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So, the cold open for last night's Gotham featured a character we'd never met before, high on a Plot Device drug, running screaming at the camera. This image pretty much encapsulates the show for me: it's loud, it's not subtle, and if I'm willing suspend a lot of disbelief, it's fun in a "did they really go there?" sort of way. The best scenes involve Jada Pinkett Smith and her mob boss character's machinations, sexual and otherwise. The worst ones... I dunno. There's a lot of violence that's mostly necessitated by the plot, and there are a lot of minor villains who serve as antagonists of the week. The show is exceedingly well cast, but the writing feels kind of flat and predictable: Antagonist is introduced, Gotham City Police react carefully and sensitively like a blunt instrument and beat lots of people up, Jim Gordon does some detecting where no one else will, villains plot, and confrontation, and then foreshadow-y, meta-plot scene and credits roll.

My other big problem with this show (and, to a slightly lesser extent, Arrow, which we're catching up with on Netflix) is that I have yet to see any reason why Gotham or Starling City is worth saving. Gotham, in particular, is a dingy, grimy, just plain awful place that doesn't seem to have any kind or altruistic citizens, just wall-to-wall gangsters, homeless druggies, and criminals, with a few rich people here and there to be offended by the very presence of the lower class. Even the trees in the final moments of last night's episode were dirty--it's a freaking park on a sunny day, and the trees were just patches of dingy green and darkness. Seriously, TV shows, what gives? I don't think it would be a stretch to have an episode centered around someone who's trying to do actual, genuine good in these cities, not as a vigilante, but as a social worker or community advocate (and Councilman Blood on Arrow doesn't count, since we have yet to see him actually doing anything in the very community he's meant to represent.) All cities have their issues with crime and poverty, but I have yet to travel to a city that doesn't have any good people in it, or a nicely landscaped park or museum with adequate lighting somewhere. Further, adding some nice people or places wouldn't diminish the grimdark tone the writers/production people are going for, it would make the dark seem darker by comparison. Come on, shows, surprise me! Make me want to visit Gotham or Starling City!

I'm definitely enjoying this season of Sleepy Hollow more, but last night's episode brought up a few problems: For starters, I really, really liked this ghost/monster of the week. The effects were great and creepy, and the inky black water that accompanied her presence was beautifully eerie. The backstory was a little Ringu at first, and then it became a lot more problematic as the ghost's true origin was revealed. I think the writers are trying to hedge on the big question of whether Katrina is turning evil or not (or evil from the get-go) and this story was a cheap and easy way to cast her moral character into doubt. (In a side note, I was disheartened that on Fox's Sleepy Hollow Twitter feed, a bunch of users immediately started ragging on Katrina's character as "useless," and even on the actress as "untalented and terrible." Jebus, people, you would really say that to her face, in public? I doubt it.) I certainly hope that Katrina turning (or being mind-controlled into turning) isn't the writers' endgame, and I hope this episode isn't meant to be a pivotal wedge between Abbie and Ichabod when it comes to trusting Katrina or not.

(Also, memo to Ichabod Crane: that woman risked exposure of her plans by enchanting a crow to get a message to you! That's love, dude.)

On the plus side, we did finally find out where Ichabod keeps getting his period clothing, but on the minus side, this sweet character died as quickly as she appeared. I do think that Tim Mison sold Ichabod's grief and embarrassment very well--it was not forced at all, and I bought this character as someone Ichabod had known for a while and cared about. The scene with Henry at the end was chilling and very well played (John Noble gets all the awards, as far as I'm concerned.) Also on the minus side, no Irving and only one Jenny scene. What is Irving up to? I think a sequence with him in group therapy would be both funny and sad, and would help build up his character, particularly the "sane man telling the truth and being mistaken for crazy" motif. "Well, doc, I've apparently sold my soul to the devil and am involved in a potentially apocalyptic war between good and evil, but I don't know how yet." "... when you say devil, what do you mean?" etc. etc.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
ladybird97
Oct. 21st, 2014 03:40 pm (UTC)
HATED the backstory of the Weeping Lady. HATED IT. Hated the way it played on old tropes of female jealousy and female untrustworthiness. Hated the way that it made loving Ichabod into the only possible motivation for anyone's actions.

I admit that I find Katrina the least interesting character right now, and I often wonder whether the writers feel that way too - they intended the Ichabod/Katrina relationship as the central Eternal True Love of the series, but quickly realized that the other plots and relationships were more interesting and then weren't sure what to do with Katrina after that. But with all that being said, I do not like that they fell back on sexist tropes to introduce the possibility that she might be evil.

ahem. off soapbox now.

On another note - the actress who played Caroline also played Jane in Lizzie Bennet Diaries! This made me very happy to see her, and even sadder when Caroline died. But I loved the scenes between her and Ichabod - that friendship felt very real, and Ichabod's reaction to her death was very well-acted.

And outside of last night's episode, I've really been liking this season! Hawley's presence seems a little forced, but mostly it's great. Love the continuing Ichabod Vs. Modernity struggles, love the strength of the Ichabod-Abbie friendship, love every bit of scenery that John Noble has chewed off :) This is still an excellent show.

Edited at 2014-10-21 03:44 pm (UTC)
retsuko
Oct. 21st, 2014 04:30 pm (UTC)
Re:
Heh, sopaboxing is more than fine here! I do more than enough on a regular basis! ;)

You're right, I should clarify: I loved the LOOK of the ghost lady, but I didn't like the backstory, either. It could have been summarized as, "Chicks, man." I love urban legends as hooks (and the cold open with the teenagers making out, even though it was a little hackneyed, wasn't overdone), but it was too bad that all Mary amounted to was JEALOUS BITCH BE TRIPPIN. I keep wondering if Abbie will address this trope* head on, the way she did with Crane "allowing" Katrina to do her own thing. That's what I do if I were the writers, and I would do it straight up next week. >:p

And, in thinking about this more, that's where I get the Ring vibe: she's nothing more than an emotional stain on the place where she died. And that's a pretty sad fate for any female character who isn't Sadako and doesn't have a well to crawl out of. I guess Crazy Water Lady crosses cultures pretty easily as tropes go.

Oh, sweet, it's good to know that the actress has done other cool stuff! She's on Twitter, too, and seems very nice and chill (while casually teasing the writers about resurrecting her character.)

* I initially mistyped that as 'tripe'. :D
lady_of_mists
Oct. 21st, 2014 04:47 pm (UTC)
I think she's also Raj's new girlfriend on Big Bang... (the red-haired friend of Ichabod)? If so, I guess she decided which show she wanted to go with... ;)

I was a little perturbed by Mary being obsessed with Ichabod, but it was also interesting that Katrina was the immediate reason for her death as well. The letter sent to Ichabod from "Mary" was interesting too... just kind of wrapped up all of those colonial loose ends for him, didn't it? ;)

So Katrina is a shard now? And was John Noble crying at the end? I had a crying baby I was tending to (because S has managed to find a staph infection), so I didn't really see everything.

I liked Katrina a little better in this episode. And, to be honest, I was almost rooting for her to get with Death. They had some chemistry last night in the parts I saw! :headdesk:
retsuko
Oct. 21st, 2014 05:02 pm (UTC)
I wish I knew what Katrina's handwriting charm was! That's a nifty little bit of convenient magic.

Ichabod has a lot of colonial loose ends, but I do agree that this one was wrapped up so neatly that it didn't make an appearance until this very moment! A wild, jealous, old flame ghost appears! ;)

I still get the Phantom of the Opera vibe from Headless, but...

Poor S, staph is awful. Are you all OK? Hope he recovers ASAP!
lady_of_mists
Oct. 23rd, 2014 04:10 pm (UTC)
I need a handwriting charm. It would be great in the office.

And it did seem typical of a man to just breathe a sigh of relief that the obstacle (old girlfriend) had magically seen reason and gone home... lol

You have to remember that I'm not seeing all of the headless parts. The locked in a house thing's a little ridiculous to me. Lots of trust issues are going on there. ;) But I will say there was a moment that something he said was almost sweet, if you overlook the fact that he's keeping her prisoner in this house.

We are doing okay. S hasn't touched E since early Monday morning. He misses E, but I can't have the baby getting staph. He was looking better today and I think he went to work. I need to call him and work something out about E and the pickup time. I don't know if we need to risk it and let Daddy take care of E for a couple of hours (the infection's on his nose, not his hands; plus he's been on antibiotics for 72 hours by the time he'd be near E) or if I need to cancel my evening appointment and go get him myself.

Anyway, just more to think about.



retsuko
Oct. 23rd, 2014 04:52 pm (UTC)
I know, right? I'd be using that handwriting charm all the damn time for little, every day nefarious plans. ;)

Yeah, Abraham would be sweet and kind... were he not keeping her prisoner in an effort to convince her to enter into a ceremony where her head is chopped off of her own free will. D: SO CRAZY.

Augh, poor S! I hope it resolved soon! :(
ladybird97
Oct. 21st, 2014 04:49 pm (UTC)
haha, tripe :)

And, I should moderate too: I liked the way they staged the attacks, and while I didn't like the JEALOUS BITCH BE TRIPPIN trope, I did like the way they played with horror-movie tropes. I've never seen Ringu, but I'll take your word for it that they did that well. It was definitely spooky and well-done.
retsuko
Oct. 21st, 2014 05:08 pm (UTC)
Yeah, don't watch Ringu on your own, on your own TV, on a video. ;p The horror in it stems from two things: the idea that emotion (in particular, the emotion of a wronged girl) is powerful enough to cheat death, and that it's also powerful enough to affect random passers-by who have nothing to do with the death of the wronged party in any way. In this case, I liked the revelation that the deaths weren't random, but I don't like the idea that Mary existed solely to be jealous, and jealous from beyond the grave! (Spooooky noise effects go there.) She looked great--the lace, the ink, the water, and the evil plants at the bottom of the river--all of those were spooky and effective. Dang it, episode, so inconsistent!
anagramofbrat
Oct. 21st, 2014 09:12 pm (UTC)
I had mixed feelings about the episode too. while I'm glad that we finally FINALLY see Katrina working some magic in the current dimension and timeline I'm not really here for this storyline. I'll admit it, I don't really like the character as written, mostly because the writers don't seem to know what to do with her and even if I didn't ship Ichabbie super hard (or maybe I just want to gnaw on Tom Mison myself for a while) I'd have trouble buying Katrina/Crane as being a madly in love married couple. Maybe it's a sign of the time they're supposed to be from but their scenes together seem very stiff and awkward. I would also like to see more of her backstory - specifically what she is hiding and why. Right now she just seems like a convenient plot device and even the actress looks like "ALL RIGHT ALREADY GIVE ME SOMETHING TO DO."

I am intrigued by the New Guy? Raleigh? Is that his name? How did he get into the supernatural object black market?

John Noble continues to do the most. The chew marks in the scenery are becoming rather visible. I loved his delivery of "I relish the chance to cause my parents pain" line.

but yeah, not happy about the BITCHES BE CRAZY turn of events for the weeping lady, nope. I mean if you're gonna paint Katrina in an untrustworthy light at least find a less tired way to do it. Or go whole hog in the other direction and have her actually kill Mary instead of having her trip and fall to her death, sheesh.
retsuko
Oct. 23rd, 2014 04:50 pm (UTC)
I agree with you that the writers don't seem to know what to do with Katrina. I'd like to imagine that the scenes between her and Crane are stiff because the characters know that they could be torn apart at any moment, and are afraid to commit to their feelings because of this, but the show should address that in some way. I was so excited to see her doing something... only to find out that she hadn't really done much of anything after all. :p

Hawley's a good new character, and I like the idea of a supernatural objects black market. Hell, I'd just like to know how he publicizes what he does and who employs him! (Besides Henry, of course.) Wait a minute... a Constantine crossover would not go amiss here...
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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