With the recent news out that Gotham plans to introduce a Joker-related storyline before the end of this season, it seems like really enjoying Gotham is also going to mean accepting the huge winks and nudges that clearly want to let the viewer know that this is a Batman show without Batman in it. I have accepted this and have basically stopped going into this aspect, as it has become easier just to analyze Gotham based on what it aspires to be, rather than how it seems to want to get around not being a full-fledged serialization of the Caped Crusader. All that is to say that this week’s episode was fine with what it tried to do with Dr. Crane, who will factor into the future, or at least one Crane will, but the show is not going to apologize for being so obvious either.
My issue off the bat was the lack of follow-up on how “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon” ended. I am not referring to the stuff involving Fish Mooney (and boy, was that a way to end this episode), but the idea of Jim Gordon suddenly finding himself across his own moral line, given the favor he asked for from the Penguin. Capt. Essen attempted to bring some attention to that storyline, given the brief dialogue involving the rightful arrest of Flass, but in terms of seeing Gordon affected by what that act cost him, we get nothing. Instead, we see Gordon begin the episode by moping around at Barbara’s empty apartment, catching up with Cat in the process. She leads him to believe that she lied about knowing who killed the Wayne’s, which, in turn, leads to Bruce releasing Gordon of the promise he made.
This is where I again wonder where things are headed. The continued interest that Gotham has in Lil’ Bruce has paid off in the form of seeing some nice development of the characters, along with Alfred by default, but in this series about Jim Gordon, I am not sure what we really want to keep doing with a character with enough material that could be used for its own separate show. The complication of involving a young Catwoman keeps things shrouded in mystery as well, given where things will supposedly go in the future. Ideally, we do not continue on with Lil’ Bruce in the next season, hoping he goes off on his Bat-training, better allowing us to center in on the non-Batman people of Gotham, but I guess we will just have to wait and see.
Harvey Bullock actually gets to do a good amount of heavy lifting this week, as the case-of-the-week found him dealing with crimes committed against people, utilizing their greatest fears as a means to their ends. Really though, it seems like this show wanted to give the Bulls a break in the form of a love interest, which is where Maria Thayer’s Scottie Mullen factors in. As one of the members of a phobia support group and an eventual target of this week’s villain, Gerald Crane (Julian Sands), father to Jonathan (Charlie Tahan), Ms. Mullen has the sort of presence Bullock has been looking for, which allows him to make a move. Given that this storyline is not wrapped up, Crane got away after all, I am curious to see where things go with this arc.
We also get a lot of time with the show’s breakout character, Penguin. This week, while having one of those classic Mob Boss/Underling dinners, Maroni gets a call from Fish, explaining that Penguin is not who he says he is. This leads to an isolated set for the two characters to interact for a vast majority of the rest of the episode, followed by a scenario that was quite thrilling. In a series that has itself trapped in a certain position, given how it cannot technically kill a lot of characters off for obvious reasons, the writers are certainly having fun in the ways they can mess with Penguin. Being placed in a car crusher and actually have the car getting crushed surely made me wonder what Penguin could do to get out of this sticky situation in one non-flattened piece. The fact that he is able to do so certainly does not bug me, because I was so invested in the scene presented.
Edward Nygma gets a nice chunk of time this week as well, as we see his proclivities to go beyond the call of duty met with criticism. I am still not sure what the show really wants to do with this character, given the eventual downfall that will have him go completely towards the dark side, but if Gotham wants to basically make room for these little side-skits, I am at least happy to see some development in what his character is after, rather than just a quirky nobody hanging around on the show. Seeing things escalate, in a sense, between he and Ms. Kringle will seemingly lead to a positive result that will only move into tragedy sometime after, but again, it at least has purpose in the realm of this show.
Now for that ending. What the hell? I have been made aware that this week’s episode is part of a two-week event, but I am not sure what that really means beyond having one of the strangest cliffhangers possible. Fish Mooney and random pirate/assassin (?) guy charge at each other and then we head to credits. Sure, Fish was headed away from Gotham via a large container ship, but what is going on? Is this ship being taken over at random? Is Fish the target? Is it a strange sort of family reunion? I have no idea, but it certainly caught me off guard.
Once again we have an episode of Gotham that offers up some good scenes wrapped inside of an average-ish show. Getting good stuff with Bullock and Penguin is harmed by the lack of momentum in other interesting storylines to round out the episode. Instead, the show wants to favor goofy Nygma (Cory Michael Smith is certainly doing a good job with performance though), some wild new development with Fish, and continued reminders that this is the show existing in a universe where someday a man dressed as a bat will be the real hero to keep track of.
From Det. Jim Gordon’s Police Files:
- This week, Jim Gordon also went on a date and made out with his new girlfriend in front of everyone.
- I would watch a web series about Maroni taking various henchman to his cabin to “see a guy about a thing.”
- Crane was not presented as the most interesting of characters, which is why I didn’t really get into him much, but Lil’ Crane popping up and voicing concern made me chuckle a bit.
- When do we get a mashup video of all the times Penguin begs for his life?
- “I’m a hole.” – Oh Nygma.
- “For a big guy, I’m deceptively quick.” – That Maroni really does relish the opportunity to have fun with his prey.
- No Barbara this week, again!
- This week’s Classic Gordon Clip