Gotham: “The Balloonman” Review

Gotham Season 01 Episode 03

A spate of bizarre murders hits Gotham as the unusual Balloonman takes aim at its corrupt citizens.


Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!

After last week’s “Selina Kyle” addressed some of the issues I had with the pilot episode, it was a little disheartening to see Gotham almost immediately fall back on its reliable Batman crutch. It’s a tough balancing act for the writers. The need for the show to stand on its own has to be counterbalanced by the need to draw in as many Batman fans as possible. There isn’t much in common between the two shows, but I feel Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had a similar problem early in its run, with references to the events of The Avengers outnumbering moments of character growth. Gotham isn’t a bad show by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m already a little worried that it won’t ever be able to become the show we all wish it was.

The villain of the week, The Balloonman, had a pretty ridiculous modus operandi, but that’s perfectly fine as it was absurdly entertaining. His vigilante quest to go after the corrupt people of Gotham did seem a little easy though considering everybody in the whole damn city seems to be corrupt. We know Batman will eventually swoop in to try and clean up Gotham, but from what we’ve seen of the city, Gotham needs somebody to protect it now. The criminals are bold as hell, with multiple crimes taking place on every street corner. The cops on the other hand don’t give a damn and seem to have no problem picking and choosing which cases they actually want to investigate. While Bruce Wayne has had the seeds of vigilantism planted in his head, he’s still a long way away from becoming the hero the city needs. What would be interesting though is if The Balloonman’s acts inspire some other vigilantes to take up the cause.



It may have been heavy handed in its approach, but the show sure did let us know that others would rise up in The Balloonman’s place. Now on the surface this appears to be another shoutout to Batman, but I’m really hoping there will be plenty of other heroes paving the way for The Dark Knight. So far on the show, there hasn’t really been anybody on the right side of the law to root for. Bullock is entertaining to watch but he’s also crooked as hell, leaving Gordon to be our righteous hero. The only thing is though, Gordon hasn’t been that interesting to follow yet. I was hoping for a proper undercover investigation into the Wayne’s deaths after he “shot” Cobblepot, but he hasn’t made the most of his new “street cred” so far.

Speaking of Cobblepot, he still remains the most entertaining character to watch on the show. His homecoming this week was followed by a trail of bodies as he got himself a new pair of shoes and even a new job. He’s now working in the kitchen of the crime boss Maroni’s (David Zayas, Dexter) club, and you can be sure that isn’t a coincidence. A power struggle seems to be brewing between Gotham’s various crime bosses, and after Falcone had Mooney’s lover beaten, she returned the favor this week by having his lover mugged and possibly killed. It’s a dangerous game that she’s playing, but every war has its casualties, and whatever the outcome is, you can be sure The Penguin will be waiting to take any opportunity he can to move up the ranks.




I don’t want to seem like I’m being too down on the show as I’m still enjoying it, but I can’t help feeling a little disappointed with how these first few episodes have turned out. There is plenty of time left for the show to improve upon its foundation and offer us a refreshing take on Gotham City life. But if these three episodes are any indication, Gotham will be limited by the typical network television constraints. This is one of those rare occasions where I’ll be actively hoping I’m wrong though, as there is still a lot of potential here to be taken advantage of.

Will more vigilantes rise up in the wake of The Balloonman’s acts, and if so, which characters would you like to see? Let us know in the comments below.


*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
About Michael Spring (159 Articles)
Michael Spring is a staff writer for If he's not playing Metal Gear or watching some excellent TV show, he's more than likely asleep. For some witty banter and the occasional rant about football, you can follow him @OldSnake24 on Twitter

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