Gotham (FOX, Thursdays, 8/7C) opens its fourth season with some intriguing developments – crime is down in Gotham city and the Penguin is leveraging that in a unique way as he prepares to open his new club, the Iceberg Lounge.
In a dark alley, Bruce Wayne is stepping up his efforts to make the city even safer.
A Dark Knight: Pax Penguin opens with Bruce preventing a familiar looking alley robbery. As the thug goes down, he mutters, ‘But I have a license.’ Bruce checks his pocket and, sure enough, he does indeed have a license to commit crime.
In the shadows, R’as al Ghul (Alexander Siddig) looks on…
Elsewhere, a quartet of thugs is holding up a wedding reception when Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) appears and puts an end to their efforts. Even as he accepts the newlyweds’ gratitude, he’s deflecting it because another quartet has a license!
Meanwhile, Selina (Camren Bicondova) is testing her newly discovered skills with a whip on a gang in yet another alley – and Tabitha (Isabel Lucas) is not far behind.
As you might expect, the whole license thing has Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) more than a little ticked off – especially since indications are that Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) is behind them. And worse, word has come down from the commissioner that the licenses are to be honored.
But… Merton, the unlicensed quartet’s leader has a scary plan involving poor, terrified Jonathan Crane (Charlie Tahan)…
Written by John Stevens and directed by Danny Cannon, A Dark Knight: Pax Penguin is about as noir an episode as Gotham has ever had.
Even with the city’s crime rate at an historic low, it is still a place with weird angles and strange shadows – and adding licensed crime to the mix adds a new edge to the proceedings.
It’s an edge that allows for one of Corey Michael Smith’s scariest turns yet, as Edward ‘The Riddler’ Nygma – yet allows for an encounter between Bruce and Selina that has Alfred wondering why they couldn’t go to a movie like normal teenagers.
The episode once again makes Gordon the maverick whose attitude causes trouble within the GCPD. He and Donal Logue’s Harvey Bullock benefit with a couple of really great scenes.
There were times last season that I felt the show wavered, quality-wise, but overall, it was better than season two.
A Dark Knight: Pax Penguin is a solid beginning to season four, with Bruce moving more and more rapidly toward becoming the Caped Crusader.
Once again it’s good to visit Gotham.
Final Grade: A-