Gotham (2013) season 1, episode 16
"The Blind Fortune Teller"
WRITER: BRUNO HELLER
DIRECTOR: JEFFREY HUNT
AIR DATE: February 16 2015
‘The Blind Fortune Teller’ shows that even in Gotham City, a date night does not exclude a cop from the possibility that he might end up in a murder investigation. Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is attending the circus with Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin). It’s a circus with meaning for comics fans, because this is Haly’s, the same company that the Graysons worked for. In fact, we meet the two people who, in comics lore, will marry and have a son named Richard “Dick” Grayson, though at first meeting, they’re not at that point in their lives. A fight breaking out among circus players (based on a feud going back decades) leads to the discovery of a body, and of course Gordon finds himself hip deep in an investigation.
More plotlines move forward this time out. Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), still stuck in that enigmatic prison, is finding her place, making connections among her fellow prisoners, and making trouble for her unseen captors, represented as far as the prisoners are concerned by a handful of guards. Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) is not exactly making a splash running Fish’s old club, and a visit from Victor Zsasz sets things right - while bringing in a tortured, brainwashed old hand from Fish’s crew. We would have expected Butch to be dead by now. Anthony Carrigan has been playing the character here and there thus far during the season, and he has a fearsome look, all the more so when you factor in how he plays the character, like a vicious dog chafing at the leash, ready to kill at a moment’s notice.
Leslie and James speak to... Jerome
Barbara (Erin Richards) finally returns to town, finding two runaways, Selina and Ivy (Camren Bicondova and Clare Foley) living in her home. For whatever reason, this doesn’t seem to bother her nearly as much as seeing the close intimacy between Jim and Leslie when she sees them together at the station. It’s not the actress in this case that’s the problem, it’s the character- Barbara isn’t a particularly sympathetic character in the comics, and that’s transferred over to the character on the series. She’s a self absorbed, needy, insecure, rather shallow person, and for her own outrage at Jim moving on with his life, it’s rich coming from the woman who dropped him and quickly jumped into bed with an ex. Richards is playing these aspects of the character; it’s just a character we’re not invested in.
As is not the case with Leslie Thompkins. Baccarin plays the character with the warmth you’d expect. She’s a whole person, secure in and of herself. The anti-Barbara, if you will. Plus, hey, this is Morena Baccarin- she’s practically a goddess (yes, I can admit it, I lust after Morena Baccarin). The chemistry Leslie has with Gordon feels much more natural and grounded. Even when the two are disagreeing with each other, as comes up this time out, it feels like a healthy disagreement. It’s not at all the unhealthy relationship dynamic we’ve seen from Gordon and Barbara.
Aside from essentially seeing the beginning of the Grayson marriage, this episode was billed as hinting at the origins of the Joker. That leaves us to wonder just who that might be. Certainly the young suspect in the killing, particularly when he gets seriously questioned by Gordon, might qualify for the future clown prince of crime and malevolent psychopath. On the other hand, that could easily be a red herring, and the real Joker is yet to be revealed. It could just as easily be a smaller role - the guide for the titular blind fortune teller, perhaps? Or perhaps the entire notion was nothing more than a feint. Time will tell.