retsuko: martha jones from 'doctor who', in black and white (martha)
[personal profile] retsuko
So, the cold open for last night's Gotham featured a character we'd never met before, high on a Plot Device drug, running screaming at the camera. This image pretty much encapsulates the show for me: it's loud, it's not subtle, and if I'm willing suspend a lot of disbelief, it's fun in a "did they really go there?" sort of way. The best scenes involve Jada Pinkett Smith and her mob boss character's machinations, sexual and otherwise. The worst ones... I dunno. There's a lot of violence that's mostly necessitated by the plot, and there are a lot of minor villains who serve as antagonists of the week. The show is exceedingly well cast, but the writing feels kind of flat and predictable: Antagonist is introduced, Gotham City Police react carefully and sensitively like a blunt instrument and beat lots of people up, Jim Gordon does some detecting where no one else will, villains plot, and confrontation, and then foreshadow-y, meta-plot scene and credits roll.

My other big problem with this show (and, to a slightly lesser extent, Arrow, which we're catching up with on Netflix) is that I have yet to see any reason why Gotham or Starling City is worth saving. Gotham, in particular, is a dingy, grimy, just plain awful place that doesn't seem to have any kind or altruistic citizens, just wall-to-wall gangsters, homeless druggies, and criminals, with a few rich people here and there to be offended by the very presence of the lower class. Even the trees in the final moments of last night's episode were dirty--it's a freaking park on a sunny day, and the trees were just patches of dingy green and darkness. Seriously, TV shows, what gives? I don't think it would be a stretch to have an episode centered around someone who's trying to do actual, genuine good in these cities, not as a vigilante, but as a social worker or community advocate (and Councilman Blood on Arrow doesn't count, since we have yet to see him actually doing anything in the very community he's meant to represent.) All cities have their issues with crime and poverty, but I have yet to travel to a city that doesn't have any good people in it, or a nicely landscaped park or museum with adequate lighting somewhere. Further, adding some nice people or places wouldn't diminish the grimdark tone the writers/production people are going for, it would make the dark seem darker by comparison. Come on, shows, surprise me! Make me want to visit Gotham or Starling City!

I'm definitely enjoying this season of Sleepy Hollow more, but last night's episode brought up a few problems: For starters, I really, really liked this ghost/monster of the week. The effects were great and creepy, and the inky black water that accompanied her presence was beautifully eerie. The backstory was a little Ringu at first, and then it became a lot more problematic as the ghost's true origin was revealed. I think the writers are trying to hedge on the big question of whether Katrina is turning evil or not (or evil from the get-go) and this story was a cheap and easy way to cast her moral character into doubt. (In a side note, I was disheartened that on Fox's Sleepy Hollow Twitter feed, a bunch of users immediately started ragging on Katrina's character as "useless," and even on the actress as "untalented and terrible." Jebus, people, you would really say that to her face, in public? I doubt it.) I certainly hope that Katrina turning (or being mind-controlled into turning) isn't the writers' endgame, and I hope this episode isn't meant to be a pivotal wedge between Abbie and Ichabod when it comes to trusting Katrina or not.

(Also, memo to Ichabod Crane: that woman risked exposure of her plans by enchanting a crow to get a message to you! That's love, dude.)

On the plus side, we did finally find out where Ichabod keeps getting his period clothing, but on the minus side, this sweet character died as quickly as she appeared. I do think that Tim Mison sold Ichabod's grief and embarrassment very well--it was not forced at all, and I bought this character as someone Ichabod had known for a while and cared about. The scene with Henry at the end was chilling and very well played (John Noble gets all the awards, as far as I'm concerned.) Also on the minus side, no Irving and only one Jenny scene. What is Irving up to? I think a sequence with him in group therapy would be both funny and sad, and would help build up his character, particularly the "sane man telling the truth and being mistaken for crazy" motif. "Well, doc, I've apparently sold my soul to the devil and am involved in a potentially apocalyptic war between good and evil, but I don't know how yet." "... when you say devil, what do you mean?" etc. etc.
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