TV Review: Gotham Drops ‘Harvey Dent’ On The Scene

I was almost ready to give up on Gotham.

There’s plenty of comic book shows on television for a geek like me to enjoy, and Gotham was starting to feel like it was spinning its wheels. I’d already dropped Constantine, which I gave three episodes, but was so bad I couldn’t even write about it. Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD has grown in leaps since its first season, and I love what’s going on over on the Flash. So, I really didn’t need another show to scratch that itch, but my Batman fandom kept me coming back, which is a good thing.

Monday’s episode, titled “Harvey Dent,” is the best hour of Gotham since the pilot. This is due chiefly to the fact that things are happening, characters are making choices, and thus the action is finally moving forward. What was previously just a lot of talking has begun to move and we can see the creative team pulling on threads, turning Gotham’s ship slowly toward what the show can be.

Obviously, this episode introduces a very important player in the Bat-Universe, that of do-gooder District Attorney Harvey Dent, fated to become a prominent member of Batman’s rogue gallery. Here Dent is played by Nicholas D’Agosto (Masters of Sex), with a nearly bipolar edge. Gotham still insists on playing up these character introductions to an extreme level, which we see here in Dent’s opening scene with a young hoodlum and his infamous coin. All that after naming the freaking episode after the character. Still, I like D’Agosto a lot, and his all American good looks and demeanor are an interesting counterpoint to Dent’s temper.

Dent comes into play with Gordon by way of Montoya, looking for a way to both protect Selina Kyle and pursue the alleged mastermind of the Wayne murders. Dent wants to take a gamble (another nudge) with Kyle’s witness status to but the fear in the target of the investigation. Gordon’s more interested in protecting Kyle, so he ensconces her at Wayne Manor with Bruce. Watching these two kids let their defenses down is charming enough, but the added knowledge of their place in the great Batman mythology elevates the scenes. It’s nice to see Bruce especially move out of somber mode and into a more recognizable place for a boy his age.

The meat of the hour focus on Ian Hargrove, a master bomber who’s busted out of prison by a gang of Russians to target Falcone business interests. Gotham sets Hargrove up as a pawn, imprisoned for accidentally murdering two people during a bombing spree of empty ammunition factories. Hargrove manages to signal the detectives by hiding information among the shrapnel of the explosion, so it’s not long until Gordon and Bullock catch up. It’s clear all of this is part of Fish’s plan, and it’s good to see action rather than just lip service.

Penguin gets some solid screen time again, which is no surprise given he’s arguably the strongest character on the show. We see him put the pieces together to realize just who Fish’s mole inside Falcone’s camp is, and he turns it to his own advantage just as we would expect him to do.

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