Gotham: Season 1 Episode 3 "The Balloonman" (REVIEW)

written by Omar Castillon (@omar_castillon)

Let’s draw out a scenario. The first thing you see in a news headline is a unique incident involving weather balloons. At first you giggle just at the thought of weather balloons because to be honest, that sounds like it is a comedic misfortune. You read onward on the news article and it says that people were being attached to the weather balloons on purpose and then you start to wonder why? Why would someone do this? Is it because they are crazy? (The answer is yes)

That was the main point in the third episode of Gotham this week. Some crazy guy is hooking up a corrupt politician, a police officer, a priest and insert final victim here. But before I dive into this topic, let’s recap on how last week teased the inevitable reveal of Selina telling Gordon about the guy that killed Bruce Wayne’s parents. By this episode, we get to see a “fun” little bit between the two characters and Gordon having to realize that Selina or Cat is quite the conniving manipulator. It was a nice touch to see Cat get handcuffed and then seconds later break free from a pen Harvey Bullock had on his desk. We were also treated to a scene afterwards with Gordon in the sewers…great… For a second though, I did kind of wanted to see a reference to Killer Croc, but even I know that’s a little too soon to reveal.

There was also a cool little quip with Bruce and Alfred getting along so to speak as they duel with canes. (Bob Kane reference I guess) What worked in the Bruce/Alfred segments were the hints to vigilantism that really hit the nail on the head in terms of Bruce wanting to do more to help the city. While we are at it with the interesting reveals, Barbara sure does have quite the secret (I guess) in terms of how she and Detective Montoya used to live together and even smoke a doobie or snort some drugs in their youth. There was even a hint of a relationship that Montoya wanted but couldn’t have since Barbara refused her advancements. It was a minor thing that stood out, but that was about as close as it was with the interesting department.
Back to the weekly crime incident at hand, the balloon vigilante! Yeah, this was sort of a lackluster topic compared to the crazy dark crime story from last week. It’s fine that the whole idea of someone using weather balloons to murder them is different, but the concept as a bit too silly for the tone the show is trying to present. Don’t get me wrong; once it is revealed who is behind it and the reason why he was doing this crazy crime, it makes the idea of vigilantism a bit maddening. Arkham is yet again hinted at being opened by the corrupt forces of Gotham to house the recent crazies that have been coming up throughout the city. I am actually looking forward to this plot point being achieved, but I know that is too far ahead in the season to be revealed.

The best part though is Oswald Cobblepot coming back to Gotham City and staying low just so he can get a feel for his enemies. The devious nature that Cobblepot presents to the universe is such a great touch in a lackluster episode so far in the season. I just want Cobblepot to eliminate Fish Mooney and take over as a crime boss. Again, that will take a little bit more time for that to happen, but when it does, it’s going to be the coolest achievement the world of Gotham will have to offer. 

To recap, weather balloon vigilante nonsense, Cobblepot undercover, Barbara was smoking a doobie and Bruce thinking about being a vigilante that didn’t kill its victims. Stay for future plot points, but be weary of the less than stellar episode. Weather Balloon deaths do look quite disgusting though, but it’s just silly when that’s your enemy for the week. Hopefully next week’s episode moves the major storylines a bit further. Fingers crossed.