It’s the fall finale of Gotham! “LoveCraft” proves just how far the show has come by packing more action into its pre-credits sequence than the season’s first few episodes combined. Selina, still hanging out at Wayne Manor, is teaching Bruce to balance himself on railings when assassin Larissa Diaz (Lesley-Ann Brandt) arrives to collect a bounty on the wily urchin, whom Assistant DA Harvey Dent has proclaimed is a witness to the Waynes’ murders. Codenamed “Copperhead” (after the longtime DC villain created by writer Bob Haney and artist Bob Brown in June 1968’s Brave and the Bold #78) though referred to here merely as “The Assassin,” Diaz’s signature move is to squeeze the life out of her targets. But before she can terminate Selina, the street kid and Bruce escape, leaving Alfred alone to fend off the intruders.
With Bruce and Selina unprotected on the city’s mean streets, Gordon and Bullock partner with Alfred to locate them and find out who’s contracted the hit. To Gordon’s surprise, it’s not Lovecraft — whom Dent had suspected of the murders — a fact Gordon discovers shortly before Diaz and her men put a bullet in the duplicitous billionaire’s brain. After trying to sell Bruce’s belongings to a crooked pawnbroker, Bruce and Selina are found by Diaz. But Selina escapes with the help of Gotham’s Finest, and Bruce is reunited with his relieved guardian.
There’s not a lot of story in “LoveCraft,” as the episode is primarily an extended chase sequence. But at least we’re again spared a procedural-of-the-week, and there’s plenty of room for character development, particularly with Alfred, Bruce, and Selina.
The junior Dark Knight is already showing keen observational skills and proving to be a strong judge of character, telling his new friend that while she’s “good” she’s not necessarily “nice.” Thus recognizing the distinction that’s drawn Batman and Catwoman to each for seventy-five years, and ultimately kept them apart. Selina, for her part, allows him to think he’s targeted too, so they can “hang out a while longer.” She again offers him a kiss, but, like the lovable thief she is, eventually decides to steal one from him.
Meanwhile, Alfred proves he’s as handy with an automatic as he is with a spatula — fighting off Diaz and her goons, and barely pausing while his arm is grazed by a rogue bullet. Partnering him with Bullock for most of the episode makes for some hilariously offbeat moments, as when Alfred refuses to play good cop to the bad cop, choosing instead to simply pay cash for an informant’s info. The manservant’s best move, however, is when he sweet talks the usually unflappable Fish into helping them locate Bruce and Selina. Whatever background Gotham‘s producers choose to concoct for Mr. Pennyworth (and the comics have offered several), I’m hoping they reveal a history with the British Secret Service. I’d kill for some flashbacks to a 007-style past.
Gordon too is on fire in this episode, far more focused on finding Bruce than in finding Barbara, who abandoned him last episode for her ex-lover Montoya. The detective has seen more than a little of himself in the young Wayne, and it’s clear that by saving him he’s trying to reclaim and preserve his own innocence. Either that, or the kid’s just the only “nice” person he’s met so far in Gotham. But since Gordon is of course incapable of catching a break, the Mayor blames him for LoveCraft’s death and reassigns him to the newly reopened Arkham Asylum.
— Though usually portrayed as a man, Copperhead was depicted as a woman in last year’s Batman: Arkham Origins video game, giving precedent to Gotham‘s incarnation of the character.
— Though Bruce and Selina’s relationship has won me over to them, the idea of lil’ Poison Ivy is still pushing things. Still, Selina’s right in her assessment of the redhead: with that crazed twitch and her nutso delivery, she really is scary.
— If Diaz is only killing people on her contract (the reason she gives for sparing Bruce), why does she slaughter his gardener?
— Bullock: “You’re pretty handy for a valet.” Alfred: “Butler, mate. I’m a butler.”
In January: Gotham returns in 2015, and longtime Batman ally Leslie Thompkins is introduced as a doctor at Arkham (played by Firefly‘s Morena Baccarin) — just in time for a riot at the asylum. Cobblepot begins referring to himself as “THE Penguin.” And… is that a Riddler-green question mark lighting the skyline?!
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).