Review: Gotham: ‘Welcome Back, Jim Gordon’

Okay, I think we might finally be getting out of the first season slump.

I could be wrong- I was let down after Penguin’s Umbrella in the first half. At the same time, the last two weeks of this have actually been strong material for Gotham. If we can keep this up, I think this show may make it after all.

GothamTitle

For starters, we have the follow up on last week’s mob blow out. This plot, admittedly, showed a bit of deception on the part of the networks in their promotions. A lot was made in the ads and the start of the episode over the idea that Falcone was going to have Fish Mooney viciously tortured.

I actually give them credit for playing this lead-on as straight faced as they did. I was genuinely wondering if the show was about to cross a darker line for the first half of this episode. Of course, what they ease off on in torture they make up for in the return of the entertaining and disturbing Mr. Zsasz.

'Guest Director Eli Roth' Four words that every network censor secretly dreads

‘Guest Director Eli Roth’
Four words that every network censor secretly dreads

As it stands, the mob situation in Gotham has now been upended in a big way. Falcone’s still in power, Oswald is still climbing the ladder largely undeterred, and Fish is now an exile. The last part lends itself some potential for the future both in terms of what her next move will be as well as the fact she escapes Gotham thanks to Bullock’s help.

Whether or not he will be assisting her in the future is anyone’s guess at this point, but it was an interesting reveal to pull. Risky as well, considering how many others have fallen flat before this.

This is one of those shows that seems to be at its best when everyone's competing to out-crazy each other. For not being in it, Anthony Carrigan is playing to win.

This is one of those shows that seems to be at its best when everyone’s competing to out-crazy each other. For not being in it, Anthony Carrigan is playing to win.

Jumping off of Bullock, the situation with the GCPD has finally found direction this week by delving into the corruption within its own precinct. In probably one of the better subtle touches the show has done, it comes about this week care of a narcotics agent named Flass (probably best remembered as Gordon’s crooked-as-Hell partner in Miller’s Batman: Year One). There have been hints in the past, but largely it more amounted to police officers looking the other way while other people did the crime. This week marks the first of more direct indications that something is rotten in the city of Gotham. While Gordon wins out on this one, I won’t be surprised if we see in later weeks that more slip by him.

To that end, I’ll repeat what I said last week: Ben McKenzie seems to have finally found a good rhythm with Gordon. Here, he’s still the ‘good cop’, but he’s also starting to realize that’s not enough. Before he was fairly inflexible and it made him boring. Here, we see him testing how far he’s willing to push and bend for results, and it’s made him a lot more interesting as a result.

Fun fact: Around the time this moment happened, I was joking about the phrase 'Snitches get stitches.' Imagine my chagrin when the show one-upped me.

Fun fact: Around the time this moment happened, I was joking about the phrase ‘Snitches get stitches.’
Imagine my chagrin when the show one-upped me.

Finally, this week closed the book – at least for now – on the Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle storyline. I have to say, it wasn’t quite how I expected it to play out, but it fit the character profiles. Bruce’s continued attempts to keep in contact with Selina were endearing if a little weird, and I can’t say I’m unsympathetic to why she finally put a stop to it. I don’t imagine this is going to be the last we’ll hear of her involvement that night, but it’s at least an interesting stopper on the plot for now.

Besides which, this week also reminded why Sean Pertwee is shaping up to be a great take on Alfred in one scene. On finding Bruce distraught over Selina’s leaving, he takes on a decidedly ‘stiff upper lip’ level of toughness. Rather than backfiring, it actually does the job nicely and motivates Bruce into trying again. It’s that mix of oddly paternal but with the British edge to him that’s so far helped Pertwee make this Alfred his own take, and honestly, it’s one of the reasons I’m still on board with our repeated checking in on Bruce.

As conflicted as I feel towards remakes in general, I think I'll give this My Dinner With Andre update a chance.

As conflicted as I feel towards remakes in general, I think I’ll give this My Dinner With Andre update a chance.

So yeah, after being mixed at the start of this second half, I’m coming around a lot on this. Based on previews, the ramping up may continue at least for another week. In either case, I’m happy that this show seems to have found a good voice for itself now and I’m genuinely looking forward to next week’s episode.

Will see how well The Fearsome Dr. Crane does at maintaining that momentum.

Till then.

Pros:

-Good shift of expectations in the Fish storyline

-By delving into internal corruption, Gotham’s police are finally showing some depth and interest this week

Cons:

-While not too bad, the Nygma storyline feels pretty forgettable amid everything else this week

-I know it’s coming next week, but it felt odd that we had no word from Maroni on Oswald’s doublecross this week. Worried it was too much going on with everything else?

Rating: 3.5/5

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Guyinthe3rdrow

This is what happens when a man takes a degree in English and the excessive analytic skills therein and chooses to use them for... ...is this evil? I'm not sure. But there are monsters and potentially robots, so there's potential for evil. ...we'll get back to you on that.

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