Title: Gotham: “Ghosts”
Release Date: January 16, 2017
Genre: Crime, Drama, Action
I’m not going to beat around the bush, Beware The Green-Eyed Monster left a massive hole in my heart. While not a perfect season, Gotham‘s third season had been consistently good and, at times, even great. But after sitting through the worst episode of the season thus far, was the mid-season premiere an improvement? In some ways, yes. Ghosts is a much better and more interesting episode than Beware The Green-Eyed Monster. However, I still can’t manage to bring myself to call it great. It still had many problems, making it feel vastly underwhelming in certain moments. Ghosts was a good episode and a nice return to form. I just can’t help but think that certain elements could have been handled better.
Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) found himself visited by the ghost of his father (Paul Reubens), which slowly made him lose his mind. However, Oswald wasn’t the only one with problems in this episode. With Falcone’s (John Doman) son dead at the hands of Jim Gordon (Ben Mackenzie), tensions flared throughout the city. Lee (Morena Baccarin), outraged that the police wouldn’t arrest Gordon, gave Falcone the okay to put a hit on him. Meanwhile, Selina hesitantly reconnected with her mother, Nygma plotted his revenge and Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) made his return with stock footage from season two. Gee, thanks, guys. So glad you made such a big deal about Jerome’s return in the advertising.
First and foremost, let’s get the Jerome thing out of the way because this was the part that truly bothered me about this episode. Not necessarily that Jerome didn’t return in the episode but because the promos and previews made such a big deal out of it. Not only does Jerome not come back, but the whole storyline behind it is completely superfluous to the rest of the episode. If you removed this small segment from Ghosts, nothing would be different. In the center of the episode, Gordon and Bullock (Donal Logue) investigate an abandoned building. Inside they find followers of Jerome, wearing clown makeup, worshiping stock footage of him. The leader of the gang (or Jokers, I guess) is Dwight Pollard (David Dastmalchian). On a side note, Dastmalchian also played the schizophrenic Thomas Shiff in The Dark Knight.
Pollard appears the end with a doctor, evidently hatching their plans to bring Jerome back to life. Honestly, I don’t know why they even went this route. I do appreciate The Jokers, the worshipers of the clown prince of crime, being introduced into the show. I also like that they got David Dastmalchian to play their leader. However, there was no reason to have this whole plan to bring Jerome back to life. They had Indian Hill so why didn’t they just use that? Indian Hill was able to resurrect Mr. Freeze (Nathan Darrow) and Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith). Ghosts had a clear excuse for Jerome to come back staring them right in the face and it bothers me that they just created this entirely ridiculous subplot instead. Oh well, we’ll see where this goes, I guess.
Like I said, that was just a small part of the episode that had major problems. The title Ghosts truly refers to the “return” of Paul Reubens as Oswald Cobblepot’s deceased father. Oswald sees ghostly visions of his father throughout the episode, causing him to lose his grip on reality and grow increasingly more paranoid. The fact that his “best friend”, Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), is not by his side anymore isn’t helping him either. This ultimately culminates in him killing his new assistant and hiding the body. Now, I’ll admit, when I saw the ghost of The Penguin’s father, I was a bit bewildered by it. I figured, “okay, something has to be up here. There’s no way the episode can be this stupid.” Sure enough, I was absolutely right.
The “ghost” that Oswald saw throughout the episode, turned out to be Clayface (Brian McManamon) in disguise, working for Edward Nygma. This was honestly, in my opinion, the best part of the episode. Cory Michael Smith cements for us once again why he is the perfect actor to play this character. Ghosts, just like some episodes have done in the past, utilizes Smith’s talents not just as Edward Nygma but also in playing The Riddler. Smith is clearly having a ball with this performance and although he isn’t in much of the episode, he steals the show whenever he’s on screen. It’s so good to see Edward Nygma being The Riddler again and Smith pulls it off beautifully. A small part of the episode but undoubtedly the best thing in it.
One of my biggest issues with Beware The Green-Eyed Monster was that Gordon killed Mario. It felt so unnecessary and forced and Mario randomly having the virus was just as dumb. It seemed to only be there to force some convoluted drama between Lee and Gordon. However, the first time they are on screen together in Ghosts, the scene is perfectly handled. Aside from Lee being great from a character standpoint, Morena Baccarin shows again why she is one of the best actresses to ever grace this show. Lee demands that Bullock arrest Gordon but Bullock obviously won’t do that. They try to make excuses that the kill was justified but Lee immediately calls them out on it, pointing out that Barnes (Michael Chiklis) had the same virus and that Gordon didn’t kill Barnes.
Thank you! Lee, you could not be more right. I’m sorry, but there was no reason why Gordon had to kill Mario. He could have just shot him in the shoulder or the leg and Mario would have been down. Gordon is a trained police officer and should have known this. Like I said, it was just to force drama and I’m not even sure why they bothered because it is all resolved by the end of this episode. Lee calls off the hit on Gordon, Falcone tells him “if it were up to me, you’d be dead”, and Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) goes home like a boss. That’s it. End of conflict. What was even the point? I’m sure some of this may lead to further conflicts down the line but for a season that had drama develop naturally, for the most part, this is just sort of underwhelming.
As far as Selina (Camren Bicondova) and her mother (Ivana Milicevic) are concerned, it’s the typical “why weren’t you there for me” mother/daughter drama we’ve seen a million times before. There is actually a line of dialogue from Selina that is so stupid it actually bears repeating. When Bruce (David Mazouz) is trying to have her reconnect with her mom, Selina actually says “No, she’s a thief!”. Okay, so did Selina forget that SHE IS A THIEF TOO or did the writers just decide to take a day off? I don’t know but either way, it’s a really dumb thing for someone as intelligent as Selina to say. Some of the moments were nice but given Maria Kyle’s big (albeit incredibly random) reveal in the last episode, I felt this should have had more punch to it.
Also, there’s a map in the glass owl. I don’t know why there’s a map in the glass owl. I don’t know who would bother hiding a map in a glass owl. They could have just as easily hidden an actual map. But, it exists so enjoy that.
Overall, Ghosts represents a flawed, yet solid episode for Gotham. It has its dumb, underwhelming and often cheesy moments but it also has enough good things to keep it afloat. Cory Michael Smith and Morena Baccarin give great performances. Anthony Carrigan hams it up beautifully as Victor Zsasz. Even Robin Lord Taylor gives a complex performance as a man whose mind is slowly breaking. Some of the drama is forced but some of it also works nicely. The Jerome thing was disappointing. However, I’ll admit it wouldn’t have bothered me that much if I hadn’t seen the advertising for the episode. So, take it for what it’s worth. Not a perfect episode but it got the job done.
- Great Performances All Around With Morena Baccarin And Cory Michael Smith Being Standouts.
- Brilliant Scene Of Lee Condemning Gordon
- Nygma's Revenge Against Oswald
- Victor Zsasz Is Hilarious
- The Introduction Of The Jokers
- Oswald's Paranoia & Actions
- Forced Drama
- Underwhelming Conclusion
- Selina's Relationship With Her Mother Is Beyond Cliche-Ridden
- NO JEROME! Why was he even in the advertising?
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.