Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-Ray I reviewed in this blog post. The opinions I share are my own. Some spoilers contained below. With Gotham Season 3, we finally have enough seasoning on the cast-iron skillet to serve up some real comic book flavor. The series has always struggled in straddling the line between quirky police procedural and Batman origin story. With this latest installment, we see it unafraid to embrace some of the more outrageous elements that make Batman, his rogue’s gallery and Gotham City itself so fascinating in other mediums. We’ve seen these elements teased in previous seasons, sometimes at a rather glacial pace, but they are finally served up fairly directly here in Season 3. When it’s successful, as with the introduction of Jervis Tetch (the future Mad Hatter, played here by Benedict Samuel) it’s sublime. Tetch is a perfect example of how a character that can often come off as a bit goofy can be properly grounded and portrayed as a genuine threat in Gotham’s slightly more reserved and gritty setting. I’ve often found him to be one of the silliest of Batman’s rogues, but here his main arc is executed with venom and an appropriate amount of restraint. When the comic book elements fall short, as we see in an end of season costume reveal for the character of Nathaniel Barnes/Executioner (Michael Chiklis) it’s the hokey sort of shitty low-budget nightmare we all fear. The costume, a blend of trash-bag Cenobite and mall-goth steampunk, is tragic in its lack of subtlety. It’s a damned shame because Chiklis has an amazing arc this season as he is slowly transformed into Executioner. He’s always been a brilliant character actor, and here he’s given free range to showcase an explosive physical rage, chewing up the scenery left and right and stealing every scene he’s in. It works so well right up to the moment that they garb him in pleather. Other moments exemplify the line-riding between expressed comic influence and resistance to treating those influences explicitly that’s been the show’s hallmark throughout previous seasons. The red-herring “is he The Joker or isn’t he?” teasing of the character of Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) that was one of Season 2’s stronger moments is back in fuller force with Season 3. It’s an even wilder goose chase this time out, though I’ll give the writers credit for actually delivering what feels like a solid answer to that question here. Season 3 continues the tradition of serving two masters: being both the story of James Gordon’s early career in the GCPD and the tale of Bruce Wayne, Boy Detective. I think anyone who has seen the show would agree that it has always handled the Gordon half of the equation much better than the Young Batman angle. Gotham as a show is frequently torn between feeling free to explore the Batman mythos from a fresh angle and somehow previewing the future of the Bat and his rogue’s gallery by establishing characters he will (one day!) face cowled, trained, and capable. I’d almost rather they ditch the pretense and had let Bruce Wayne fade into the background after establishing the setting in the first few episodes. The Bruce Wayne storylines often seem entirely shoehorned into the proceedings, and when there is overlap between the lives of Gordon and Wayne it can often feel forced. It’s also somewhat difficult watching the character you know will one day grow up to be Batman struggle with adolescent morality and a simple lack of maturity. It’s not quite Anakin Skywalker in the prequels bad, however. Bruce has one of his better moments this season as he comes face to face with the shadowy Court of Owls. We see glimpses of his brilliance and mental acuity as he first confronts a Wayne Enterprises board of directors, and later a representative of the Court itself. Though the show insists upon showcasing him as impossibly naïve it’s nice to occasionally see flashes of something greater, the genius we know him to be. This season also shows Bruce more physically engaged. From training scenes and fight scenes, we’re seeing the early stages of his Bat-development, and the writers delight to some degree in showing him taking his lumps along the way. If we were more invested in Bruce, this might have greater emotional stakes but as it stands we’re almost happy to see him getting some of the whininess beat out of him. That said, this all culminates in a scene towards the end of the season with some real teeth where Bruce’s rage overtakes him, putting him close to ending an opponent’s life. This serves to set up a pivotal discussion of “the code” between him and Alfred, and it’s good to see this bit of Batman’s character grounded in an impactful moment. That’s actually not a bad metaphor for the season as a whole: Moments of frustration that give way to glimpses of something greater. Ben McKenzie as Gordon and Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock remain stabilizing forces throughout with the more dramatic crescendos coming from Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin and Cory Michael Smith’s Edward Nygma/Riddler. The latter two cross some amazing lines into shipping/bromance territory and provide some wonderfully colorful moments to what can often be a grim background. It’s worth noting that grim is the watchword of Season 3, whereas previous seasons held back a bit on the gore and grue, we see some pretty violent moments play out fully this go round. It’s a welcome adjustment as the more bombastic and vibrant comic book elements are introduced the escalated violence acts to balance them out. See larger image Gotham: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] Gotham: The Complete Third Season (BD+Digital Copy) The stakes are higher than ever, as Super-Villains more ambitious and depraved are introduced, and a realignment of alliances shakes up the fight for power in Gotham. Season three of Gotham peels back the curtain on the infamous criminal organization known as the Court of The Owls. With the Indian Hill escapees on the loose, Jim Gordon must take matters into his own hands, as a bounty hunter in Gotham. He makes it his mission to find Hugo Strange and Fish Mooney. Meanwhile, GCPD’s Bullock and Barnes remain at the forefront of the fight against crime in the monster-ridden city. And Bruce Wayne discovers still more secrets behind his parents’ murder. As the city sinks deeper into chaos, Gotham’s Super-Villains will be joined by the future Poison Ivy, a young woman who’s harnessed the full power of her charms; the Tweed Brothers; and a talented hypnotist teetering on the edge of madness who goes by the name of the Mad Hatter.(TBC) New From: $25.74 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.