I’ve said before that this season doesn’t really feel like it has time to spare so it feels odd to take such a measured step back from the action, but that is exactly what ‘Nothing’s Shocking’ does. No plot, with the possible exception of Barbara’s, gets moved forward tonight. The episode is a nice Bullock addition and he’s really been missing his due for a few seasons now so it isn’t that the episode isn’t rewarding, it just feels like it should have been part of a different season.
Harvey must face the results of actions he and his first partner on the GCPD took long ago. Those actions result in the formation of a killer. Not just any killer though, this is Gotham after all. No, this killer who goes by Jane Doe can take on the face of anyone she touches. Jane Doe was created after Hugo Strange got ahold of her lifeless body from Arkham. She was in Gotham due to the actions of Harvey and his old partner (It’s a bit of a long story.) She comes seeking revenge and in a sense gets it as Harvey is left to reconcile his past. Not that this story isn’t interesting, but it just feels somewhat like it should have been a part of season 3 when ‘Captain’ Bullock needed a reminder of who he was. In this season, other than a nice way to get Harvey to say more than ‘It’s for Gotham, Jim’, it just feels out of place.
The subplots this week are a bit of the same. You can’t not catch up with what Ed and Oswald are up to. The two characters never disappoint, even if the plot around them is pretty thin. This week sees the reintroduction of Arthur Penn and his new friend Scarface. I’m not really sure why this happens though. Scarface in the comics is actually able to make things happen, but here is dispatched relatively easily. Other than showing us what happened to Penn, which was unnecessary because he could have been left for dead a few weeks ago, nothing really comes of this plot. But it was Ed and Oswald so it was still fun to watch.
Alfred and Bruce go on some nonsensical chase through the sewer to end up fighting…something. ‘Gotham’ right now is all about having characters that won’t survive the damage they’ve sustained. We saw it last week with Jerimiah, and we know he’s ultimately coming back. I’m not sure we didn’t see it again tonight with the man Alfred and Bruce were chasing. He was surely set up to be Killer Croc. But for now, he isn’t. He’s just some poor sap that didn’t die right away from exposure to Jerimiah’s chemical river. If he doesn’t end up being Killer Croc though, then the 15 minutes or so we spend on this plot is completely wasted time.
And Barbara, there can be no redemption for you. I’m sorry but you are a much more interesting character when you are beyond redemption. I am starting to get the feeling that she’s really not going to make it all the way to the end of the series though. Should that happen I hope the producers don’t waste the opportunity and they give her, finally, a moment to really shine.