For ten weeks now, Gotham has walked the fine line between character study and hamfisted prequel series, falling unfortunately near the latter half of the spectrum more often than one would like. The show stumbled out the gate, found its footing a few weeks in, and began improving significantly as it went on and as the characters became more concrete and fleshed out. Tonight was Gotham‘s big chance to leave the fall television season with a bang, and convince us that this is a show worth returning to after the winter break. Unfortunately, all “LoveCraft” managed to do was a) give us more of the same and b) prove right some of our deepest fears about the series.
The first part of the season thus far was strictly focused on Jim Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Fish Mooney, and Oswald Cobblepot, but as the show’s gone on that dynamic has slowly shifted. Once a Jim Gordon origin tale, Gotham is now more of an ensemble piece, and the last few episodes have pushed the aforementioned foursome aside to focus instead on Bruce Wayne, Selina Kyle, and Alfred Pennyworth.
Yes, it’s been said time and again that Gotham City itself is the central player in the series, and a character in and of itself. However, audiences need a character to serve as anchor, and while Jim Gordon is a milquetoast one at best, he’s still better than nothing, which is what we’ve been grasping at these last few weeks. The back half of these ten episodes has felt increasingly unfocused, and they’ve definitely suffered for it.
Tangential connections – like the Wayne Murders – have remained, but the series has fallen a bit too far down the procedural rabbit hole and now relies on the eyeroll-inducing prequel antics that bogged down the series’ pilot. Couple that with the fact that characters like Bruce and Selina are often the weakest facets of an episode, and it’s easy to see how an episode like “LoveCraft” was, despite a few high points, a bit of a letdown.