Release Date: May 1, 2017
Genre: Crime, Drama, Action
These Delicate And Dark Obsessions saw Ben Mackenzie stepping into the director’s chair for the first time in his career. This is something many shows have done in the past and will continue to do in the future. However, there’s nothing wrong with it. In addition, I’d argue that episodes directed by an actor from any respected series is a wonderful idea. For example, Tom Welling directed some of the best episodes of Smallville. Additionally, Amanda Bearse directed some of the best episodes of Married With Children. So Ben Mackenzie taking a stab at directing seemed like a good move on the show’s part and it seriously paid off here.
While These Delicate And Dark Obsessions is far from the best episode of the show, it certainly remains a great episode for what has been a great season of Gotham. As These Delicate And Dark Obsessions, we learn that The Court Of Owls has unanimously passed Judgement on Gotham. Even Frank Gordon (James Remar), who we sadly won’t be seeing more of anytime soon. Meanwhile, James Gordon (Ben Mackenzie) tried making peace with Lee (Morena Baccarin) to no avail, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) woke up in a mountain temple (Nanda Parbat???) and Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) formed an unlikely alliance with Ivy (Maggie Geha).
The biggest problem with this episode, in particular, is how quickly it disposes of Frank Gordon. I made an insinuation that Frank may have had a hand in his brother’s death when I reviewed How The Riddler Got His Name. Well, not to brag or anything but I was right. Apparently, by the will of The Court, Frank ordered the hit on Jim Gordon’s father. So, of course, Frank told Jim that The Court would be contacting him soon… and then Frank killed himself. Apparently, making The Court believe that Jim killed his uncle, will make him a member of The Court Of Owls. Not quite sure why they’d just take Jim’s word for it but whatever, I’ll let it slide.
Still, Frank’s death annoyed me. Frank was just introduced to us and to see him go out so quick was a huge letdown. In addition, James Remar and Ben Mackenzie seemed to have great chemistry on screen. It was easy to believe from the get-go that these two were estranged family members. It felt natural and organic when they were together. But I guess Frank was destined to join the ranks of all the other characters Gotham abandoned. Yeah, what ever happened to Harvey Dent again? or Mr. Freeze? or Firefly? Can we get them back sometime soon? That would be swell.
Despite that though, These Delicate And Dark Obsessions contains many great character moments for Jim Gordon. As I said, the moments with Jim and Frank are great. There’s a very tense conversation at the half-way point between Jim and Carmine Falcone (John Doman). However, the most noteworthy scene is a beautifully shot and acted scene in a graveyard between Jim and Lee. It’s been very tense with these two characters and for good reason. Jim killing her fiance doesn’t exactly scream, “Let me buy you dinner.” However, the moment actually feels genuine. For all the screaming and hatred between these two characters as of late, it was nice to see them go back to the more quiet moments.
While Bruce’s clone made himself comfortable back in Gotham, the real Bruce woke up in an undisclosed location in the mountains. Bruce was greeted by a Shaman (Raymond J. Barry), who promised to train him, despite Bruce’s obvious reluctant. Now, this particular part of the episode was interesting as The Shaman, strangely enough, seems to be against The Court Of Owls. Or, at the very least, that’s how he comes across. We know from the beginning of the episode that The Court wants to destroy Gotham. We even discover later that they brought the weapon for it’s destruction into Gotham already. However, it seems that The Shaman wants Bruce to not only save Gotham but to avenge his parent’s deaths as well.
It’s interesting because one has to wonder if there is someone above The Court Of Owls. What if they are just a means to an end and not really pulling the strings? Could Gotham possibly be setting up The League Of Assassins for a future storyline? If they are, let’s just hope they do a better job with Ra’s Al Ghul’s storyline than Arrow did. Of course, this is all speculation at this point but it’s fun to theorize. It’s also noteworthy to bring up what The Shaman does for Bruce in this episode. Through the use of some weird needles, he is able to show Bruce the death of his parents. It was in this scene that we truly saw the extent of Bruce’s pain. This was obviously implied in past incarnations. However, here we witnessed it first hand as Bruce relieved their deaths all over again.
The Shaman believes that for Bruce to become the hero of Gotham, he needs to let go of his pain. He needs to let go of his parents and all the torment in his heart. Now, for those who know Batman lore (and shame on you if you don’t), you know that his parent’s death will one day become a driving force for him. It’s the reason he doesn’t kill people or use guns. His parents become the main focus of all his morals. So it becomes clear to me that Bruce will probably realize this before the season is over. Regardless of how badly this Shaman brainwashes him, Bruce is simply a character who needs his pain to become Batman.
But Bruce and The Shaman weren’t the only new pairing of These Delicate And Dark Obsessions. Of all the characters they could have put together, The Penguin and Ivy was quite the odd choice. However, much to my surprise, it worked to hilarious effect. Whenever Geha and Taylor were on screen together, it was a riot. Penguin tried to brush Ivy off but soon realized that he needed her when his former lackey’s all turned on him. Penguin is obviously not The Mayor anymore as Gotham believes him to be dead. However, that hasn’t changed his tune about wanting to kill the man who put him the river. So, we now have Ivy and Penguin working together to recruit an army of Indian Hill freaks. Gotham, please bring back Mr. Freeze and Firefly. We miss them. Oh, and more of Penguin and Ivy as well.
Verdict: These Delicate And Dark Obsessions raises many questions for the future of the series, as a great episode should. Ivy and Penguin teaming up was hilarious, Bruce reliving his parent’s murder was both touching and heartbreaking and the emotional moments managed to shine brightly. However, Frank Gordon killing himself feels like the waste of a good character as well as a good actor. In addition, The Court simply taking Jim at his word regarding the death of one of their own is a bit farfetched. However, These Delicate And Dark Obsessions still did a fine job at keeping us invested in the world of Gotham. For all the questions raised by this episode, I just hope we get some good answers in the future.
- Great Acting
- Funny Comedy
- Good Setups For Future Episodes
- Nice Emotional Touches
- Bruce's Flashback
- Graveyard Scene
- Killing Frank Gordon So Early Felt Like Wasted Potential
- The Court's Priorities And Recruitment Plans Need To Be Looked Over By Someone With Brains... Just Puttin' That Out There
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.