TV Review: Gotham S3E3 Mad City: Look Into My Eyes

season_3_posterHypnotist Jervis Tetch/Mad Hatter (Benedict Samuel) arrives in Gotham to search for his sister, Alice (guest star Naian Gonzalez Norvind), and hires Gordon to help find her. Meanwhile, Penguin decides to run for mayor and Bruce’s doppelganger begins to channel him, causing some confusion around town.

Gotham improves with this episode that moves away from the “X-Men” aspects we saw in the first two episodes, it instead gives us the seeds of some new storylines that might actually be entertaining.

The Mad Hatter comes to Gotham, the latest in classic Batman villains to find their way to the small screen. While Tetch in the comics has often been depicted as a short twitchy man, this version feels like he has more in common with Ezra Miller in looks. He’s also an interesting person using his abilities to get what he needs and wants while trying to find his sister. There’s lots of potential here and as a plotline to give Gordon something to do, it works and works well. Samuel as Tetch/Mad Hatter is creepy enough bringing an engaging style to the character and show.

For Gordon we also get the return of Leslie Thompkins, which was shown at the end of the previous episode. We find out more what she’s been up to and there’s a twist there I didn’t see coming at all. While this at first feels like a typical story, there’s something more revealed that makes it a bit more interesting.

Then there’s Penguin who has decided to run for Mayor of Gotham, a plot line we’ve seen in films and comics before. We’ve seen it done, but this feels like it’ll have more in common with the mob story in early seasons than the plot of Batman Returns. It’s interesting and gives Robin Lord Taylor a chance to shine on the screen. His portrayal of the Penguin continues to be a highlight of the series.

The episode has a lot of small details that works really well too, especially Erin Richards as Barbara Keen and Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma. Keen is a character I’ve hated, but she gets her crazy on here that works and Smith is always entertaining as Nygma.

The bad continues to be David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne who now has double duty as his long haired emo mysterious copy. We learn a bit more about this plot, but so far it falls flat mostly due to Mazouz’s acting which just doesn’t work. It feels like he’s trying to play too old and/or it just comes off flat. Add in a story that’s just weird to add into everything else and you have the outlier of what could be an interesting episode.

A lot of good here in what’s been a bizarre season that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. Maybe the first two were the anomaly and this is more what we should expect and I hope so, because this is a massive improvement over the first two episodes of the year.

Overall Rating: 7.15