Gotham Season 1 Ep 7 (TV Show Review)

Right in the very first episode of Gotham, we saw some pretty big things happen. The Waynes were murdered. Gordon and Bullock caught the supposed murderer and killed him (though it later turned out that it was a setup). The two came close to losing their lives at the hands of Fish Mooney, one of Gotham’s resident mob bosses, working under Falcone. And Gordon was forced to kill Oswald Cobblepot, or so everyone believed. It was a right ruckus and in the cliffhanger last week, Oswald revealed publicly that he was very much alive, though that does create a lot of problems for Gordon.

Through and through, this week’s “Penguin’s Umbrella” is entirely focused on Gordon as it shows the aftermath of Oswald’s revelation and what it means for the young, unjaded cop as he strives to make a difference in the city. He is a marked man since he went against the orders of Carmine Falcone and everyone is pretty much just waiting for him to drop dead. This episode is pretty much the best episode of the show so far, showing what Gotham can really be like in a lot of ways, and we also see the cameo of a long-standing Batman villain here, who is every bit as creepy as you’d expect him to be. The cliffhanger is pretty damn jaw-dropping as well, and I dare say that Gotham can definitely hold its own against Arrow and The Flash if it continues like this.

Gotham Logo 0001

Since the second episode we’ve seen that Detectives Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen of Major Crimes Unit have been hunting for Gordon in Oswald’s murder since they got tipped off about it. It had become quite the personal crusade too for Renee since she was romantically involved with Gordon’s girlfriend Barbara some years before and still had feelings for her. It was a somewhat complicated mess of relationships and though I didn’t like this angle on Renee, this episode does much to redeem that. Now that we know Oswald isn’t dead and Gordon didn’t kill him, there really is no case against the young Detective, though things are just heating up for him since he disobeyed an order from Carmine Falcone. And as everyone knows in Gotham, no one disobeys Falcone.

That’s what pretty much this entire episode is about. Fish is understandably upset about the whole thing since Oswald is a loose-end as far as she is concerned. She can’t very well take over the Falcone Clan if Oswald is working for Sal Maroni. She pushes Carmine to take an aggressive set of measures against Oswald, Gordon and Bullock but the Don weirdly enough is not really bothered by any of it. Which is a sign of things to come, and boy, things are heating up something major here.

What this episode does is that it firmly resolves the loose ends of the first episode and brings the “death of Oswald” storyline to a nice, neatly-tied conclusion. That’s what I loved about this episode. It gives off the vibe that this closes out part 1 of the overarching story that the writers have been working on for the first season, and I like that. It creates the sense that there is a grand plan in effect and I certainly can’t fault that for any reason.

The remarkable thing about this episode is that it avoids the whole “villain of the week” format to focus on all the important characters who have showed up so far, minus the future Catwoman and Poison Ivy and Riddler. That doesn’t prevent the episode from finally introducing Victor Zsasz however, played by the same guy who just two weeks ago played the villain Kyle Nimbus aka the Mist on The Flash. Nice synergy there, I think. Victor is suitably creepy here, and we also get a glimpse of his scars, the ones that mark how many people he has killed and which will one day cover most of his day, as a grim reflection of the kind of man he is.

And ultimately it focuses on what kind of a power Carmine Falcone really is. Again and again he is pushed by his lieutenants to take strict action against his opponents, namely Sal Maroni. But everytime he  goes for the softer approach first. That’s what happens here again when Oswald is revealed as Maroni’s new right-hand man, second only to Frankie who has been with the Don for years now. Falcone is the top dog in Gotham and he is also the one keeping the peace. As he says, and I paraphrase, business in the city is good and there’s no need to tarnish it all with unnecessary bloodshed. He comes across as a… diplomat and a peacekeeper, a side that I didn’t expect to see from someone like him.

This is what I loved most about this episode. With Gotham close to descending into chaos, it is Falcone who keeps things together. The one with the long plan that others can’t even imagine. It makes him into a force to be reckoned with, especially given his parting words to Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock in the climax.

What this episode does is that it elevates the level of every character involved. Fish Mooney suffers a setback. Sal Maroni and Carmine Falcone both lose and gain something. Jim Gordon and Barbara Kean come close to losing something very previous. Oswald cements his place in the grand scheme of things, slowly building his path to top dog in Gotham. He is forging relationships right and left, and by the time the curtain closes on this episode, you get the sense of the master manipulator lurking inside him all this time. Penguin is an incredibly driven individual and he will use any means necessary to get to where he wants.

Gotham Cast 0001

Victor Zsasz’s big debut isn’t in the show’s usual format, as I’ve said, but we still get to see some great scenes with him. The actor who plays him fits the villain’s profile quite aptly and I’ll admit that when he stood in the middle of GCPD headquarters and demanded to see Jim Gordon, I really did freak out. It is an obvious display of power, both his and his master’s, and it is seriously awesome. Though nothing beats the final minute of the episode with Carmine Falcone, who is just brilliant here.

There were some things that didn’t sit too well with me, such as Barbara’s kinda-sorta dumb moment, or the two female assistants that Victor Zsasz brings with him to GCPD. The latter has more to do with how silly a portrayal it is of these unnamed characters, dressed out as punk henchmen, and remind me of the B-villains from James Bond: Diamonds Are Forever, from the scenes in Las Vegas just before James Bond heads out to confront Blofeld.

Still, all in all, this was a great episode and I’m really eager to see more. Gotham has finally hit the stride with this episode, and things really couldn’t be any better.

More Gotham: Ep 1, Ep 2, Ep 3, Ep 4, Ep 5, Ep 6.

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Posted on November 4, 2014, in Gotham, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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