Gotham Hits a Low Point in "Arkham"

Mike Hoffman

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Gotham Hits a Low Point in "Arkham"

?Arkham? is everything wrong with Gotham. Which is a shame, because there are some great moments in this show.

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Kameburger

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Actually ironically, and this is the one thing that bothers me through out this whole show, is the character of Barbara Kean. She's the worst. I think they want her to be a bit of everything somehow, and I will stop watching the show if she's suddenly some kind of ex-assassin. She's pretty and she doesn't seem like a bad actress, but this role feels awful for her, and she's one of the only members in the show who can't overcome the terrible dialogue. The bi-sexual thing with her and Montoya feels way to coincidental and irrelevant and only seems to kind of serve some kind of need for some kind of progressive cred.

It makes me really feel bad for ripping on her this hard, but in a way, I feel like she's everything wrong with the show, while simultaneously having none of the qualities that are saving it.
 

Silvanus

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Watched it today; was indeed a weak episode. Fish Mooney is one of the stronger characters in general, but the try-outs in this episode felt rather awkward and contrived. Also, four episodes in, and Edward Nygma's role in each one seems to be exactly the same; he offers one piece of information, seems a little socially awkward, and leaves after less than ten seconds of screen-time. Give him something to do!

Still love Penguin. Still love Bullock. Still enjoy the show.


Kameburger said:
The bi-sexual thing with her and Montoya feels way to coincidental and irrelevant and only seems to kind of serve some kind of need for some kind of progressive cred.
This is suggested almost every time a non-straight character is included in any piece of media.
 

Kameburger

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Silvanus said:
Kameburger said:
The bi-sexual thing with her and Montoya feels way to coincidental and irrelevant and only seems to kind of serve some kind of need for some kind of progressive cred.
This is suggested almost every time a non-straight character is included in any piece of media.
That may be, but that's how it felt. You know which show I liked that I felt did gay relationships well, Queer as folk. Because being gay was part of their identity but it felt like they were characterized outside of it. I pointed this out because every line she has feels forced.

I'm just gonna throw the spoiler tags cause I feel a bit bad for spitting out scenes.
The whole scene where she breaks it to Gordon, is just a little to on the nose. Where he's like
Gordon: Whats the deal with you two anyway?
Barbara: We had a relationship that didn't last very long. Why? Are you mad because she's a woman?
Gordon: I'm mad because you lied to me!

This whole exchange just felt like they were checking off some kind of diversity box in their PC checklist.

To the actor who play Gordon's credit, he really sold the line, but for Barbara, are we really supposed to believe that as you are confronting your boyfriend of potentially having murdered someone, the first thing on your mind is that said boyfriend will be offended by the possibility that the source of this accusation might have had a relationship with a woman?

Yet this is how they treated it.

Again I'm not pointing it out because I care whether or not they make characters gay. I care because its just sloppy, and because they keep trying so hard to make it look like Barbara has depth, they might as well just have written depth in sharpie on her forehead.

But thank you for taking the time to send over that profoundly patronizing comment my way. It truly forwards the progressive dialogue in a way that's not at all didactic and self-serving. Ironically, I get what your saying when you bring that up and I'm sure it sounds remarkably similar to when racists talk about using characters of other races to play previously white characters. In that sense I really agree with what you said.

I could see a scenario where you had engaged me by saying, "hey I think you're wrong about that statement, because of reasons," and I would have responded probably by saying "Hey, you know what? You have a point. What I said was unclear and frankly worded that way was a bit offensive. Here's what I meant by that." Following this we could have a back and forth, and agree or disagree and ultimately walk away smarter for it.

But I look at your comment and I ask myself what are you trying to achieve with that statement?
The only purpose I could see in a statement is to diminish my point so much so to the point where you feel no need to mind yourself with it.

You know I'm fine with the idea that you don't need to give anyone the benefit of hearing them out before dismissing them completely, as that is your right. What I do truly resent is that you have in one simple dismissive aside, spelled out why we as a society have difficulties discussing serious issues like adults.
 

O maestre

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Man I really dislike and can't make sense of Barbara Kean's character and especially her relationship to Gordon, and feel really sorry for the actress, because the script has her doing absolutely nothing.

Her relationship to Gordon doesn't make much sense to me, she is presumably some wealthy heiress with a drug habit, who happened to falls in love with a rookie flatfoot. I am sure there will be some depiction of how they met later, but as it stands the circumstances of the relationship actually harms Gordon's character. Not just because of the lack of chemistry between them, but also because how different they are to the rest of Gotham and it's people.

The narrative juxtaposition of Gordon whining to his rich fiancé about how corrupt the city is, while loafing around in a luxury flat is just jarring, especially because it is never addressed.
I know that while I may be projecting too much of my own preconceived ideas of the character, I would have preferred if Gordon and Barbara were normal people trying to live off the same wage as the rest of the police force.
It would add a degree of humanity and sympathy due to him struggling against the temptation of being corrupt. We would see his willpower to stay true to his ideals despite of having the choice of taking the easy road.

To me a character without any kind of struggle is not only unreal, but also boring and serves to make Gordon be bland and unmotivated.
 

gorfias

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Who the hell is this show for? What tone does it want?

A friend strongly suggested I watch "The Shield". I did and in the first episode I saw, someone gets necklaced! I'm thinking if this kind of brutality is your hook, count me out. Give me the fantastic. That's why I love super heroes, Batman included.

So, Gotham? Closest to the fantastic they've gotten is the Balloon Man. Arkham? A guy is so badly hurt he can't climb out of a barrel. He is doused with gasoline and torture murdered as he begs for his life and is set on fire.

Violence has its place (Breaking Bad, The Sopranos) in otherwise strong stories. Those shows are for adults.

This show should be for cross generational fans. Who the hell was that exploding eyeball for? The torture murders? The blood letting fight between girls?
 

chikusho

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Also, what the hell is up with that stupid spike weapon?
You know, with a regular knife you can just stab a guy. You don't need to awkwardly fiddle around with screwing together some contraption just to get into murder-mode.
Equally jarring, anyone else find it weird that a pro assassin in one of the most dangerous and corrupt cities on earth doesn't have a gun?

I kind of liked the Balloonman thing, because he clearly an old, physically weak guy who wants to surprise his victims with something completely unexpected. Also, as a method of killing, it's pretty fantastic. I just wish they would've leaned more heavily into something intentionally symbolic (You think you're above the rest of us in this city. Well, let's see how far up you can go before you come crashing down, etc). Also, even Balloonman had a gun. :/
 

gorfias

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chikusho said:
Also, what the hell is up with that stupid spike weapon?
You know, with a regular knife you can just stab a guy. You don't need to awkwardly fiddle around with screwing together some contraption just to get into murder-mode.
Equally jarring, anyone else find it weird that a pro assassin in one of the most dangerous and corrupt cities on earth doesn't have a gun?
And he actually does use it to stab someone, but it is just a big needle. The guy screams and runs away from the a pro-assassin. Sure, the killer catches up, but that it happens at all?

I think that was their big attempt this episode at the fantastical, and it failed miserably. This guy was no super villain in the making.

I kind of liked the Balloonman thing, because he clearly an old, physically weak guy who wants to surprise his victims with something completely unexpected. Also, as a method of killing, it's pretty fantastic. I just wish they would've leaned more heavily into something intentionally symbolic (You think you're above the rest of us in this city. Well, let's see how far up you can go before you come crashing down, etc). Also, even Balloonman had a gun. :/
I did not catch the "you think you're above the rest of us". Even if that were not the writer's attempt, nice analysis!

But failing at the fantastic this show appears to be TV rated torture porn thus far. A waste of a great comic book universe.
 

chikusho

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Gorfias said:
I kind of liked the Balloonman thing, because he clearly an old, physically weak guy who wants to surprise his victims with something completely unexpected. Also, as a method of killing, it's pretty fantastic. I just wish they would've leaned more heavily into something intentionally symbolic (You think you're above the rest of us in this city. Well, let's see how far up you can go before you come crashing down, etc). Also, even Balloonman had a gun. :/
I did not catch the "you think you're above the rest of us". Even if that were not the writer's attempt, nice analysis!
I know, I didn't catch any of it either. Like, the writers didn't think of it themselves, or a big chunk got lost in editing. It's missed potential brewing under the surface, is what I'm saying.

But failing at the fantastic this show appears to be TV rated torture porn thus far. A waste of a great comic book universe.
Yeah, you need a worthwhile context to make chock-value actually have effect, other than "eww, gross".
 

gorfias

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chikusho said:
I did not catch the "you think you're above the rest of us". Even if that were not the writer's attempt, nice analysis!
I know, I didn't catch any of it either. Like, the writers didn't think of it themselves, or a big chunk got lost in editing. It's missed potential brewing under the surface, is what I'm saying.
I'll be kind and write, maybe that was the writer's intent. But maybe it wasn't. The writer's intent is irrelevant. Your analysis fits. Agreed, if this was their intent, they could have exploited the theme much more.

And so far, even if this show should not be for cross generational appeal (though it should: it's about a comic book universe, dang it!), this is the sort of thing that separates a great if violent show like "The Wire" and mere torture porn.

I'm not sure how long I'll keep subjecting myself to it.
 

mmiki

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I didn't think it was that bad after I watched it, but when I think about it, the script was awful. I think I like it too much for the things that it does well that I can overlook the things it does poorly.

Barbara's character is probably the weakest, mostly because she's only defined in relation to Gordon. What does she do? What are her motivations? What is her personality? Her relationship to other characters seem to be only related to him, and so far her only purpose is to answer the question 'what does the main character do when he's not at work?'

Apart from that I don't have many complaints. The violence seems almost cartoony which is why I don't really have a problem with it. I really like the atmosphere and the cast, and that's what has kept me watching thus far.
 

Silvanus

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Kameburger said:
Again I'm not pointing it out because I care whether or not they make characters gay. I care because its just sloppy, and because they keep trying so hard to make it look like Barbara has depth, they might as well just have written depth in sharpie on her forehead.

But thank you for taking the time to send over that profoundly patronizing comment my way. It truly forwards the progressive dialogue in a way that's not at all didactic and self-serving. Ironically, I get what your saying when you bring that up and I'm sure it sounds remarkably similar to when racists talk about using characters of other races to play previously white characters. In that sense I really agree with what you said.

I could see a scenario where you had engaged me by saying, "hey I think you're wrong about that statement, because of reasons," and I would have responded probably by saying "Hey, you know what? You have a point. What I said was unclear and frankly worded that way was a bit offensive. Here's what I meant by that." Following this we could have a back and forth, and agree or disagree and ultimately walk away smarter for it.

But I look at your comment and I ask myself what are you trying to achieve with that statement?
The only purpose I could see in a statement is to diminish my point so much so to the point where you feel no need to mind yourself with it.

You know I'm fine with the idea that you don't need to give anyone the benefit of hearing them out before dismissing them completely, as that is your right. What I do truly resent is that you have in one simple dismissive aside, spelled out why we as a society have difficulties discussing serious issues like adults.
In the first comment, it wasn't the poor writing, or the lack of depth, or Gordon's reaction you brought attention to. It was specifically the sexuality.
 

Kameburger

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Silvanus said:
Kameburger said:
Again I'm not pointing it out because I care whether or not they make characters gay. I care because its just sloppy, and because they keep trying so hard to make it look like Barbara has depth, they might as well just have written depth in sharpie on her forehead.

But thank you for taking the time to send over that profoundly patronizing comment my way. It truly forwards the progressive dialogue in a way that's not at all didactic and self-serving. Ironically, I get what your saying when you bring that up and I'm sure it sounds remarkably similar to when racists talk about using characters of other races to play previously white characters. In that sense I really agree with what you said.

I could see a scenario where you had engaged me by saying, "hey I think you're wrong about that statement, because of reasons," and I would have responded probably by saying "Hey, you know what? You have a point. What I said was unclear and frankly worded that way was a bit offensive. Here's what I meant by that." Following this we could have a back and forth, and agree or disagree and ultimately walk away smarter for it.

But I look at your comment and I ask myself what are you trying to achieve with that statement?
The only purpose I could see in a statement is to diminish my point so much so to the point where you feel no need to mind yourself with it.

You know I'm fine with the idea that you don't need to give anyone the benefit of hearing them out before dismissing them completely, as that is your right. What I do truly resent is that you have in one simple dismissive aside, spelled out why we as a society have difficulties discussing serious issues like adults.
In the first comment, it wasn't the poor writing, or the lack of depth, or Gordon's reaction you brought attention to. It was specifically the sexuality.
Cause that what the writing brought attention to.
 

Burnouts3s3

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You know, half the time, a lot of these crimes would be easily resolved with someone with a firearm and good aim. They shoot down the balloon, they can shoot the guy with the melee weapon.

The problems would be solved earlier.
 

Silvanus

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Kameburger said:
Cause that what the writing brought attention to.
Only insofar as the character's relationship happened to have relevance to the plot. There were no bells or whistles. The writing didn't "bring attention" to the sexuality; it merely mentioned a past relationship, of relevance to the story at hand, which happened to have been with a woman.

How would you prefer it be handled?
 

JMac85

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I'm just trying to figure out how the hell that assassin's spike thing is supposed to work. It screws together with two pieces, does one house the spike and the other the spring mechanism? Wouldn't that mean he'd have to take it apart again to reset it? Or is each half it's own spring-loaded spike so he can stab again on the fly by flipping it around, and it just comes in two parts to more easily fit in his pocket?

At any rate, yeah, it's goofy that a "consummate professional" would use such an inconvenient weapon. But it's proto-Batman, and Batman villains all have some kind of shtick. Maybe the writers watched some Arrow and lazily ripped off Bronze Tiger, who also uses a ridiculously specialized stabbing implement to carry out his professional murdering.
 

mmiki

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Silvanus said:
In the first comment, it wasn't the poor writing, or the lack of depth, or Gordon's reaction you brought attention to. It was specifically the sexuality.
So if he made it a third comment, then you wouldn't have reached the same conclusion? If that's the case then it sounds to me like the problem is on your end.

The point where they specifically brought attention to it ('Do you have a problem with it because she's a woman?'), is when I reached the conclusion she's a token LGBT character. Because it is really silly when you think about it. Her ex is coming around to their house and telling his significant other that he framed one dude and killed another. Swap the genders and sexualities any way you want, 'IS IT BECAUSE HE/SHE IS A MAN/WOMAN' does not make any sense, unless the only reason the writers put it in is to fill in a check box.

If they didn't want to make a statement or have a conversation about it, why bring it up at all? Why not treat it the same way as if she was heterosexual? If that was the case, she wouldn't say 'is it because he's a man?' The writers are making special exceptions because of her sexuality but then don't go on to address it in any way.

It's indicative of bad writing that the whole character is plagued with.
 

nekoali

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While filled with horrible writing and scenes, this episode did actually address my biggest problem with the series so far. Having to many plot lines going at once. So far they've been juggling the Wayne murders, Jim dealing with whatever criminal of the week is, Barbra, the MCU people breathing down his neck, Harvey and the corrupt police force. Then there's the upcoming gang way, Cobblepot's storline, They keep shoe horning Selina in. All these go by in rapid succession like they're checking off a list and never dwelling long enough to invest the watchers in each scene. Here though most everything ties in with the big gang war plot, so it feels a lot more cohesive.

Unfortunately they marred it with bad acting (the assassin and the singers were very bad performances in my opinion) and questionable plot lines. Is Jim going to be turning to 10 year old Bruce to help solve his crimes every week? He's not Batman yet folks. The reason I think that they keep going on about Barbra and Montoya's past relationship is to establish Montoya's bonafides as a gay character. The handling of it in this episode was bad though.. It seemed they wanted to touch on homophobia as being a thing, but they wouldn't have Jim being a bigot, so the whole scene just came off poorly. Besides that, Montoya shouldn't even be in this show at this time period. Cobblepot being in his 20s makes sense. But Montoya is a lot younger than Jim Gordon. She shouldn't even be a teenager at this time, let alone having the same job she had in the comics, before becoming the Question.

It's sad because there are some brilliant performances in this show that make me want to like it, but the writing is so weak it's painful to watch.
 

Kameburger

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Silvanus said:
Kameburger said:
Cause that what the writing brought attention to.
Only insofar as the character's relationship happened to have relevance to the plot. There were no bells or whistles. The writing didn't "bring attention" to the sexuality; it merely mentioned a past relationship, of relevance to the story at hand, which happened to have been with a woman.

How would you prefer it be handled?
That's not at all how it was brought up. I get the impression you didn't watch the same thing I did. The characters relationship has no relevance to the plot, it has not relevance to anything. If Montoya were a man it wouldn't magically make her a better character for me.

I would prefer they have more respect for the LGBT community than to just say hey we've fill our quota so now we can do as we please. The plot line in that show is pointless and the acting and terrible script make me not believe her in any case. Incidentally Montoya is the most throw away character on that show. So they made the two non straight characters on that show a cop that no one likes and a nagging house wife. This is not only lazy tokenism for the LGBT community but also a little sexist the more I think about if.

And if the acting """""""didn't""""" bring attention to the sexuality of the character than the horrible acting resulted in some really awkward lines that they just left in for no reason.
 

Kameburger

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mmiki said:
Silvanus said:
In the first comment, it wasn't the poor writing, or the lack of depth, or Gordon's reaction you brought attention to. It was specifically the sexuality.
So if he made it a third comment, then you wouldn't have reached the same conclusion? If that's the case then it sounds to me like the problem is on your end.

The point where they specifically brought attention to it ('Do you have a problem with it because she's a woman?'), is when I reached the conclusion she's a token LGBT character. Because it is really silly when you think about it. Her ex is coming around to their house and telling his significant other that he framed one dude and killed another. Swap the genders and sexualities any way you want, 'IS IT BECAUSE HE/SHE IS A MAN/WOMAN' does not make any sense, unless the only reason the writers put it in is to fill in a check box.

If they didn't want to make a statement or have a conversation about it, why bring it up at all? Why not treat it the same way as if she was heterosexual? If that was the case, she wouldn't say 'is it because he's a man?' The writers are making special exceptions because of her sexuality but then don't go on to address it in any way.

It's indicative of bad writing that the whole character is plagued with.
Couldn't agree more.