Air Date: September 19, 2016
Genre: Crime, Drama, Action
When I reviewed the finale for season two of Gotham I said “Here’s to season three being much better.” Well, if this season delivers what it’s promising in this premiere, that may actually become a reality. Gotham is a show that has remained entertaining despite not being totally consistent. Better To Reign In Hell… establishes more of a vigilante tone than ever before. This seems to be fitting, given the future Gotham will face with vigilantes. Jim Gordon (Ben Mackenzie) is now a Bounty Hunter, the maniacs from Indian Hill are on the loose and Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) is hunting down Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), who surprisingly allowed him to live and walk free after the finale. Why? Guess we’ll just have to see.
However, while the new tone seems fitting, it sort of just comes out of nowhere. It’s easy to understand why Penguin is after Fish Mooney but why is Jim Gordon a bounty hunter? Furthermore, this just seems out of character for him. Jim Gordon has done questionable things on the show but he doesn’t strike me as the guy who would take down criminals and disobey the law just for a paycheck. We see in the beginning of the episode that he’s found Leslie (Morena Baccarin). He’s at her house with flowers but can’t seem to bring himself to talk to her. Then we immediately skip ahead to six months later, where Gordon is a Bounty Hunter hunting down the Indian Hill freaks. Yeah, what happened? I mean, really? Nothing? Nothing at all? Okay, guess we’ll figure this out at some point.
I like the new tone as a whole, I just wish there had been a more legitimate lead-up to it. That being said, Better To Reign In Hell… is a solid first episode for season three that delivers a ton of promise. In many respects, it does what a season premiere should do. It not only lays the basic groundwork for the season but also calls back to questions left after the season two finale. The episode also does something that two entire seasons of Gotham failed to do in the past; make Fish Mooney interesting. Honestly, I thought they were reaching in the last season by giving her mind control powers. However, this episode manages to make that work, as we discover that the powers are in fact killing her.
There’s actually stakes involved as now the villain is desperately trying to find a cure for her condition. That’s what was missing about this character early on; humanity. She was just a boring generic villain in season one. She was a boring generic villain with superpowers at the end of season two. By giving her a fatal condition, it not only humanizes her but makes her journey a more intriguing one. There is now something about her that is worth being invested in. This is something I feel the show could run with for a bit if they play their cards right.
The same goes with the Indian Hill freaks at Fish Mooney’s disposal. We saw several of them creep out of that bus last season so who knows how many there actually are. Fingers crossed for Jerome’s (Cameron Monaghan) return. At the very least, I hope they start delving into these characters soon because so far they all seem rather generic to me. I understand that it’s just the first episode of the season but aside from random powers you’d see on a low-rent X-Men character, there’s nothing special about them so far. For the most part, they’re just kind of there. Fingers crossed for Jerome’s (Cameron Monaghan) return or The Mad Hatter. Actually, is it too much to ask for both? Please?
Speaking of the Indian Hill rejects, one thing I actually noticed was that there is no mention of Mr. Freeze or Firefly in this episode. I mean, were they captured? The series has thus far left their fates unknown and considering how popular both villains are, I don’t really understand why. Sure, we’re gonna have Poison Ivy this season but… *suffers Batman & Robin flashback*… ya know what, good decision. Keep em separate, that’s what I’d do.
But there wouldn’t be Gotham without a Bruce Wayne, who has returned to Gotham after six months away with Alfred. Bruce hatches a plan to confront the board of Wayne Enterprises about the secret society running his company. I still have no idea why they won’t just call themselves The Court Of Owls when they are clearly The Court Of Owls but I digress. My guess is, based on the ending of this episode, we will see the repercussions of his actions. It’s interesting to see Bruce take some action with his family’s company. However, what’s he going to do when The Court Of Owls actually confronts him? Is he going to give them a stern talking to? There’s really not much he can do about it so what’s the point of telling The Court that he’s onto them? That’s just adding to his troubles, isn’t it?
Anyway, we also see Penguin more desperate than ever to catch Fish Mooney, constantly pondering why she let him live. There’s actually a rather chilling scene with him talking to Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) in Arkham Asylum. I don’t know if it’s just the chemistry between these two actors but I love it when these two characters are together. Aside from that, The Penguin seems to have gained the trust of Gotham‘s citizens in his pursuit of Fish Mooney and the escapees from Indian Hill. It’s actually interesting to see these people back the Penguin over the police. It makes me wonder if they’ll pull a Batman Returns and have him run for Mayor. Speaking of Mayor, why is Mayor Aubrey James back in Gotham? Wasn’t he disgraced and run out of town by Galavan last season? Eh, whatever, I’ll buy it.
Overall, Better To Reign In Hell… is a solid episode that establishes a new tone for Gotham and lays some new groundwork. In the world of Gotham, there’s plenty of storylines and characters to play with. Let’s just hope these writers start delivering on the promises of this episode soon.
- A Chilling Scene With The Riddler
- Fish Mooney Is Finally Interesting... Insert Slow Clap Here.
- Jim Gordon Going Rogue
- Penguin's Obsession With Killing Fish Mooney
- An Overall Solid Setup For Season Three
- The Sporadic Change In Tone
- Indian Hill Freaks Are A Bit Of A Letdown Thus Far
- Bruce's Plan Regarding The Court Of Owls Doesn't Seem Very Well Planned At All
- Where Are Mr. Freeze & Firefly?
A graduate of Full Sail University with a Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing, Adam is a Writer and Film Critic, looking to make his mark on the world. When he isn’t at the movies, writing for The Nerd Stash, playing Duck Hunt (respect the classics) or delivering pizzas to his neighbors, he is back at school earning his Masters Degree in Film Production.