Gotham (2014) season 1, episode 3
WRITER: JOHN STEPHENS
DIRECTOR: DERMOTT DOWNS
AIR DATE: Ocotber 6 2014
Things get curiouser and curiouser as the third episode of the series gets underway, entitled The Balloonman. We meet a Bernie Madoff type of financier, a man running from trouble, with sheer contempt for the amount of damage he's done to countless lives as he's embezzled a fortune (rather like that waste of oxygen Madoff, come to think of it. He still thinks he's a master of the universe, though, telling his lawyer to deal with his problems whatever it takes, slipping out the back door to avoid press attention... and coming face to face with a harsh form of justice. A masked vigilante sends him up into the sky by attaching him to a weather balloon and letting nature take its course. It's a rather grisly way to die, really, but then again, he deserves it.
Such is the point of view of Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) when the case gets handed to he and Jim Gordon (Ben Mckenzie). Gordon's dealing with a couple of loose threads from the Wayne case, courtesy of Selina Kyle, but the partners spend most of their time dealing with the new case. Bullock reasonably says that the victim more than had it coming considering how many lives he wrecked, and it's hard to argue against that, but he changes his tune with the profession of the next victim. We're left to speculate on just who might be doing this, meanwhile, and where he might have picked up the idea. Gordon and Bullock must follow the trail of the Balloonman, who particularly during his second outing has hints of The Shadow in his overall look.
The Ballooman chooses a victim
Other plot threads get picked up here and there, pointing to the serialized sense of the series. Oswald Cobblepot continues to rebuild his life while offing people seemingly for kicks; the character is becoming quite the sociopath. He ends up in the employ of Sal Maroni, a rival to Carmine Falcone with a lot of history of his own in the world of the Dark Knight. There's something seriously unhinged in Robin Taylor's performance as the future Penguin. That's a good thing.
Renee's former (or is it former) relationship with Barbara gets a bit more light shed on it. There's difficult history between these two women, and it comes across in their face-to-face moment midway through. Victoria Cartagena thus far is doing very well in conveying the personality of Renee Montoya, whose character has so much history in Gotham City, and who's been a personal favourite for me. I very much approve of her casting in the part.
Bullock is caught off-guard
The Balloonman might be a throwaway sort of character, created for the sake of the series, but he does in fact serve a peculiar purpose for the young Bruce Wayne, who's trying to find his way through his grief. The boy is following the case remotely from Wayne Manor, and he learns a lesson as the tale goes along: a vigilante who chooses to kill is no better than the criminal they strike against. It's a telling sign of the personal code the Dark Knight lives by: Batman does not kill.