The biggest suspension of disbelief required to make Gotham Knights work at all is the idea that Turner and his friends can, through their distributed skillset, do something that Batman could never do in their version of Gotham: bring the Court of Owls into the light. The Court has proven one of the most persistent thorns in Batman’s side (and vice versa) in the comics, and that’s no different here–but can a bunch of plucky high schoolers really do it? Spoilers follow for Gotham Knights, Season 1, Episode 7, “Bad to be Good.”
“Bad to be Good”
After a series of art heists in Gotham, Turner (Oscar Hayes) and the Knights turn their attention to a possible connection to the Court of Owls. Meanwhile, Duela (Olivia Rose Keegan) and Carrie (Navia Robinson) seek answers about The Talon from Eunice (guest star Veronica Cartwright), and Rebecca (guest star Lauren Stamile) turns to Harvey (Misha Collins) for help after fearing her life is in danger.
The young fugitives are beginning to step more easily into their new role as Gotham’s new vigilantes, much to Duela’s chagrin. What’s the fun in doing good if you don’t profit from it? The episode’s title is pretty literal, as this episode is very much about the thin, blurry line that exists between good and bad, especially with regard to the Knights themselves. Harvey’s story is… something else.
Just as with last week, the whole thing depends on the kids putting together some clues that no reasonable human would ever connect as they pursue their own exoneration. Someone in Gotham is not just stealing art throughout the city, but they’re making it look good in the process. The kids figure out that the stolen paintings were all owned by Alan Wayne at the time of his death, and that is, of course, almost a guarantee that the Owls are involved.
The kids split off into a few different groups. Harper goes to talk to her mobster ex-fling, and the two make amends after their last meeting. Duela kidnaps Eunice from the old folks’ home and presents the roped-up nonagenarian to Carrie so that they can try to interrogate her some more. The other kids pursue the art thief once they figure out where Alan Wayne’s last painting is hiding.
Carrie and Duela: Kidnappers
The scenes with Carrie and Duela are the best of the episode. Carrie is the most straight-laced of the kids (aside from that whole Robin thing), and Duela is the most chaotic, and both actors manage to imbue their characters with the right kind of energy. Carrie is aghast when she sees Eunice in the trunk of the school’s driver’s ed car, despite Duela puffing out her chest like a kid who just finished their best piece of macaroni art yet.
Both characters get lessons in the good-bad dichotomy; Carrie can’t help but play good cop, and she gets good information out of Eunice. Duela tries to be nice, only for Eunice to stab her through the hand with a piece of the music box they stole from her last time they met. But then Eunice becomes bargaining material.
When the other kids show up at the warehouse with the art, they discover the thief already there, and a well-thrown Batarang from Turner causes a bullet to ricochet into their leg. That’s when they discover that the art thief is also the investigator the Gotham City PD brought in to help figure out who the art thief is. The Owls are holding her family hostage, and stealing is the only option she has to try to protect them. The luck of having Eunice in captivity gives the kids a way to get the hostages back and save their own lives.
“B” Story just stands for Best Story now
The heist and standoff are the main story for the episode, but they’re kind of rote storylines that go exactly as you’d expect, and it’s the interplay between Carrie, Eunice, and Duela that make their scenes so much fun. Veronica Cartwright gives us a performance that seems to start from “what if Betty White was a monster instead of America’s late grandma,” mixing equal amounts of fluffy sweetness and menacing darkness. Navia Robinson is fun to watch as she reacts to the way the other two interact; despite being a goodie-two-shoes, she’s seen enough darkness to not be innocent any longer, but nothing can prepare you for a little old lady in her 90s stabbing a teenager through the hand with a ballerina statuette.
Bland Boring Harv
Meanwhile, there’s another side story between Harvey Dent and Rebecca March. Rebecca’s husband, who happens to be Harvey’s political opponent, is still comatose after being impaled by the Court of Owls’ Talon. The two are far more interested in their supposedly dead affair, though, and it’s not long before Harvey is between the sheets with Rebecca despite still being in control of his actions. They both just come across as dumb, horny kids while all the show’s kids are risking their lives to clear their names. Last week’s episode suggested we’d be meeting Big Bad Harv this week, but instead, we only meet Lonely Horny Harv, and he’s not a separate personality.