In the latest Gotham recap, Jim is back on the force investigating another murder as well as a fellow police officer, Penguin starts to strengthen his stronghold and Fish Mooney isn’t finished just yet….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Two steps forward and one step back.
It seems to be a motto ‘Gotham’ lives with these days. Last week’s episode, which featured a long awaited showdown between Carmine Falcone and Fish Mooney spiraled into a mixed bag this week titled ‘Welcome Back, Jim Gordon’. The stories were scattered and messy and the only part that really stuck was the follow up to Mooney’s fate after she tried to take out the Don only to find out the aged mobster still had a little bit of fight left in him.
Meanwhile, our hero Jim Gordon returns to the Gotham City Police Department two episodes after he left in what seemed like a major plot point as he joined the Arkham Asylum security force and instead it served to only introduce us to Dr. Leslie Tompkins and a convoluted criminal called ‘The Electrocutioner’. Gordon wastes no time getting back to his internal clean up of the police force while crossing a few boundaries of his own this week while his new lady love is nowhere to be found outside of a brief mention from his partner about some tonsil hockey going on in the downstairs locker room.
Oh and Bruce Wayne finally returned from an extended sabbatical and now that he’s back, I kind of wish he had stayed away a little longer.
With that, let’s recap the latest episode of Gotham titled ‘Welcome Back, Jim Gordon’
Public Service Announcement
Jim’s irritation with the Gotham police department this week stems from a murder investigation that kicks off the show with a local drug dealer being hung from a hook after probably getting into a beef over a local deal. We officially meet Arnold Flass this week — he made a brief appearance last week while making fun of Edward Nygma — and it seems he’s the lead detective over in the narcotics unit. He runs a group of officers charged with keeping drugs off the streets of Gotham and considering what the city looks like recently, Flass is doing quite a shit job.
Regardless, he’s the big swinging dick around these parts so he gives Gordon and Bullock as much info as he’s willing to give and he heads out. Thankfully there’s a big break in the case when the night janitor steps forward willing to testify to what he saw that night and a description of the murderer in question. Jim insists he comes down to the station to give his description to a police sketch artist and despite his every instinct to the contrary, the janitor agrees.
He shows up and after a pointless one-way conversation with his wife, a shadowy figure enters the interrogation room posing as the sketch artists, asks the janitor if he definitely saw the face of the perpetrator and when he replies yes, the assailant buries an ice pick into the back of his neck as well as a second time for good measure. Now at this point in the proceedings it should be painfully obvious who is behind this entire set up — it’s not like this was set up ‘Training Day’ style only to find out Alonzo is the mastermind behind it all. Flass is no mastermind. Then again, Gordon is no Ethan Hawke either.
Gordon begins his investigation and it eventually leads to another cop named Delaware (played by ‘Sons of Anarchy’ star Nico Nikotera). Gordon finds out he’s carrying drugs as well, which forces him into a showdown with Flass because it seems the narcotics unit has undercover officers all over town and Delaware is one of his men. In other words, he’s untouchable.
Bullock finally comes clean with his partner and tells Gordon that Flass and his guys not only run the narcotics unit, but they also run narcotics in Gotham. It seems they are protected upon high by the prince of darkness and none of them can be arrested so it’s better just to let sleeping dogs lie, but do you think scoutmaster Jim is going to sit around for that?
So he starts digging into alternative methods to bust Flass and his flunky crew, but he might even be forced to color outside the edges to get his man.
The One That Got Away
Instead of killing his prey a week ago, Don Carmine Falcone opted for the old ‘torture them’ method to get payback on Fish Mooney and her No. 1 enforcer Butch after the tried to play the old man by planting a girl in his midst who looked and sounded just like his dearly departed mother.
For the first time in a while, Falcone looked like the big boss he’s always been touted as in Gotham lore. He was nearly snowed over, but thanks to some well placed informants — mainly Oswald Cobblepot — the plot to take him out was foiled and he managed to maintain his power base. Unfortunately Falcone could only look smart for a week because things return to full buffoonery this episode.
Butch escapes his captors by slipping out the backdoor of a van, killing one guard and then waiting for the other hapless idiot to wonder what happened to his buddy so he could get the drop on him as well.
Meanwhile in an undisclosed warehouse somewhere in Gotham, Fish Mooney is being tortured by some guy named Bob. His name was about as pointless as what he was doing to Fish because instead of actually causing her physical harm, Bob just kept toying with her, wasting valuable time so Butch could show up and save the day. Sure enough he does, Fish is rescued but before she’s willing to leave town she has to take care of one last thing — Penguin has to die.
Fish’s old club now belongs to Oswald, who decides to bring his mother in before opening day so she can see the great accomplishments of her son. His creepy mom dances around the club, picks up Liza’s scarf and more or less acts drunk while celebrating her son’s new venture.
In the midst of all this, Jim Gordon drops by to pay a visit to his old pal Oswald.
Oswald is overjoyed to see Gordon and much to his surprise the police detective has a request — he asks Penguin to ask around and find out as much about Flass and his drug operation as possible and to help put the squeeze on putting them out of business. Gordon doesn’t want any violence used, but he needs help and Oswald is the only one he can turn to. Oswald agrees and when Jim asks what he wants in return, he says that friends don’t owe each other — they help out because they can and they want to.
Gordon feels a little icky by the whole ordeal but he knows that the police won’t lift a finger to take down one of their own so he needs help from Gotham’s underbelly if he wants to actually find justice for his dead witness.
Penguin sends his enforcer off to deal with Officer Delaware, who sings like a pigeon once his wife is stuck in a bathtub with her head being held under water until he gives up his boss at the Gotham police department as well as enough evidence to help Gordon convict him even without the help of the cops.
The only problem is with Penguin’s goon away, Fish comes by to play and she’s got a score to settle with this little bird.
I’d love to say the return of Bruce Wayne this week was met with excitement and anticipation, but alas no such luck. The littlest Batman-to-be came back from an extended vacation in France after he was nearly killed recently but now that he’s in Gotham again he only has one thing on his mind — find Selina ‘Call Me Cat’ Kyle.
He roams the streets looking for her and even gives psycho Ivy $20 for her to pass along a message to Selina that Bruce wants to talk. When Selina finally shows up he asks her to move back in with him and gives her the gift every teenage girl hopes for — a snow globe. Yes, it’s as lame as it sounds.
Selina wastes no time rebuffing Bruce’s advances and then proceeds to tell him that she never actually saw the face of the person who killed his parents so she’s no good to him anyways. Selina bolts, Bruce breaks the snow globe and pouts about it. The only good moment from this entire sequence was Alfred showing up and asking Bruce if he was going to cry about this like a little pussy or man up and move on. I’m paraphrasing of course, but that really was the gist of it.
Meanwhile, Edward Nygma is still stalking Ms. Kringle, this week giving her a card with some poetry enclosed. She accepts, but later we find Detective Flass opening the letter and mocking Edward’s poetry. He walks in and hears the jockular cops making fun of him and when they spot him, he’s told to buzz off in great haste. Edward hightails it out of there, but it’s clear Ms. Kringle feels bad for the dork.
She shows up later and says that Flass found his letter in her desk and she apologizes for his behavior. Just as Edward is getting ready to ask her out, Ms. Kringle tells him to stop and just enjoy this moment for what it is. Shocking that he didn’t have a riddle tucked away that ended in a marriage proposal, but I’m guessing they are saving that for the season finale because this is one love story for the ages! (please note the dripping sarcasm).
Birds of a Feather
Jim thinks his case against Flass is hopeless until Oswald’s thug shows up with a paper bag and a whole lot of answers. It turns out Delaware confessed and Flass even gave him the murder weapon to get rid of after he killed the witness. Gordon drops the evidence on Flass’ lap and tells him he’s under arrest. Flass plays the ‘I’m protected’ card, but it’s finally time for some other cops in this precinct to man up and actually, you know, fight crime. The captain even steps forward and slaps the cuffs on Flass, putting him out of commission for good.
As Gordon leaves feeling quite good about the fact that he just took out a very dirty cop, a frantic Delaware shows up begging the detective to call off his dogs. Delaware confessed and gave him the murder weapon and in exchange all he wants is Gordon’s assurance that his wife and kids won’t be harmed. Gordon is clueless but only for a moment until he realizes that Oswald’s method of getting things done might involve something ugly he’s not willing to do to get results. Gordon looks sickened with himself and what he was forced to do to get this arrest. In reality, Gordon just played the game ever so slightly and as promised no one had to die for him to get the results he wanted. Sure it happened largely outside the law, but if there’s one thing clear about the Gotham police force — rarely does anything go down within the boundaries of what’s good and decent.
And finally, Fish is ready to exact her revenge on Penguin, who is squirming and forced to kiss her boots since he has no one around to save him. Before she can kill him, however, Falcone’s right hand hitman Victor Zsasz (who is quickly becoming my second favorite character) shows up to save the day. He chases Fish and Butch down into the bowels of her club and it’s clear only one of them is going to get away or both will end up dead. So Butch forces Fish to run while he stays and takes on Victor by himself. Needless to say it doesn’t end well for him.
Butch gets winged although it seems Victor is going to keep him alive to for some added entertainment because we’ve already seen how well this plan will probably work. Fish escapes and turns to the last person she can count on in this town — Harvey Bullock. He helps Fish get on a boat out of Gotham and the two friends even share a passionate kiss but she is only sentimental for a moment because the thing foremost on her mind is returning one day soon and clipping The Penguin’s wings.
There were certainly good elements during this episode — most notably the scenes with Fish, The Penguin and Victor Zsasz — it’s just unfortunate that the characters supposedly in the lead — Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne — were so vanilla and forgettable, if you erased them both from this last hour the show goes on without skipping a beat. As I said in the beginning, two steps forward and one step back. Here’s hoping the continuity starts locking up each episode to the next as the final nine episodes get underway to close out season one.
‘Gotham’ returns next Monday night at 8pm on FOX with part one of a two-part special as a new villain lands in town.