On the latest “Gotham” recap, Jim Gordon’s crusade goes full tilt as he tries to arrest the mayor and Carmine Falcone while finding some unlikely allies along the way…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
A game changer.
In television terms it’s a twist or a plot or a story that helps define a show. Maybe it’s a big revelation that happens during the course of a season. Maybe it’s a particular story that’s so mind numbingly good that viewers dare not look away even for a second. Maybe it’s just that special hour where all the plot holes from previous episodes are spun together and filled.
“Gotham” finally had that kind of episode on Monday night with the newest offering titled “Penguin’s Umbrella”. Now I’m not willing to say “Gotham” is can’t miss just yet because the show has stumbled too much through the first two months of the season to say it’s must watch television. But if there’s an hour of TV worth watching this week, it’s this episode.
This is off the heels of another great hour showcased last week and for those counting at home that’s two weeks in a row of outstanding episodes — something “Gotham” has failed to achieve in it’s freshman season. This week the sins of the past come full circle as Jim Gordon’s war to clean up Gotham comes to a head as his own life is put on the line when he goes up against the mob and the police.
The full depth of Oswald Cobblepot’s deception is also revealed and this was a plot so devilish that even I didn’t see it coming. So let’s get into this week’s recap of “Gotham” but make sure to stick around to the end because you won’t want to miss the finish.
Gordon Versus the World
When Oswald Cobblepot revealed himself at the Gotham Police Department last week he did two things. First, he saved Gordon from living behind a jail cell after falsely being accused of Cobblepot’s murder. Second, he put Gordon from the frying pan into the fryer because part of the condition for his continued survival in Gotham was based on the fact that he had executed Cobblepot as a favor to Carmine Falcone.
Cobblepot’s good deed saves Gordon from the slammer, but the good detective knows it pretty much signed the contract that will soon be out for his life. Fish Mooney certainly isn’t happy that Gordon allowed her fine flippered friend to escape the executioner’s chamber so she sends her goons to retriever him and return Gordon to her unharmed — for now.
When Gordon flies home to check on Barbara, knowing that the mob’s forces would target her first, he sees his worst nightmares come true when he walks in and sees two of Fish Mooney’s thugs with Barbara as a hostage. The big difference this time is Jim’s got no one left in this world to trust except the woman he loves. Bullock already abandoned him back at the station and it was pretty clear by the reaction he received when Cobblepot miraculously appeared that he wasn’t going to get a lot of moral support from his fellow boys in blue. So instead of bartering or bantering much, Jim shoots one of the thugs and tells the other to get moving if he wants to stay alive.
With Barbara back in his arms, Jim immediately shuffles her off to safe location despite her greatest pleas to stay with him. Jim’s about to declare war on the police and the mob — and having Barbara around getting caught up as collateral damage is the last thing he wants.
Jim then heads over to the police station where he’s basically saying fuck it and starts writing up warrants to arrest the mayor and Carmine Falcone for the cover up in the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne. His captain implores him to slow down and just get out of town, but Jim’s been skating the line between righteous do gooder and button man for the mob for too long. It’s time to get some boy scout shit going! The mayor and Falcone have to know what they’re up against. He can’t be bought. He can’t be reasoned with. Gordon is a man looking for justice and even if it means staring down the barrel of a gun to arrive, he’s going to try his damnedest to get there.
While Gordon is busy trying to single handedly clean up the police department, Carmine Falcone has gathered all of his lieutenants for a meeting as he shops for some new chickens (I didn’t really get the significance of the chickens but maybe it’s just the way he relaxes during mob meetings?). Fish Mooney is insistent that they execute Gordon for lying that he killed Cobblepot and then eliminate her little Penguin for being a snitch.
Falcone has other ideas so he sends his assassin, Victor Zsasz after Gordon, with instructions to bring him back alive.
Fish thinks the old man is just getting softer and her partner in crime Nikolai is ready to strike and take control from his hands immediately. By the end of the episode both of them will likely be thinking much differently if thinking at all.
Send In Victor
One thing I have enjoyed thoroughly about “Gotham” thus far is the interweaving of new characters and old from the Batman universe of heroes and villains. The names we know so well — The Riddler, The Penguin, Catwoman — are all there in one form or another, but the series has also taken advantage of the myriad of newer faces from around the Batman canon that have appeared on the show. Major Crimes Unit detectives Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya have both been important characters this season and particularly in this episode as well as the psychotic hitman known as Victor Zsasz.
In the comics, Zsasz is a serial killer best known for murdering with knives, which happen to be his weapon of choice. While he does have affiliation with other super villain groups, he’s never a part of the mob, but recreating him just slightly for the small screen is a nice change for “Gotham”. When Zsasz and his dominatrix hit crew show up at the police station, the cops are well aware of who he is and who he’s affiliated with. He steps on desks, orders people around and in the end he only wants one thing — Jim Gordon.
When Gordon confronts the no eyebrow wearing villain he makes the mistake of challenging him to a duel because he’s got 50 cops on his side. When Victor says scram the same 50 cops flee for the doors leaving Jim with just himself, a sidearm and a lot of hope that he’ll even survive this day, much less make it out of this room alive. A firefight ensues and Gordon gets winged with a bullet in his side, but he’s able to make it outside. He evades Zsasz and his crew for a little while, but in his final dash to escape, he takes another shot to the leg and it seems his goose is cooked.
With the kind of perfect timing that can only happen in the movies and television, officers Allen and Montoya show up to save Gordon from the ambush. They fend off Zsasz and his hit women and they make a clean escape.
Snitches Get Snitches
When Gordon wakes up he’s at Gotham University where a doctor there removed his bullets and saved him from bleeding out. Hospitals aren’t safe, so this is the next best alternative. Allen and Montoya are officially on the team now but before Gordon can continue his war he has to make one more stop, which unfortunately is the only weak spot in the show this week.
He swings by Wayne manor to tell Bruce that his investigation into the murder of his parents may not come to an end because he might not be alive tomorrow, but rest assured his new friends Allen and Montoya will help solve the crime even if he’s not around. Bruce gives him a big hug before going and Jim is off on his crusade again.
While this is happening, Falcone meets with Salvatore Maroni to discuss the terms of what should happen to Oswald Cobblepot now that he’s very much alive and well. In the last few weeks since he reappeared in Gotham, Oswald has become a valuable No. 2 to Maroni so he’s not willing to just give him up without a fight. Before cooler heads prevail, Falcone takes out a gun shipment from Maroni costing him millions. Thanks to advice from Cobblepot, Maroni guns down a warehouse full of Falcone thugs and gets about a million dollars in swag for his troubles.
He also accomplishes two other very important goals during this task. First, he takes out Nikolai — the Russian mobster working with Fish to take out Falcone. Second, he finally has a heart to heart with Maroni’s other top soldier, Carbone, who doesn’t like that The Penguin is giving orders nowadays. Just when it looks like Carbone has the upperhand, Oswald lets him in on a little secret.
“What drives you? What’s your passion? When you know what a man loves, you know what can kill him.”
~ Oswald Cobblepot
What Carbone loves most is money and because he hordes it so well, it leaves very little leftover for his men. Oswald isn’t nearly as stingy and he’s paid off the thugs to turn on Carbone, who he then carves up like a Thanksgiving turkey.
These shared acts of aggression finally bring Falcone and Maroni together to make a peace offering. In the proceedings, Maroni offers to give up a piece of his Arkham real estate to Falcone. It’s a toxic waste dump of a piece of real estate, but it’s inside Arkham and that means money. Something tells me there’s more to this Indian Hills property than meets the eye. Cobblepot will stay alive and there will we no further retaliation. Everybody’s happy, for now.
One Man Army
Later that night back at his apartment, Gordon is suiting up Schwarzenegger style getting ready to go after Falcone on his own, but a knock on the door reveals that his former partner Bullock is having second thoughts. It seems with a death warrant already signed, Bullock is better off teaming up with a good guy that waiting on the bad ones to arrive and just kill him.
The next morning the dynamic duo arrest the mayor before invading Falcone’s home and placing him under arrest as well. Except there’s a problem — Barbara never left town and now she’s in the next room with a knife to her throat. Bullock’s not buying it. Gordon is and so he surrenders for the sake of saving his lady.
A moment later Barbara is revealed and released. Falcone has an interesting turn here as he says that Gordon believing that he had her under lock and key is the first step to trusting each other. He wants good men like Gordon on the job so he’s letting him and Bullock go, unharmed. They leave much to the chagrin of Victor and everybody else on Falcone’s staff.
Umbrella of Protection
Why was Gordon left alive? What does Falcone have planned for the good detective? It seems this was all a plot hatched weeks earlier when Oswald Cobblepot was supposed to be assassinated.
He arrives at Falcone’s house while he’s tending to the chickens and that’s when the entire twist is revealed. On the day hew as supposed to be killed, Oswald offered up some valuable information to Falcone in exchange for Gordon being given the order to kill him. He knew Gordon wouldn’t do it, but once he survived he knew he could worm his way into Maroni’s organization and act as Falcone’s inside man. Falcone agrees but wants to know what’s a valuable enough piece of information that could earn his life back.
Oswald reveals that Fish Mooney and Nikolai are plotting against him and about to stage a coop to take over his territory. In other words, Falcone has known all along that his underlings have been trying to kick him out so he’s been strategically setting them up to fail. Nikolai is now dead thanks to Oswald and Falcone has Fish against the ropes while also having an inside track on eliminating Maroni. The Penguin’s only other request? Jim Gordon must be left alive. Falcone isn’t sure why this is a good idea, but Oswald is certain Gordon can be an ally in the long run.
I guess Oswald wasn’t kidding when he started calling Gordon his ‘old friend’. If not for Oswald, Gordon would have already died a young man.
Stellar episode from start to finish, wrought with suspense and plot twists, great action sequences and a good teaser to keep viewers engaged going forward. The big reveal that Penguin never left the Falcone crime family was good because it seemed he had found a new home with Sal Maroni. Gordon’s good guy crusade finally took off and he even managed to turn a heavily soused and cynical detective like Harvey Bullock into one of his own.
By far the best episode of “Gotham” and that’s two in a row. Let’s hope for three next week.
“Gotham” returns next Monday night at 8pm ET on FOX.