps the writers want Fish to stumble over trying to throw a coup d’état and take over Don Falcone’s organization, or part of her impatience is due to seeing Oswald Cobblepot back from the dead. I really hope it isn’t the former, but something closer to the latter. I’d like to see Fish Mooney become a recurring character in the Batman Mythos, and not a quick annoyance Falcone does away with in the first season.

Seeing Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle in Wayne Manor was like candy for a Batman fan. When Batman becomes the Dark Knight watching over Gotham, the only person that can get really underneath his skin is Catwoman. Sure, his attraction toward her is part of it, but the other part is simply her ability to cut through his persona of strength and steel-heartedness with catty remarks. Then again, Batman’s ability to cut through her tough girl veil is a fair trade and makes for interesting reading. Seeing this in the two as young kids is really fun!

Christian Perspective

The exciting part of this episode is the introduction of Harvey Dent. In the Batman mythos, Bruce Wayne’s alter ego is Gotham’s “Dark Night.” Harvey Dent is Gotham’s white knight. Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent, pre facial-bifurcation, are Batman’s positive role models. Let that sink in: the Caped Crusader has mentors.

Sometimes as Christians we feel that we are alone during life’s trials and tribulations. Even with friends and pastors, we don’t always believe we have the help we need. Other times, if we are honest with ourselves, we feel as though we can’t be corrected by someone else. We place ourselves beyond reproach. The extreme dichotomies of self pity and pride afflict every Christian, however both can be repudiated by someone we look up to. Mentors, or friends (or whatever word you assign them) are invaluable regardless of if your combating masked criminals in Gotham or your own flesh in trying to live a good life in and for Christ.

Conversely, and spoiler alerts for anyone that doesn’t know Harvey Dent’s future (and have missed the clues throughout the review) Harvey Dent eventually becomes Batman’s enemy Two-Face; the mentors we have might one day fail us. Paul said (in Romans 3:23) “all have sinned.” Anyone that has tried to live a Christian life for some time and had other Christians they looked up to spiritually,  have seen those other Christians let them down. As Christians we are not perfect yet;  we are working toward perfection (Philippians 3:12). The same is true for the Christian friends, or mentors we have. We have to be diligent to not misplace too much faith or admiration in another Christian, when our faith and admiration belongs to Christ himself.

Do You Play Video Games - Nigma

Do either of you play video games?” – Edward Nigma

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The Bottom Line

 

 

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Cody Hahn

Lover of Jesus. Husband. Daddy. Geek.

2 Comments

  1. Alfred T on November 24, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    I feel like Barbara is one of the weakest characters in the show. She does not think or act rationally. Her getting upset when she finally gets the answers she wants from Gordon just irked me. Along with that, her leaving at the end of the previous episode, before this one, was another frustrating thing. Not because I did not want her to leave, but because it did not make sense for her to leave and cheat on Jim. He has been nothing but good to her and her character has no reason to leave and have an affair with Montoya. It seemed like very forced conflict that did not need to be put in. I love the show, but out of all of the characters, Barbara has been my least favorite.

  2. silasgreen on November 24, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Good stuff here. I like what you said about the show portraying these characters as Batman’s mentors. Not that he doesn’t have mentors in the comics, but there’s never been anything like a Batman prequel before now. The Bruce/Selina stuff was pretty cute, and I really enjoyed watching Bruce and Alfred spar.

    I’m less than thrilled about the Barbara/Montoya ending. Montoya has been unlikeable since the beginning of the show, and Barbara has really only existed to be a thorn in Gordon’s side, it seems. And her going back to Montoya feels like a step backward as well as a betrayal. And we’re supposed to believe this flighty creature offered herself up to Falcone to try to save Gordon? (If only they had showed us that scene, or really anything portraying her in a redeeming light.) Grrr… right now Penguin’s mother and Fish are the only decently written female characters in the show. (I don’t mind Cat, but I’m still not 100% sold on her either.)

    *Sigh*

    I did like Dent. The camera work and playing with shadows on one half of his face throughout the episode was clever, if not particularly subtle. I cracked a smile at him giving that kid a message from “God.” And while Aaron Eckhart is hard to top, it looks like we’re going to get more of Dent’s dark side BEFORE his eventual transformation, which is in keeping with the comics. Looking forward to the stuff with his father coming out…

    Thanks for the solid review! Glad you’re covering a show I like! (Now if only someone would cover Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. week by week…) =P

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