By: Darryl Frisbie
We see the gothic tower of Arkham and the opening scene of a stage play. The inmates are performing when one of the audience members decides to enact violence. Jim Gordon gets a lot of flak for not being attentive to his job by the head warden. The mystery of this plot involves inmates getting electroshock from an anonymous culprit. One victim of electroshock ends up dead but another starts rehearsing random rhymes. Jim Gordon interrogated various inmates who are Hollywood stereotypes of the criminally insane; convulsing and blubbering gibberish. In reality, we know there would be many inmates who would seem normal but Hollywood tends to exaggerate things.
The most promising aspect to this episode is the cinematography. There are beautiful sweeps of the city and there is a moment where we see Selina Kyle leaning over a skyscraper. There are great shots of Arkham in the dreariness of the rain and great camera angles in Fish Mooney’s Club. The subplots of Rogue’s Gallery were not quite compelling for me. Selina takes Ivy to Gordon’s loft and Penguin screws up once again by taxing Maroni’s fisherman without permission. The result is Oswald ends up behind bars, just when I was thinking he was too clever for such a predicament. We have Fish Mooney conspiring against another mobster, with help from Butch, who does the dirty work at the end. So in short the subplots scrape up old territory and nothing is too surprising.
The highlight of this story was Dr. Leslie Thompkins, played by Morena Baccarin, who is not only beautiful but a talented actress. She tends to the medical care of the inmates and I have a notion will be the next love interest of Jim Gordon. I had to look this up for verification but in the comics she is a surrogate parent to Bruce, and is the caretaker of the less fortunate. In this version she is far younger and more attractive in contrast to the near elderly version were used to seeing her as. So I am excited to see if she will play a part in Bruce’s life like we’ve seen in the past.
Jack Gruber, also known as the electrocutionist, is the puppeteer of Arkham’s latest crimes. He ultimately finds cellmate, Aaron Helzinger to commit all of his horrendous crimes. He controls his victims via electroshock. I got a little worried at first because I never heard of his character in the comics but it turns out he is an original character of the TV series. Gruber escapes Arkham and we will see him create further havoc in subsequent episodes. Helzinger is a part of the comics and is also known as Amygdala. He has enhanced strength and durability.
I’m not sure why but I did not find this episode extremely engaging. I think it’s possible that the subplots detracted from the conflict happening at Arkham, especially Barbra’s affair. I appreciate that we get to see a range of characters evolving but sometimes it is a detriment to the episode being compelling.
Overall Grade: 7/10