13 “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon” (Gotham season 1 review) [SPOILERS]


So with Gotham‘s return — to being a good show, not its disappointing post-Christmas return to broadcast — and the ending of American Horror Story: Freak Show, Gotham is probably my favoruite TV series of the moment. It’s a close thing though — the field is very strong, and Gotham has shown a remarkable tendency for troughs as well as peaks.

But we’re being positive. Gotham has already been renewed for a second season, which is more than Constantine can say, so it’s clearly doing something right.

The last episode ended in a classic Gotham cliffhanger, so let’s see what it’s got for us next.

The newly reinstated Jim Gordon investigates the death of a small time drug dealer, which — after the death of a witness inside the GPD — leads to a cop as the killer. An angle of investigation which really makes him popular with his colleagues. Meanwhile the Penguin reigns supreme in Fish Mooney’s old kingdom, but the Queen isn’t quite dead yet.

First thing’s first: the last episode ended with Gordon receiving the news of a shootout at Fish Mooney’s. I took that as meaning something after the Penguin and Fish’s confrontation. Apparently not: I figure it was actually Falcone disposing of Fish’s people. Which I’m taking as a dick move, Gotham.

The story itself, though, is pretty good. Pitting the newly-reinstated Gordon immediately against his colleagues, back on the anti-corruption track which he was on before he was sent to Arkham, is a good move. The fact that he has learnt absolutely nothing and goes about it like a complete moron, is all the more perplexing.

Seriously. This guy becomes commissioner, eventually. And here he is, splashing around, making a noise, without an ounce of subtlety. I’m starting to wonder if the disintegration of Gotham is down to him.

He gets there eventually, of course, but in order to do so he has to cross to the dark side. He calls in a favour from the triumphant Penguin, whose guys torture out the identity and proof of the killer. Gordon wins, and the Captain herself cuffs the arrogant Detective Flass in GCPD. Only, what was the price?

The cop whose wife was tortured by Penguin’s thugs frantically begs our hero not to involve his family, as Gordon backs away in horror at what he’s become.

The Penguin, though, has his own problems. Fish Mooney breaks out of Falcone’s custody, and comes after him. The waddling would-be-crime boss only escapes thanks to the timely arrival of Victor Zsasz. Mooney escapes, and is helped to the docks by Detective Harvey Bullock himself.

This episode wasn’t as strong as last week, but there was an undercurrent of moral ambiguity, a power of story to it. Beyond simple connect the dots, were starting to see the corruption that is Gotham taking hold of Gordon himself. Faced with a mountain of difficult, he chooses the easy way. Just like the people he despises.

Gordon wins the day, uniting the GCPD behind him. But when Flass tells him to lecture him when he’s been in Gotham a while, it hits home that Gordon is already changing to fit the city, not the other way around.

Closing thoughts:

  • Flass’ bullying of Ed Nygma — stealing the note he sends to Miss Kringle and mocking him with other cops — gives us another reason to punch the air when he gets his comeupence.
  • Mooney will be back. Soon.
  • Another episode of Bruce Wayne doing basically nothing. His scenes this episode were essentially just to get the writers out of the noose of canon they’d twisted for themselves with the Bruce/Cat relationship.
  • I do like Victor Zsasz though, with his little entourage of bondage girls.
  • The scene of Oswald Cobblepot getting drunk with his own sucess is brilliant. Everything I love about the character. Funny, pathetic, with an undertone of creepy. Robin Lord Taylor is an excellent actor.

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