TV Reviews

Gotham Season 4 Episode 1 A Dark Knight: Pax Penguina Review

If you would like to read my review of the last season, click here.

Synopsis: Gordon fears Jonathan Crane is still alive and back in Gotham, when The Scarecrow’s signature MO is used in a series of robberies. Meanwhile, Penguin’s “licensing” of crime in the city backfires during the grand opening of his new Iceberg Lounge. Also, in the aftermath of his encounter with Ra’s Al Ghul, Bruce begins his vigilante watch. (IMDB)

Writer: John Stephens

Director: Danny Cannon

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 42mins

So far so good. The problem with last season was that there was always way too much going on and too many characters to the point that it got in the way of telling a cohesive story. While it’s too early to tell this season, this episode was definitely a step in the right direction. There was still a lot going on, however, but it was more focused under the idea of Penguin’s licences. Crime has gone down drastically in Gotham ever since the Tetch incident from the Season 3 finale, or at least that’s what Penguin wanted us to think.

If one were to receive a licence, it would allow criminals to commit crimes with virtually no repercussions as those with them could not be arrested by the GCPD. Penguin would of course get a take from whatever crimes were committed with the licence. Committing crimes without a licence was frowned upon in Gotham as any perpetrators would be subject to his might. Because of their effectiveness, they were accepted universally within Gotham.

The licences made the lives of the GCPD easier but it still wasn’t good enough for Gordon. He believed they undermined the whole concept of the police department so he took it upon himself to arrest any criminals he saw, licenced or not. This did not go down well with the GCPD, including Bullock. Bullock knew that Gordon wouldn’t stand for it and so did Penguin for that matter, however, he decided not to fire Gordon since that was never going to happen.

Not all the criminals in Gotham would abide by the licensing system so a rogue gang of thieves attempted to rob a bank while unlicenced thus gaining the ire of Penguin and Victor Zsasz. Their secret weapon was the infamous Crane (Scarecrow) fear gas that they got from the younger, institutionalized Jonathan Crane (Charlie Tahan).

Gordon wasn’t the only one against the licences as Bruce, now well on his way to becoming the caped crusader, encountered one during his rounds. He used these to prepare for the inevitable arrival of ra’s al ghul. Little did he know, he was there lurking. Knowing that Gordon would be against it too, they devised a plan to find the master list of licences and connect them back to past, present, and future crimes. After causing enough friction within the GCPD. Bruce was alone but that was no problem for him and his new set of skills that were on full display.

Tabitha and Selina Kyle were working together which got the attention of Zsasz, primarily since they were unlicensed. Instead of being punished, they were offered the opportunity to work for Penguin which they both accepted. This led to the climax of the episode that took place at the opening of Penguin’s new club. Everybody was there, including the gang who tried to take out Penguin. Bruce and Selina ran into each other again but this incident was more of a means to expose Penguin for who he was, thanks to being sprayed by the fear gas, and to put the GCPD back in the spotlight after arresting the gang.

There is still a threat looming on the horizon as the episode ended with Crane becoming Scarecrow for the first time.

Overall, this was a good episode and a good start to the season, focusing on the licences subplot and how it affected the other characters. Bruce inched closer to his destiny and righteous Gordon was fun to watch. Hopefully it doesn’t last too long as some subplots tend to get repetitive and that the fear gas doesn’t become the new Tetch virus.

Score: 7.5/10

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