Matt The Catania

Heaven Is Now Gotham


Since last we saw Gotham, it won an Emmy for Outstanding Special and Visual Effects in a Supporting Role! Presumably it’s returned earlier than usual because it needs a head start on all the hiatuses it’ll be taking. It’s also moved to Thursdays so we can get double-header of Batman-inspired shows once (Green) Arrow follows it this season. Gotham seems to be a very polarizing show despite it embracing comic book-iness while taking liberties with canon to the same degree as the CW’s DC shows. (If you dig Gotham, I highly recommend you checking out Preacher.) Weirdly Telltale’s Batman games get praised for doing its own altverse take on the Caped Crusader but this show is hated for the same principle? I’ve heard Zoo is even more bonkers, but my credulity has its limits. Irregardless, Gotham’s fourth season is off to a great start!

“Pax Penguina’s” wedding Rickroll with Mr. Zsasz was comedy gold! Oswald Cobblepot licensing crime is peak Penguin! (Studying Discworld’s Lord Vetinari the Social Justice Tyrant was a wise move.) You can tell it’s Gotham City because the nameless new Mayor & Police Commissioner eagerly agreed to his scheme. (I love that this Gotham City is a venal villain factory instead of Nolan’s insistence that it’s a regular city with Batman being responsible for all its supervillains.) He even told reporters he froze The Riddler until his terminal illness could be cured as if Nygma was the late lamented Nora Fries! Despite his lax security, Cobblepot is a way better kingpin than dull Carmine Falcone. Kingsmen has made weaponized umbrellas hip again, so how long until this series hooks him up? If I ever meet Robin Lord Taylor, I’ll probably end up calling him Lord Robin Taylor. (It puts his initials in alphabetical order!)

He’s off to see the wonderful Wizard of Oz?

Gotham remembered it introduced Scarecrow back in season one, which is more than I can say about Agents of Shield & Graviton. Jonathan Crane’s (possible relation to Frasier Crane) transformation into Scarecrow is bit like Bridgit Pike’s into Firefly. I don’t mind the Pike parallels since Bridgit is one of the show’s better innovations. It’s also a bit meta against the idea that the supervillain isn’t important when anybody can use their gimmick. This Scarecrow overcomes his crippling fears by becoming their avatar, so he’d be a striking counterpoint to Batman had Gotham bothered to establish Bruce as chiroptophobic. Crane definitely resembles Scarecrow albeit a hatless modern version. (Why do so many redesigns want his stuffin’ to get drenched during downpours?) Scarecrow lets the series tackle terrorism in the abstract without getting bogged down with religion or real world politics. I’m inordinately excited that he’ll be swinging a scythe this season.

Bruce Wayne is standing up against crime both in & out of costume. Hopefully Scarecrow can show Bruce that bats can be terrifying because his vigilante get-up is neither intimidating nor marketable. They better not have an edict about him wearing a real Batman suit until the series finale like Smallville! It’d be a dick move for Bruce to steal the Midnighter’s look for the rest of the show.

I didn’t hate Jim Gordon this episode? Instead of being corrupt, he was fighting police corruption. Let’s see how long this lasts. Of course he is overstepping his bounds as a homicide detective since Penguin isn’t issuing murder licenses (yet) & the maverick crooks led by Steve Buscemi’s brother aren’t murders. Of course Gordon contriving to humiliate Penguin isn’t going to be good for the city in the short term.

Tabitha Galavan being the Alfred Pennyworth to whip-wielding Selina Kyle is a good niche for her. Does Poison Ivy spitefully cutting The Iceberg Lounge’s lights foreshadow that she’ll finally do something pivotal this season? (Whatever happened to Oswald’s previous club, Oswald’s?) The cast is so huge they haven’t even gotten to unveiling Butch as Solomon Grundy or Stabby Babs as Gentlewoman Ghost yet!

While Gotham’s fourth season premiere was pretty swell, 3/4 of his blog’s title comes from the Heaven Is Now east coast premiere I attended on Saturday. Thanks for picking a title that makes it easy for hacks like me to write headlines, writer-director Audrey Lorea! This screening also staved off the latest Mondas Nibiru cataclysm!

Whereas Mother! (or is it supposed to be all lowercase?) is an art house film with a studio budget, Heaven Is Now is an art house film with an indie budget. That makes its psychedelic visuals & production values even more impressive! It’s not so much a movie that you explain so much as one you experience. This non-linear film is evocative of Mulholland Dr. (definitely short for Mulholland Doctor), particularly in its tumultuous central relationship between Mira (Jessica Cadden Osborne) & Penny (Tali Custer). Audrey Lorea also plays Claudia, who is reminiscent of Legion’s Shadow King.  It’s got love polygons spread across reality, a sci-fi universe, & the subconscious. I’ll need to see it again to make a flowchart. Hopefully this long-gestating labor of love gets wider distribution for you to witness it for yourself.

By the time I write the next blog, Inhumans & The Gifted will probably have aired. I’m not looking forward to either. Do I have to watch them?