This week on Gotham: Gordon decides it is time to take on the Mob and the Mayor, and things get heated. Meanwhile, Penguin’s sphere of influence continues to grow.
What an amazing episode! “Gotham” has finally made an episode with a dynamic plot and a real sense of urgency. Now that they know Penguin is alive, Fish and Falcone are gunning for Gordon. James decides to fight fire with fire and takes on corruption in the city. It all comes together in a fantastic climax as we come to understand the complexity of this season’s plot. To say anymore would ruin the episode. Instead I want to focus on some key characters.
1. Victor Zsasz
For such an interesting Batman villain, Zsasz has not been featured in many live-action adaptions. He did appear momentarily in Batman Begins, but that surmounts to a mere cameo. For those who do not know the character, Victor Zsasz is a serial killer who cuts a tally mark into his skin for each one of his victims. In “Penguin’s Umbrella” he is introduced as Don Falcone’s hit-man and could not have been portrayed better. Anthony Carrigan’s bald head, beady eyes and sardonic smile fit the character perfectly. In his first appearance, he enters the GCPD, nonchalantly tells all cops to leave the precinct and starts a duel with Jim Gordon. This is clearly a character who does not care about rules or consequences, he is a true psychopath: this is the Zsasz from the comics. While he is a lowly hit-man this episode, his lust for blood is clear and “Gotham” will soon see the return of Victor Zsasz as a full fledged serial killer.
I love “Gotham’s” version of the Penguin. The show-runners took a popular Batman villain and made him original and complex. This week we got a very different Penguin, one ripped straight from the comics. For that last six episodes Oswald has been a lackey, a snitch, a toady, but this time we got a glimpse into his future as a crime boss. The first scenes of the episode shows Cobblepot flanked by bodyguards as he walks the crowded streets of Gotham. Later, he leads a pack of goons to kill some of Falcone’s men. Penguin has graduated within the context of the show: he is no longer a follower, but rather a leader. The reign of the Penguin will soon be at hand.
This episode was fantastic, but not because it did anything fancy. Rather, the episode built on existing story-lines and this in itself was a great success. “Gotham” has maintained a consistent, positive track for the past few episodes and this gives me hope for the series as a whole. We will see if this success holds in the weeks to come.
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CBH Score: 4.5/5 Stars
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Nice review, Drew. I was pretty happy with this episode as well. High stakes, good Zsasz, and the first glimpse of Penguin as a crime lord. Plus, extremely limited kid Batman. Hopefully they can build on the momentum achieved here.
I have two main concerns for the show moving forward. The first is simply the continued insistence on using Barbara as a damsel in distress plot device. That’s already really old; hopefully they can give her character some life.
The other one is larger in the context of the Batman universe – isn’t Gotham in danger of achieving too much, too soon? For example, the rise of Penguin, the impending demise of Don Falcone… it will be interesting how Gotham holds off on some of these storylines knowing Batman is still some 20 years away.