Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Team Alfred: 'Gotham' fall finale review

"Why does Alfred mean so much to you? He's our butler." — Selina Kyle
"He's my family." — Bruce Wayne

 Without a doubt, Monday's fall finale of "Gotham" was by far the best episode of the season.

Actor Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth in a promotional photo for "Gotham"
Selina "Cat" Kyle, after having mentioned being kissed the last two episodes, finally sneaks a smooch from Bruce Wayne. She's been instrumental in having Bruce face his fears — but also incredulously wondering why he does all his "weird training" and studying the circumstances of his parents' murders.

Being the realist street thief she is, Selina also has pointed out to Bruce that doing things like holding his breath underwater for as long as possible won't help him on the streets of Gotham.

In an attempt to disprove Bruce's assertion she's not a "nice" person (which is different than being good, in Bruce's mind), Selina gave him recommendations as they were on the run from professional assassins who went to Wayne Manor looking for Selina.

Now pardon me if I do a bit more — OK, a lot more! — recapping than usual in this review as I share my favorite moments from Monday's killer episode. …

While on the run, Bruce is worried about making sure he calls Alfred Pennyworth, his legal guardian, who did his share of ass-kicking.

"You gotta be like smoke; the smoke doesn't make phone calls," Selina tells Bruce, inadvertently giving him advice on disappearing when he eventually becomes Batman.

Camren Bicondova strikes a Catwoman-like pose on the set of "Gotham."
Not the goggles Selina "Cat" Kyle wears, which are similar to the ones in writer Ed Brubaker's " CATWOMAN series.
Camren Bicondova's chemistry with David Mazouz's Bruce Wayne is coming into its own. The adorable little actress does a fine job embodying the independence of the adult Kyle in the comic books. Bicondova also is astute at being playful and coy with Mazouz and Ben McKenzie's Detective Jim Gordon.

While in Gotham City and going to Clyde the Fencer, Selina and Bruce encounter Ivy Pepper, the future Poison Ivy (played by Clare Foley), who is just a plain odd little girl. It was hysterical seeing Selina subtly shake her head when Ivy asks for Bruce's name — but the orphaned billionaire pays no attention to the body language and introduces himself.
Having enthusiastically greeted Ivy with a hug when they first see each other, Selina is quick to get Bruce away from Ivy.

"Why are you so scared of her? She's just a little girl," Bruce asks.

Selina's response is quick and to the point: "Because she's scary. Don't look back."

Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth
kicks plenty of ass in the fall finale
for Season 1 of "Gotham."
Back to Pennyworth. It's official: I'm on Team Alfred.

(If you remember from my first review of "Gotham," I wasn't happy about Sean Pertwee's chemistry with David Mazouz, who plays Bruce Wayne, much less his casting. Needless to say, I've softened that stand dramatically — or as my girlfriend Liz Truxell said, "Finally.")

Pennyworth dishes out a world of hurt on the assassins when they invade Wayne Manor. I especially dug how he decks the black woman pretending to be an vehicle crash victim as soon as he realizes the men with her are assassins. This Pennyworth kicks ass and isn't fazed by taking a bullet to the arm!

The butler keeps bringing the pain as he and Detective Harvey Bullock pursue the whereabouts of Bruce and Selina, who have been kidnapped by that point. Pennyworth easily takes down Fish Mooney's thug when he doesn't get the answers he wants and gives the much bigger man a menacing threat.

When he and Bullock reach the warehouse where Clyde has imprisoned Bruce and Selina, Pennyworth darts inside, leaving Bullock dumfounded.

"Am I the only one in this town (who) waits for back-up?," says Bullock in one of his funniest lines this season.

Pennyworth attempts to be prim and proper when he's reunited with young Bruce Wayne. This being the pissed-off butler who was shooting at assassins and dishing out some serious punches earlier this episode. … But he gives Bruce a big hug and tells the boy how much he was scared of what might happen to him. Beautiful stuff!

Back to Gordon. How can you not dig this detective? He calls in the murder of a contact in the Waynes' double murder — even when one of the assassins he was pursuing used his service weapon on the victim.

The mayor then meets with Gordon and district attorney Harvey Dent, who isn't about to fold and do the wrong thing, either. Mayor Aubrey James, as sleazy as ever, tells Gordon he's going to be the one to take the fall — and the media will be told Dick Lovecroft (an incredibly unfortunate name!) committed suicide after "heavy questioning" by Gordon.

"Kiss my ass, Mayor James," says Gordon, who is taken off the detective bureau and assigned to Arkham Asylum as a security guard.

Edward Nigma, the neurotic and socially awkward crime-scene investigator, tells Gordon he will miss him at the Gotham City Police Department. Nigma then gives Gordon a hearty hug and walks off abruptly.

"Maybe you should take him with you," Bullock tells Gordon.

"You'd miss him if he was gone," quips Gordon.

Miss Nigma?! Heck, I'm going to miss the messy Gordon-Bullock team — not to mention fantastic episodes like this from "Gotham" until Jan. 5. Grade: A

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