No, of course the producers haven’t lost their collective minds and introduced Junior Batman to the series (although I have seen at least one review that suggested that that should have been the case!). This is a vigilante with an unusual method of disposing of his victims – attaching them to weather balloons. And of course, as the cops finally realise, what goes up must come down. The search for the vigilante is used to show where the power in the police force lays, but also highlights the problem with this series – the detective work is taken seriously but they’re investigating something that is inherently ridiculous.
However, we certainly do seem to be getting some sort of Junior Batman in the way that Bruce is being portrayed. He’s reading police files, he’s sneaking up on people, he’s testing his own powers of endurance – you have to wonder how on earth they’re going to fill five to seven years of this before the Batman finally arrives if he’s progressed this far from the orphaned kid seen in the pilot.
The Balloonman isn’t the real villain in this, though – as was made clear when the casting of Harvey Dent was announced last week, this season is all about the creation of the Penguin, and Robin Lord Taylor once more gets a chance to show his psychopathic chops. Young Oswald is certainly cutting a swath through the Gotham underworld. Those around Gordon get some filling in as well – the relationship between Detective Montoya and his fiancée Barbara is clarified, and we see more sides to Alfred.
Verdict: There’s enough potential here to keep watching, but the inherent problems with the show (Gordon can’t do enough, or there’s no point in the Batman eventually arriving) aren’t yet being addressed. 7/10