Gotham is at its best when it's centered on the police and mob corruption poisoning the city. The action in this episode wastes no time getting into gear as Oswald Cobblepot's reemergence sets the plot into motion and puts detective Jim Gordon on the run.
The usage of the classic Batman villain Victor Zsasz, shows how much stronger the show is when it intergrates the mythology selectively into the plot. The writers wisely abandoned the villain-of-the-week investigation formula that was used in previous efforts. Zsasz being used as a Falcone hitman, is a much more natural and a more seamless integration of the Batman mythology, without the pace or tone of the show having to be altered.
The walls close in on Gordon quickly, as his entire police force turns their back on him as he is about to be abducted by Zsasz. Only ten minutes into the episode and Gordon is hanging onto his life, due to a gunshot to the abdomen. While things have gone badly for Gordon, a silver lining for the honest cop is that he has found out who his true allies are, in detectives Montoya and Allen. Once they realize that Gordon is one of the few good cops around, they come to his rescue in a heroic fashion. Bullock also shows his true intentions, due to all of the pressure. And it turns out that when all the chips are down, he is indeed one of the good guys. Fans of Batman history understand that the trust between these particular officers will last for years.
The same charm and charisma that has made the Penguin a breakout star on Gotham, has a firm hold on mob boss Sal Maroni. Fish Mooney is made aware of Cobblepot's presence and gets a face to face meeting where she declares war. Maroni is unfazed because he understands that part of her agitation is due to Cobblepot's inside knowledge of Mooney's criminal operation. The Penguin wastes no time striking back and even has a particularly violent and personal double cross, which shows his continued maturity into a mob boss himself. The twist at the end of the episode shows the depths of manipulation that Cobblepot is capable of. It also goes a long way to show how complex the iconic criminals in this world can be.
The episode did have its flaws. The most glaring of which is the inclusion of Bruce Wayne and Alfred. While Gordon did require a safehaven, it doesn't make sense that he would go report to Wayne, essentially telling him that he was going to die. The scene did strengthen Wayne's character and went a long way to show his maturity, however it did nothing to service the episode's overall plot. These pit-stops to show off the mythology, at the expense of furthering the story, are one of Gotham's bigger issues. Gordon's fiancee, Barbara, has also been shown to consistently endanger him with her renegade actions. The way she is written, and perhaps Erin Richards' performance, has dragged down the plausibility of various scenarios. Basically, she is going to get Gordon killed and neither he, nor the writers, will accept how annoying that is.
Maroni and Falcone's meeting also furthered the plot by giving Falcone land that seems worthless, in the Arkham district, in exchange for Penguin's life. However, it's a certainty that the acquisition will come back up, as Arkham Asylum becomes a more prominent destination on the show later on.
The Untouchables style raid on the mayor and Falcone by Gordon and Bullock is one of the series' highlights so far. It was like a well played game of poker, however, they wielded assault rifles over aces. The story and characterizations have been the series' strengths so far, however in this episode, the action held up its end of the bargain as well. The series has gone to the point of no return and the dynamic of the show will have to change from this point on. What will happen when Gordon goes back to work? Are there any other honest cops that will stand behind him? What is Falcone going to do about Fish Mooney? These are some of the series changing events that will begin to play out next week.
This is probably the best episode of the series so far, and it goes a long ways to show how high the ceiling is on Gotham's potential. Smart writing, high stakes, and dramatic reveals show how compelling the show can be when it's focused on the police drama element. "Penguin's Umbrella" felt more like a season finale than episode seven of a twenty-two part season. Gotham is finding its groove and it's a fun ride.
What did you think of this "Penguin's Umbrella?" What do you think will happen next? Let us know on the comment boards!
Source: Point of Geeks