“Welcome Back, Jim Gordon” feels like a shopping list episode. It’s as if the writer was given a bunch of plot developments that needed to happen and they went through the list, diligently ticking them off, efficiently including them, all well and good. They just didn’t come back from the supermarket with any extra spicy surprises of their own.
For example, Fish is being tortured. She’s freed by Butch, just in time. Handy. And he’s able to effect that rescue because he was conveniently really badly tied up in a van. It’s real lowest-common-denominator get-outs.
Also, the arc plot requires a Bruce/Cat rift this week. Okay. Fair enough. And it happens when Bruce gives her a snow globe and an invite to stay at the house. She gets all nary and says, “Nah, sorry. Oh and BTW – lied about seeing your parents’ killer.” No build-up. No tension. Just a chat and some sulky faces. It’s hardly on-your-seat drama.
The main plot – Gordon trying to nail bent cop Flass – is a decent enough slice of self-righteous cop fodder but in many ways it does feel like a backwards step to the first half of the season. It’s Gordon versus the system, again. Admittedly, this time Flass is under the wing of Commissioner Loed which means the stakes are elevated, but the dramatic structure – right down to Captain Essen initially warning Gordon to back off, then ultimately leading the charge to support him – has the whiff of familiarity.
The track that accompanies the Penguin montage is “Family” by Hanni El Khatib.
Despite the disappointingly stodgy plotting, enough requisite Gotham-esque moments remain to keep the episode interesting. Especially the final scene, as Gordon realises he may have gone too far in enlisting Penguin’s help. This is a development that’s bound to come back to bite him. The saddle straps are fraying on that very high horse of his.
There’s also Penguin’s bizarre decision to turn Fish Mooney’s night club into some kind of Weimar cabaret, mainly, it seems, to impress his mum. Their relationship is gloriously unhealthy.
Ed continues to be the highlight of any episode he appears in; he’s one of the characters who you love to watch on TV, but you’d be creeped out by if you met him in real life.
Bonus points for no Barbara. Minus points for no Doctor Thompkins. The jury’s still out on Cat, who’s actually becoming more “recently-out-of-drama-school” and less “street” with each episode. Ivy – who’s only in one brief scene (we loved Alfred's warning, “Steady master Bruce. It looks like she’s got the mange”) – is a lot more fun. More of her, please.
Fish’s finger-fluttering, back-dislocating, eye-bulging theatrics, meanwhile, reach Wagnerian proportions. Each of her fingernails seems possessed of independent life, and they all hate each other. It’s not acting as we know it, Jim, but it’s bizarrely hypnotic to watch.
Ed Nygma: “I’m surgically removing the onions from my take-out, so if you don’t mind…”
Arnold Flass appeared in Frank Miller’s Batman Year One (1987), where he was also a dirty cop in league with Commissioner Loeb.
Did anybody else expect Rob to suddenly burst into a song about his freeze ray?
Delaware’s warrant was signed by Judge Bambam, who we’ve yet to see but who has been mentioned before in “Penguin’s Umbrella”. Well, it’s difficult to forget a name like that. Maybe it’s a nickname? The noise his gavel makes?
The Pale Moonlight
It may be Mrs Kapelput and Gabe who are swaying in each other’s arms on the stage but Gordon’s the one – having made a deal with Penguin – who’s dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight.
Just A Thought
Penguins eat fish. This one will soon discover he has a bone stuck in his throat, though.
Gotham airs on Monday nights on Channel 5 in the UK, and on Fox in the US.
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