Gotham Review: “Harvey Dent” (Season 1, Episode 9)

This is the second episode of Gotham to be named after a main Batman villain, but not feature very much of the titular antagonist. The first was, of course, the second episode of the season, “Selina Kyle,” which featured very little of the future Catwoman. This week’s episode, “Harvey Dent,” introduces us to the man who will someday become Gotham City’s “White Knight,” and then tragically fall victim to its own darkness and become the supervillain Two-Face. Unfortunately, though, Harvey gets a couple scenes but is overall underused, and ironically plays second fiddle to… Selina Kyle.

For the few scenes he had, Nicholas D’Agosto completely won me over as Harvey Dent, who in Gotham is a young, idealistic Assistant District Attorney. Unlike how the series has handled some of the other future villains on this show, Harvey’s fate in the Batman mythos was understated and never felt hamfisted. Sure, he flips a coin a few times, and is frequently under lights that only illuminate half of his face, but nobody ever called him “two-faced,” which in itself shows that Gotham has improved immensely in the nine episodes we’ve seen so far. He does lose his temper at one point, which felt a bit out of place with what we’d seen of the character so far, but seeing as that’s an accurate portrayal of the comic book Harvey, I let it go.

I am, however, a bit worried about what Harvey’s arrival in Gotham means for the future of the character. I hope we never see his Two-Face transformation on the series, because his fall from grace is a hugely monumental facet of Bruce’s time as Batman. Harvey is, in many ways, Bruce’s biggest failing, and he has to face that every time he faces off with him. That dynamic is incredibly important, and it just isn’t the same if Gordon takes Bruce’s place in Harvey’s arc. Penguin can easily become a crime boss before Batman arrives in the city, and even Riddler can exist without the Bat, but Two-Face should be reserved for when Bruce finally dawns the cape and cowl.

With that said, I really enjoyed D’Agosto’s performance as Dent, and think it’s great that he’ll be a recurring character on the series. Gordon needs more allies in the city, and him teaming with Harvey to solve the Wayne murder case should be interesting to see.