Best: No rock riffs the entire episode. No, seriously, I’m not joking, stop laughing
As I’ve said in the past, Gotham sometimes struggles with the kind of atmosphere it wants to convey. Is it a dark gritty Batman that Christopher Nolan would slightly nod his head in approval to from the shadows, or is it a zany comical adventure in which Jim Carey prances around with his mouth as wide as possible while Arnold Schwarzenegger struggles to act? Nothing showcased these differing philosophies more than when Gordon and Harvey would yell at each other about who ate Harvey’s sandwich and then the scene would rock riff into Juvy Cat Girl having just ripped out a man’s eyes.
Well tonight’s episode marked the first time they didn’t use any rock riffs to jump from scene to scene, which was good, because this was the darkest episode yet. They used heavy, foreboding, bass heavy music to help reinforce the atmosphere the episode was portraying. I’ve always felt music plays a huge part of setting the tone and when done right can add a ton to a movie or show, and tonight was the first episode they got it right. When a man is about to be lit on fire in a barrel, it helps that creepy music is playing, instead of a song that vaguely sounds like something AC/DC would play.
Worst: Jim Gordon randomly drooling
So, the episode starts off with Penguin showing up in Gotham, despite Gordon’s previous demands that he never come back to the city. Gordon, obviously upset by this, takes Penguin outside, yells at him, Penguin tells him to kill him if he wants him gone because he can’t leave his only home, and Gordon walks away into the scene above, knowing he won’t kill him.
Then he drools. Just having a little bit of a drool. I checked the previous scenes. I assumed they are trying to convey he was “spitting mad” but there was nothing there earlier. He just randomly had a disgusting big line of drool on his face. Kind of gross.
Best: Gordon and Penguin relationship
Some of the most enjoyable duos to watch are those who are seemingly on opposite sides of a war, yet are bound together by some sort of philosophy, acts of destiny, or they once shared a Subway sandwich. Gordon and Penguin are very fun to watch because we don’t know where it’s going, and Gordon, a straight laced kind of guy, is having to deal with Penguin, a really really evil guy, yet both seem to want the best for Gotham. But does Penguin want what’s best for Gotham because it’s best for him? Does Penguin really respect Gordon? Is Gordon drooling as I type this?
Regardless, their interactions are intriguing because we don’t know what’s going on, yet we want to know more. As Penguin rises to power and becomes more comfortable executing his evil plans, it will be interesting to see where this relationship goes.
Worst: Barbara finding Penguin charming
Penguin looks like he’s about to start bleeding out of his mouth and eyes at any moment. Nobody should be smiling and laughing at his charm, come on Barbara, get your shit together!
Worst: Assassins valuing being cool over being effective
I”m a big fan of unique weapons and ways to kill people being used in movies. Hell, I’m still upset to this day that Scorpion didn’t fucking kill Johnny Cage in the Mortal Kombat movie with his “Get over here!” move. So while I appreciate the assassin in Gotham’s episode having a unique knife weapon, sometimes you should probably just carry a gun as a back up. You know, in case you run into the thousands of other people who have guns in Gotham. I know you want to be known as that cool stabby guy, but remember Home Alone? The Wet Bandits wanted to have a signature as well, and it didn’t work out too well for them.
Also, maybe have a weapon you don’t have to ask people to wait a second while you assemble it.
“Hold up, give me a minute, I need to put my knife together. Hand me that instruction sheet, will you?”
Worst: People in Gotham are bad in bed
So today’s “Lesbian Ratings Grab” (this appears to be a thing in Gotham now) happened twice in this episode. Both times Mooney was looking to hire a girl who could not only sing, but could also seduce a man. Mooney of course demanded the girls show their seduction style on her. The end goal seems to be that Mooney is trying to find a girl who can worm her way into Falcone’s life (as his previous love interest was taken out by Mooney) and eventually take him out in her role as secret agent lady. This is actually a solid bad ass move on her part.
So back to the seduction audition. I assumed a sultry walk and maybe sucking on her pinky, kissing up her neck, etc, etc. The usual stuff we see in these scenes. Nope.
Girl A, pictured above, gave a crappy massage and smiled at Mooney. Girl B gave her a kiss and then drank the rest of Mooney’s drink.
Both are terrible ways to seduce a man. If their plan is to rub Falcone’s shoulders while smiling awkwardly at him, or give him a quick kiss then drink his beers, then this plan might not work out so well for Mooney.
Worst: Don’t agree to go to an empty warehouse with a known mobster
Lethal Weapon taught me never stand on plastic when talking to a bad person. A million other movies taught me not to meet up with a mobster in dark, empty warehouse devoid of witnesses. Or at the very least, wear some appropriate clothing. Wear some work boots and some pants at the very least.
Worst: Jim Gordon is awful with guns
First off, continuity error, get your shit together Gotham production team. They never show Gordon’s gun dropping, they just randomly throw in a gun dropping noise during a transition scene, then they show the bad guy picking up a gun where clearly there was no gun before. Nitpicking? Of course, but damn it, there was no gun there!
Secondly, Jim Gordon is fucking awful with guns. In the Balloon Man episode, Gordon either dropped his gun randomly or forgets how a gun works, and decides that jumping on a helium balloon is a far better choice then simply shooting it.
In tonight’s episode, Gordon loses his gun yet again, and when they mayor asks Gordon why he doesn’t just shoot the bad guy, Gordon has to explain he lost his gun, but says it in a way that you know he’s lost his gun plenty of times in the past, and he’s not about to start not losing his gun anytime soon.
Also, if Gordon’s gun was on the ground in that scene, props to Gordon for throwing a binder at the bad guy instead of picking up his gun.
“Who throws a binder, honestly?”
Best: Penguin is turning into an awesome villain
As I’m quickly realizing, Gotham is inhabited by many many many stupid people. A dog with above average intelligence could probably take over Gotham if it was motivated enough with doggy treats. That being said, it’s nice to see Penguin morphing into a smart evil bad guy sooner rather than later. It’s much more enjoyable seeing Penguin Kesyer Soze people with his sniveling routine instead of just actually being a sniveling guy. Tonight’s episode showcased Penguin using people to rise up the ranks in the Maroni family, ruthlessly killing off the people who got him there, and walking away with a ton of money. Bravo sir, bravo.
Also he poisoned people with cannoli. This was the most bad ass move of the series so far.
Best: Alfred wasn’t a dick this episode!
Yay! Not once did he call Bruce Wayne a little shit or try and crush his aspirations of trying to do something with his life!
Worst: Barbara was a dick in this episode
Barbara, tired of Gordon keeping secrets about his job, demanded he tell her everything, or else they were done. She gave him this ultimatum in the police station. Where he works. Where it would probably be frowned upon if he decided to open up about all of his police secrets with her. Relax Barbara.
Worst: To be fair, Gordon was kind of a dick too
The minute I start to defend Gordon, in that it would be lunacy for him to have to be forced to talk about his police information, he turns around and tells Young Batman everything. He won’t tell Barbara a thing, but a 12 year old kid? That’s the ticket!
Again, I am convinced Gordon already thinks Wayne is Batman, because he is always over at his house, discussing cases, and telling him shit he won’t even tell his own fiance.
Best: Edward Nigma is finally realizing he works with a bunch of ass clowns
I’ve long maintained the Edward Nigma is the hardest working man in Gotham, on top of being the smartest. Not only is he the only one on Gotham PD who can come up with some god damn answers, but he does so putting up with two co-workers who clearly hate him FOR NO REASON. Look at Jim Gordon’s latest look of “I want you to fucking die” directed at Nigma:
Just dripping with disdain. Again, you would think Jim would appreciate THE ONE GUY in Gotham who knows how to do his job properly.
In this episode, at least, Nigma treated Harvey and Gordon like the dumb asses they are by clearly laying out the fact the assassin was working both sides, delivering this information with a healthy dose of snark and sarcasm. And what does Nigma get for his troubles? Not even a goodbye. They just take the case Nigma broke wide open and waddle away into what I assume was another sandwich montage.
I enjoy the Penguin, but man alive, when Nigma finally has enough of his dip shit co-workers and turns into the Riddler, I am going to be on Team Riddler so hard, cheering him on every step of the way.
Most of my “worsts” this week was simply tongue in cheek nit-picking, more of me just poking fun at characters. Fundamentally, this was by far the strongest episode of Gotham yet. It didn’t dick around with rock riffs, the low quality porn dialogue was kept to a minimum, and it was the first time I thought to myself this show might be turning it around.
I will be extremely interested in next week, to see if they continue this momentum, or if it was just a random luck of the draw, but if they keep going in this direction then Gotham will be much better for it. The episode was focused, it kept the overall plot going while at the same time providing an interesting one off episode storyline, and it had solid character development in Penguin and Mooney. Best yet, it was a dark episode that stayed dark, and didn’t try and insert random 90’s sitcom comedy montages or interactions between Gordon and Harvey. This is the Gotham that makes it to season 2.