“THERE’S NOTHING MORE DANGEROUS THAN AN HONEST MAN.”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
That’s more like it Gotham! After weeks of interesting villainous acts supported by lackluster police cases, Gotham gave us our first, proper serialized episode. There was no case of the week or random villain for Gordon to contend with. What we got instead was a pure fight for survival from Gordon, as Mooney and Falcone sent their goons after him. And not too surprisingly, it proved to be Gotham’s best episode so far.
The villains have been the strongest part of the show so far, and “Penguin’s Umbrella” had them firing on all cylinders. It was great to see Maroni, Falcone, Mooney, and Cobblepot all interacting with each other at the same time. The relationships between all four are incredibly complicated, with plenty of manipulation and ulterior motives in play. By far the most interesting twist to come out of their interactions was the end of episode revelation that Cobblepot has been working for Falcone since the pilot. It’s a nice way to escalate things as I felt that Cobblepot’s rise through Maroni’s organization was a little too quick. At least this way he is back out in the open and free to cause a bit more havoc for Mooney and Maroni.
Gordon’s fight for survival was pretty fun, introducing of another noteworthy Batman villain in the form of Victor Zsasz. Zsasz was working as a henchman for Maroni here, tasked with taking Gordon out. His short time on screen proved that he is quite a capable villain, and his method for keeping count of his kills was effectively creepy. His fight with Gordon highlighted the fact that the GCPD isn’t ready to stand up to crime yet, although several of the officers’ hesitation to leave the room showed that there could be a change coming. Gordon ended up getting pretty badly wounded, and this ended up showing us that he does have some allies in his fight. Montoya and Allen stepped up to the plate and saved Gordon, while Wayne Manor provided safe refuge for a short time. Bullock was the one who stood out in the biggest way as he teamed up with Gordon on what looked like be a suicide mission. We saw a different side of Bullock in last week’s episode which led perfectly into him trying to be a good cop again here.
The eventual outcome of Gordon’s mission didn’t really change a lot of things. All four of our top villains are still in power, although Falcone and Cobblepot are playing a different game than the others. It was a little disappointing to see Barbara used as a cliché damsel in distress to get Gordon to back down. She made the stupid decision to completely go against his advice and return to town, leading to her capture and Gordon’s failure. It is incredibly likely that Gordon wouldn’t have survived if he had arrested Falcone though, even if Cobblepot did plead Falcone to spare him. I’m not exactly sure what Cobblepot’s fixation on Gordon is. Whether he’s yearning for some twisted form of friendship or he sees Gordon as a useful pawn in his game, I’m looking forward to finding out.
Gotham took a big step towards becoming the kind of show a lot of us want to see each week. “Penguin’s Umbrella” was by far the strongest episode of the season, and it’s not a coincidence that it was also the most heavily serialized. I’m not expecting the “case of the week” format to be abandoned anytime soon, but if they can strike up the same kind of balance Person of Interest has managed, we could be in for a treat. The villains stole the show once again, but the police side of things is really starting to look a lot better now that Gordon has some allies in his corner. There’s plenty of work to do, but Gotham is on track in more ways than one.
Would you like to see ‘Gotham’ abandon its procedural roots completely, or is the “case of the week” format too important to ditch? Let us know your opinion on this and the episode as a whole in the comments below.
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