Review: Gotham ‘New Day Rising’ – Villains Rule in Mad City

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New Day Rising Plot Summary:

Gordon (Ben McKenzie) attempts to hunt down Jervis Tetch (Benedict Samuel) before he can get to Alice (Naian Gonzalez Norvind), but their last encounter leaves him with a dangerous side effect.  Bizarro Bruce (David Mazouz) infiltrates Selina’s (Camren Bicondova) life, and as the election nears, Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) disagrees with Oswald’s (Robin Lord Taylor) campaign strategy.

I can’t say anything blew me away this week, but it was another solid all around episode of Gotham.  Gordon is rattled.  Jervis is insane.  Barnes (Michael Chiklis) is pissed.  Bruce is mad at…Bruce.  We’ll get to the clone shenanigans later, but we’ll start with the best part of the episode.  I’m always amazed at how quickly Gotham rifles through storylines, and Oswald’s run for mayor is no different.  It’s already election night!?  I wish our current election would move this fast.

gotham-304_scn13_jm0700_hires1When Oswald sprung Nygma from Arkham to bring him into the campaign fold, I was expecting the most devious campaign strategy of all time.  The exact opposite happened.  This was brilliant, and showed a real depth of character for Nygma.  It also taps into what makes the Riddler tick.  He wants to win.  He’s a competitive bastard.  But he also wants to win clean, otherwise his intelligence is fraudulent.  While he tapped into the human side of Oswald to convince him of this, the entire gamble was still a Riddler move.  Aside from the character arc, the writers still managed to throw in those clever Nygma moments we all know and love.  They continue to write this character exceptionally well.  My only complaint with the mayor plot is the blatant Trump references.  Subtlety much?

While Nygma stole the show, the main focus was Gordon going after Tetch.  This was a nice follow up from last week.  They were very efficient in how they used Tetch to tap into all of Gordon’s emotional baggage.  He has it out with Lee (Morena Baccarin).  Barnes.  Barbara (Erin Richards).  In the end, it always goes back to his strongest relationship, which is Harvey (Donal Logue).  Gordon hit all the resolutions he needed to hit here.  Benedict Samuel continued to crush it as Jervis Tetch.  They even do a little nod to The Killing Joke with Mad Hatter instead of Joker.  He hires wrestling goons, otherwise known as the Tweedledum and Tweedledee fill-ins.  He had a tea set.  Jervis was generally nuts, and highly entertaining.

Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX.
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX.

The big weakness of the episode was surprise, surprise, the Bruce clone.  I just don’t care.  At least it created a lot of good Selina moments.  She does something really clever, but still manages to instantaneously get into trouble.  That’s Catwoman.  What really irked me was that it seemed like we would get a long break from Bizarro Bruce, but by the end of the episode that’s clearly not the case.  At least it’s moving into the right storyline.  I just wished it happened sooner.

There hasn’t been a lot to complain about so far this season, but we’re definitely due for a big bang episode.  My only other kvetching is with the last scene.  In involves Barnes, and it was pretty dopey.  Not only was the camera angle amateur hour, but I’m pretty sure we can get a better performance from the caliber of actor that is Michael Chiklis.

Rating: 7 out of 10 (Good)

 

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.