- by Jeff Beck
Gotham: The Complete Third Season: An Intriguing Collection of Intertwining Storylines (Blu-ray)
Just three years ago, “Gotham” premiered to instant critical and popular acclaim with its unique take on the characters surrounding the Batman legacy. Season one was a great start, introducing us to the titular city (easily labeled as a character itself) and all of the intriguing inhabitants within. Season two was somehow even more impressive, as it weaved its multiple storylines together and kept the audience on the edge of their seat as they waited to see how it all unfolded. Now we come to season three, where the stakes are still high and new dangers swarm the already-perilous streets of Gotham. Could the show possibly keep up its high level of quality for a third year, or would the premise finally start to wear a little thin without a certain caped crusader at the forefront?
At the end of the previous season, we witnessed a plethora of creatures being unleashed upon Gotham from the laboratories of Indian Hill. A few months later, we find Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) working as a bounty hunter and doing his best to catch the escaped monsters. Meanwhile, The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) has offered him a $1 million bounty for Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), but it’s not long before a new case comes his way. Hypnotist Jervis Tetch (Benedict Samuel) enlists Jim’s help in finding his missing sister, but it’s soon uncovered that he’s quite insane. With everything else going on (a crimelord running for Mayor, the insane Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) getting released from Arkham, a gang causing chaos in the city, and a mysterious council secretly controlling everything), it’s nothing more than your typical troubled times in Gotham City.
As you can see, it’s quite impossible to put together a sufficiently brief summary of everything going on this season (and this is just most of the first half), but once again, that’s what makes “Gotham” such a fascinating show. The multitude of intertwining storylines and characters ensures that there’s always plenty going on, and if you get bored with one of the threads for some reason, there are plenty of others to keep you engrossed in the events of this continually-surprising drama.
For instance, say you’re not particularly into Jim Gordon hunting down Jervis Tetch (“The Mad Hatter”) and stopping a virus that causes people to go insane, there’s always another subplot around the corner, such as The Penguin running for Mayor and navigating his complex relationship with Edward Nygma, or Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) dealing with his mysterious doppelganger and the Court of Owls, who want to see him dead.
Pushing into the second half of the season, we even get the return of Jerome (Cameron Monaghan), who wreaks havoc for a couple of episodes as he attempts to get revenge. However, this part of the season is primarily taken up with the threat that looms over the city from the Court of Owls, who feel the city is beyond saving, and therefore must be cleansed. This is the main plotline that eventually has all of the stories coming together in spectacular fashion as the threat falls on everyone, forcing them all to do either what they can to stop it or simply survive.
A fair criticism of this season would be that it’s a little “all over the place” when it comes to its plotting. You may recall that, with season two, while there were a few storylines going on, you could basically simplify it down to the first half dealing with Theo Galavan and the second half dealing with Mr. Freeze and Indian Hill. In comparison, season three could be accused of splitting up its focus a little too much, and even throwing in some minor subplots that didn’t really need to be there (Selina’s mother, Poison Ivy, infected Barnes, etc.). That’s not even to mention an entire wasted episode that basically has Jim experiencing a bad acid trip as a result of a hallucinogenic drug.
However, while it does pack a lot into these latest 22 episodes, it still manages to juggle everything quite well. All of the important characters are given their due, and are appropriately fleshed-out further as the season progresses, making sure they remain just as intriguing to watch as their various storylines. On top of that, the ensemble continues to do an outstanding job, with particular credit going to Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue (Harvey Bullock), Cory Michael Smith, Robin Lord Taylor, David Mazouz, Sean Pertwee (Alfred), Cameron Monaghan, and Benedict Samuel.
“Gotham” once again proves itself to be one of the most exciting shows on TV. As I mentioned before, there’s no reason that this idea should have worked at all, and yet, the folks behind it have somehow managed to build up a captivating world with compelling characters that continues to impress year after year. It’ll be quite something to see if it’s able to continue juggling this large cast of characters for the new season, while surely adding in several more. However, if they’re able to maintain the incredible level of control that they have throughout these first three seasons, then undoubtedly we can look forward to another grand success.
“Gotham: The Complete Third Season” comes to Blu-ray in a 1.78:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of outstanding quality. As usual, the show is rather dark in its lighting and production design, but all 22 episodes are beautifully sharp and clear throughout. Likewise, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is equally impressive, giving you all of the dialogue, score, and sound effects in excellent quality. Overall, the show continues to receive outstanding treatment, which is sure to please its many fans.
The Dark within the Dark: The Court of Owls (12 Minutes): A featurette that takes a look at one of Gotham’s latest threats: The mysterious Court of Owls.
Madness Rising: The New Villains of Gotham (10 Minutes): A featurette that delves into the new baddies of Gotham, including The Mad Hatter and The Court of Owls.
Ben McKenzie Directorial Debut (2 Minutes): A very brief behind the scenes look at Ben McKenzie directing his first episode.
Gotham: 2016 Comic-Con Panel (28 Minutes): An excellent Q&A from last year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
Deleted Scenes: A collection of deleted sequences spread across all four discs.
With its incredible multitude of twisty, intertwining storylines, intriguing characters, and excellent ensemble, “Gotham: The Complete Third Season” continues to prove why this is one of the most compelling shows on television. There’s an awful lot here for one program to juggle, but it’s done with exceptional skill, leaving us with much anticipation for what is sure to be an equally-stunning fourth season.
Available on Blu-ray and DVD starting tomorrow.
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