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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

With Cobblepot and Nygma, Gotham is ready to break our hearts

Illustration for article titled With Cobblepot and Nygma, Gotham is ready to break our hearts
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Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • I will not make this whole post about Cobblepot and Nygma, I promise, but once again their dynamic is the highlight of this week’s episode. I’ve never been one for ‘shipping anything too hard, but the tortured, unspoken love affair between these two characters has me questioning my hard, heartless stance.
  • What’s nice is that Gotham isn’t shying away from making their emotional and romantic connection, in some ways, explicit. After a boring cold open, the episode moves right to Cobblepot trying to work up the courage to tell Nygma that he loves him. It’s not played for laughs, and Cobblepot has no ulterior motives. Instead, Cobblepot and Nygma are two bad guys who’ve found some strength in each other.
  • Before we get into the bad, there are two intertwined things that “Follow The White Rabbit” gets right: pacing and structure. More than any other episode this season, the cat-and-mouse game between Jervis Tetch and Jim Gordon moves along at a solid clip, and boasts a scene-to-scene structure that manages to build a decent amount of tension.
  • That said, the “hook” of the story is old news at this point. Tetch, like so many other villains before him, proclaims to want to show Gordon “who he really is.” Gotham has gone to that well one too many times. In fact, every time it’s gone to that well it’s come up dry, so why even bother anymore? Jim killing Galavan, and perhaps losing the woman closest to him in the aftermath, should have been the end of that story.
  • So is Mario Falcone an actual character now?
  • I love the touch of Nygma keeping Cobblepot’s life running smoothly, which includes reminding an assistant of a meeting and giving her a bomb to deliver. When Gotham embraces its lunacy, especially in small, subtle moments like this one, there’s signs of a show that’s distinct when compared to all the other superhero offerings crowding our DVRs. Alas, the moments never last. Perhaps that’s for the best though, because it keeps them special.
  • Speaking of which, Nygma is seriously on top of keeping Cobblepot’s two roles organized, as he hands him to different schedules: “This one covers your duties as Mayor, and this one as the Kingpin of the underworld.”
  • Valerie Vale is nowhere near enough of a three-dimensional character to make the episode’s climax compelling. To be fair, the show has never really been able to mix romance into the ongoing struggle of Jim Gordon. Hell, it’s barely able to mix the struggle of Jim Gordon, who this show is supposedly about, into everything else.
  • How is everyone feeling about Tetch as a villain? Personally I find him, or perhaps the performance, lacking any true personality or magnetism.
  • So, “Isabella” is an intriguing development, even if it means that the blooming, beautiful romance between Cobblepot and Nygma is about to morph into a messy love triangle.