Review: ‘Gotham’ – ‘The Blind Fortune-Teller’: Is the Joker wild?

alan-sepinwall
Senior Television Writer
02.16.15 40 Comments

FOX

A few quick thoughts on tonight's “Gotham” coming up just as soon as you take me to see a circus brawl…

I stopped reviewing “Gotham” regularly in early January for scheduling reasons, but also because I was starting to lose interest in the show. Little that happened in the ensuing weeks changed my opinion about its strengths, its weaknesses, and its difficulty distinguishing between the two, and I wound up just not watching most of the recent Scarecrow two-parter because I decided there were other things I would rather spend that time on.

I checked out “The Blind Fortune-Teller” because the FOX hype machine had been hinting at the idea that Cameron Monghan's character might be the actual Young Joker, rather than yet another tease, and because I like Monaghan a lot in his day job on “Shameless.” Having watched it – including a climax in which Monaghan couldn't have been acting more Joker-ish without wearing an “I Heart Cesar Romero” t-shirt – my feelings about the show are largely unchanged.

Even if Monaghan's character really is meant to grow up to be the Joker, there's too much time between Point A and Point B for that to matter – not without the show completely diluting the character because they have to keep using him while waiting for David Mazouz to grow a few feet – and he becomes yet another colorful character in a show that has way too many characters, period, and little skill at juggling them. As Dr. Thompkins, Morena Baccarin makes a much more interesting love interest for Jim Gordon, but the show is still keeping Barbara around – has to, in fact, if it intends to stick relatively close to the story from the comics – and has now turned Selena into her personal stylist for a lack of giving either of them something better to do.

And beyond that, Bruno Heller's preference of both villains and tone trends much more towards the grim and ghoulish than I'm interested in watching, I think. That's a personal preference thing, and the show's tone is very much in line with the comics at the moment, but I also don't read those anymore for that reason.

Ultimately, I think “Gotham” is an unwieldy structure built on a shaky foundation. The choice to set things at such a young age for Master Bruce while trying to introduce so many future supervillains and other supporting characters leaves the whole show feeling busy and unsure of itself. Even the Penguin, easily the best part of the season so far, tends to get swallowed up by everything else going on. So barring a huge time jump or other kind of massive retooling, I'm okay setting “Gotham” aside.

But for those still watching, what did you think of this episode, and of the possibility of Monaghan as the Joker? And how are you feeling about the show as a whole?
 

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