‘Gotham’ Review: “The Blind Fortune Teller”
FOX’s Gotham detects its 16th installment in “The Blind Fortune Teller,” as Gordon investigates a murderous feud between circus performers and a certain jokester, while Fish Mooney attempts to negotiate her release, and Bruce brings accusations to the Wayne board members.
Last week’s Gotham installment, “The Scarecrow,” saw the GCPD racing to track down Dr. Gerald Crane and his son, while Penguin fretted reprisal from Maroni, and Bruce undertook a fearful hike, so how does the latest episode of FOX’s Bat-prequel drama shine a light on the city’s villainous beginnings?
Read on for your in-depth review of everything you need to know about Gotham episode 16, “The Blind Fortune Teller”!
We should get something out of the way: that was not our first introduction to the Joker, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. That was Cameron Monaghan putting on a minute’s worth of (an admittedly effective) Joker impression, divorced of any context from the rest of his performance, and all because Gotham’s producers wanted a selling point for tonight’s episode.
FOX desperately wants you to forget that Gotham is absolute garbage television, and whatever producer Bruno Heller promises in interviews about returning to the Jerome character, or beginning a “Joker saga” around it is entirely meaningless. This three-scene role was literally, and figuratively a Shameless ploy, and Gotham is now actively insulting your intelligence with its nonsense.
Funny thing of it is, the murder and resolution of “Jerome’s” mother takes up relatively little runtime of “The Blind Fortune Teller,” and mostly served as a backdrop to an otherwise-busy episode full of Gotham’s usual misfires. At its core, most of the procedural elements worked around seeing Gordon and Leslie through their first real fight, sorting out a few of their ideological differences after the circus feuds* spark Leslie’s interest in sharing Jim’s detective work.
*Whatever you make of a generational blood feud over a stolen horse, tonight’s hour also indeed served as our “prenatal origin story” for Dick Grayson, as Gordon inadvertently sets John Grayson and Mary Lloyd running for engagement rings the moment the murder is solved. The two manage to fall short of actually saying “Dick,” “Richard” or “Robin” in talk of future baby names, though Gotham handles the moment with about as much restraint as you’d expect.
Ben McKenzie and Morena Baccarin certainly seem to have gotten more comfortable with one another as well, though the limited chemistry doesn’t quite succeed in making these differences feel sad, but rather a necessary step toward an inevitable breakup. None of it really matters anyway, as the two find a way to work it out, and just in time for Barbara to walk in on them kissing, because of course.
Which … ugh, Barbara. Having apparently done nothing of note at her oppressive parents’ mansion, Barbara returns home drunk, after months, mind you, and is unfazed by street urchins taking residence in her apartment. She also immediately sets about trying on dresses to win Jim back, as Gotham’s writers seem content in her character definition as “woman who is or isn’t Jim’s girlfriend, and has no job or outside functions as human being.” Does anyone know where Jim Gordon has been living, if she honestly expected her ex-fiancee to still take residence in their apartment?
I remind you all, this is an actual show that people get paid to produce for television.
So, what else happened? Fish Mooney started a union amongst her organ-transplant prisoner camp, and their captors apparently decide to answer at least some of her demands, lest the prisoners voluntarily beat one another to death. Nevermind the fact that these captors have guns, and any number of the prisoners would instantly fold against the threat of grievous bodily harm, Fish Mooney needed a plot for the week. Also, Butch Gilzean is back at Penguin’s club, and hypnotized into obedience, or something. Apparently, Penguin hasn’t brought enough attendance to the club that Gotham has portrayed absent of attendance for 90% of its depiction thus far.
Once again. A show on television.
Likely the only redeeming aspect of “The Blind Fortune Teller” lay in Bruce’s side of the story, a sentence I never thought I’d type. The future Batman takes his concerns of shady activity to the Wayne board, effectively communicating that he plans to raise flags even higher up the food chain, and take command of the company one day. Though admittedly brief in its inclusion, Bruce’s declaration brings the promise of further movement to come, likely the most significant we’ve seen for Bruce all season, and David Mazouz admirably sells the steely resolve we’d expect Bruce Wayne to display in his prime.
So, that’s it. A minute-long Joker impression, with absolutely zero feasible plan to explore the thread any further than that, despite what producers claim. Also, Barbara’s back. Gotham is garbage.
AND ANOTHER THING…
- Other events worth noting tonight: Carol Kane sings, and Gordon looses a giant snake to instantly track down its murdered owner, apparently a thing giant snakes can be trusted to do.
- Go back and look at the patrons of Penguin’s club. We have what appears to be a ‘20s flapper, a ‘70s man, an ‘80s punk, and whatever else passes for generational ambiguity on this series.
- This episode needed 1000x more Bullock snark.
- Mark Margolis of Breaking Bad was here, in the titular role. He’s also Not-Joker’s pappy. He had a riddle, and no one told Edward Nygma about it.
- Jim Gordon finds a bloody axe miles from the crime scene, and deduces not only that Jerome was the killer (the axe in no way implicates him), but that the fortune teller must be his father. Detective work!
Well, did Gotham’s 16th episode “The Blind Fortune Teller” help set the stage any further for Batman’s beginning? How did the prequel drama fared in its first Joker tease? Don’t forget to check back next week for our review of Gotham’s latest installment, “Red Hood” on FOX!