by Snow Drift
On this episode, directed by Dermott Downs and written by John Stephens, a mysterious killer nicknamed “Balloonman” (Dan Bakkedahl) is strapping Gotham’s corrupt public figures to weather balloons and sending them to the sky to die. Detectives James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) are on the case, but Bullock is no longer as safe from suspicion of being corrupt as he though.
I’m honestly a bit conflicted about this episode. On one hand, I found it a bit jarring that the method of the murders by the Balloonman clashed with the atmosphere of the rest of the series. However, when I thought about it, I realized that the murderer and his method worked to portray the state of desperation of the citizens of Gotham. A regular adult man, who had nothing remarkable to his name, decides to take it upon himself to save Gotham with his only talent: balloons. This episode showed that a citizen of Gotham had finally had enough. Nevertheless, I still would have liked it if the episode had handled the portrayal and direction of the murders to better match the dark and gritty atmosphere of the series.
Among the subplots, the one matching Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) and Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) is an interesting one, for it brings out to the forefront the romantic relationship between these two women and who they were before the start of the series. It also portrays the powerful force of doubt that prevails throughout the innocent of Gotham. Those that are not corrupt doubt the system, forcing them to live on the edge.
Meanwhile, Oswald Cobblepot’s (Robin Lord Taylor) indiscriminate murders throughout Gotham and his visible presence makes it a bit unbelievable that very few people know that he is still alive. I’m surprised that only one person has discovered him and that there hasn’t been any talk of the random murders in and around Gotham. However, I am still glad that his false murder is still a topic that connects Gordon, Montoya, Crispus Allen (Andrew Stewart-Jones), Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) and the rest of the criminal underworld to each other and further expands on their conflicts.
In addition, Alfred Pennyworth’s (Sean Pertwee) portrayal in this episode was, in my opinion, better than the last. His extreme discipline upon Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) worried me, yet in this episode he is shown trying to make Bruce happy in his own way, which is a bit more consistent with the essence of his comic book counterpart.
All the while, I do like how Bruce, even though he outwardly seems to be in the process of moving on from his parents’ murder by having a bit more fun, while still holding unto his anger and fear. He lashes out at times and seems to be taking every event that happens in Gotham personal.
McKenzie’s and Logue’s acting was more convincing than before, which may be based on the fact that they’re getting used to their characters or the script itself. The villains acting was relatively well, but it could have been better. The rest of the cast was consistent with the last two episodes, although I have to say that I love Pinkett Smith, for she portrays a character that feigns a relative goodness, yet makes it known to everyone around her that she is not one to mess with.
The episode in its entirety could have been better directed to portray the sense of terror from being forcefully lifted to the sky. However, I liked the elements that were implemented into the series and the fact that events that have happened in previous episodes are affecting the future.