Gotham: The Complete Third Season
Review by KC Carlson
Gotham is one of those shows that I think I appreciate watching on disc more than watching on live TV. I got so annoyed with the long breaks on the “live” TV” schedule last season. (Only three new episodes aired between the end of November and the end of April.) Is it any wonder I forgot what was going on — especially since I was watching all those other DC shows on other networks that were appearing more regularly? I also let episodes pile up on our DVR, and I ended up watching them in clumps anyway…
Gotham: The Complete Third Season (22 episodes) is now available on DVD or Blu-ray, and the studio, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, provided me with a free review copy of this DVD set. My opinions below are mine. (Although much of this paragraph may not be.)
I liked Gotham a lot more in the early seasons, where everybody’s still trying to figure out their characters, and the writers are trying to figure out how to write a “Batman show” without a real Batman in it yet. This season, the subtitle is “Mad City” and despite being the nickname of where we live (Madison, Wisconsin), the season seems to live up to this title.
According to the special features on the Gotham season 3 set, there seemed to be three major story points for the season: Madness Rising: The New Villains of Gotham (9:58) — a look at the Mad Hatter, the evolution of Ivy Pepper (a weird little storyline…), and the ever-elusive Court of Owls. The Dark Within The Dark: The Court of Owls (12:02) offers even more details about the history of the Court, going back to be beginnings of Gotham itself, largely based on the semi-recent storyline from the acclaimed comics written by Scott Snyder (which I have yet to read, bad me). If you haven’t watched the season yet, you might want to skip this mini-documentary until after you watch all the episodes. The doc reveals a BIG SPOILER about what’s going on with the Court, and it’s big enough you’ll probably not want to know going into watching the episodes from late in the season.
Other story points concern the deterioration of the relationship between Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Dr. Leslie “Lee” Thomkins (Morena Baccarin), with Gordon now a bounty hunter and off the force and Thomkins now with a new man; the downward spiral of GCPD Captain Barnes (Michael Chicklis); the temporary return of Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith); and the weirdness going on between Selina (Carmen Bicondova) and Ivy (Clare Foley) and also with young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) — who may have developed a split personality. Meanwhile, Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) decides to both run for Mayor of Gotham and help rehabilitate Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith). (Some viewers have noted some Trump-isms in Cobblepot’s political campaign, if you enjoy meta-level viewing. I, of course, have no opinion on this…)
For even more weirdness, Jerome Velaska (Cameron Monaghan) returns and also apparently dies, which makes everyone wonder what the hell is going on for a week or three. (If you don’t know what I’m referring to here, Jerome Velaska is a crazed character with green hair and very pale skin-tone who laughs a lot in a maniacal way. This whole storyline makes you go “Hmmmmm…”).
Additional special features include yet another San Diego 2016 Comic-Con Panel (28:22) that has most of the cast and a couple producers/creatives. Y’know, Comic-Con panels are exciting live and in-the-moment (and I would know, having moderated a comic book panel on-stage at SD in 1994, for DC Comics’ Zero Hour), but watching them almost a year after they actually happened (seemingly edited to boot) is kind of a snooze. I had to laugh at this one, because halfway through the Q&A section there was apparently some sort of technical problem, and instead of con-goers asking their questions directly and personally to the panel, there appeared graphic cards with typed questions and no audio, and maybe a fleeting shot of the questioner while the celebs were answering their question. Yikes.
Also, there’s Ben McKenzie’s Directorial Debut (2:20). Just short and sweet enough to see him get all “gosh-wow” about directing guest actor James Remar. (I would be also. So cool.) Finally, there are deleted scenes for 10 of the 22 episodes.
Overall, the entire Gotham Season Three seemed to be marking time for bigger things. There were great moments, and a surprise twist or three that kept me watching, but the way it was originally presented on Fox last season was frustrating. Now that I’ve started (re-)watching the episodes — with this new four-disc Blu-ray set -— I can finish them on my schedule. I’m very much hoping to squeeze them all in before the new season starts (currently scheduled for September 21 on Fox).