Although this wasn’t my personal favorite episode, it was probably the best directed and written thus far. In the time allotted, the writers managed to weave together all of the ongoing storylines including Jim Gordon’s exile and return to the Gotham PD, Jack Gruber’s escape from Arkham, the machinations of Penguin and Fish Mooney, and even Edward Nygma’s continued creep-stalking a co-worker. It’s really rather impressive how this episode managed to organically include nearly every character without making it feel forced. Everything was connected together even if the people involved didn’t realize it. It wasn’t an episode about any individual character. It was an episode about Gotham.
The only storyline that was out of place was Barbara’s, and I’m afraid that will not win her any fans in the audience. About the only thing we learned is that she is a high society woman (which we already knew) and that her parents didn’t approve of Jim (no surprise). Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle were absent, but there was clearly no need for them to be in this episode. Gotham will still benefit from the writers trimming down the cast a little bit instead of trying to force everyone in where they didn’t have to be.
Carmine Falcone said in this episode that he was disappointed in himself for being so stupid. I too was disappointed in him. All this time I thought surely someone who had reached his position in organized crime had to be savvier than this. But it turns out that the story was really exactly what it looked like. He was fooled, and Fish Mooney was about to win. The redeeming aspect of the story was that we got to see Falcone rise to become the ruthless crime lord he used to be. It’s too bad about Liza, but her fate was really inevitable.
And speaking of stupid, does Sal Maroni really believe that Penguin no longer has any business with Falcone?
For some reason, a lot of people seemed to be brimming with overconfidence in this episode. Even as everything was falling into place, I thought Fish Mooney had overplayed her hand by demanding that Falcone get out of town. And Jim was pretty clearly flying by the seat of his pants. Harvey Bullock’s reactions upon realizing that he was going to get dragged into the whole mess were priceless. When Jim blasted Commissioner Loeb to his face, I thought he was being especially reckless. But then I remembered that this was the man who also promised that he would take down the Mayor and Carmine Falcone, so Jim’s righteous bluster is actually quite in character. By the way, is it a coincidence that Commissioner Loeb looks a bit like the Gary Oldman version of Commissioner Gordon?
In all of this, Jack Gruber’s story was probably the least interesting in the episode, but that’s because he mostly served as another supervillain of the week. For a while, I was convinced that he would be a precursor to the Mad Hatter who also controlled people by putting devices on their heads. However, the Electrocutioner is actually an existing albeit very minor character from the comics. Anyway, he was mostly memorable for Christopher Heyerdahl’s performance which managed to strike the right balance, being over the top while also conveying some plausible menace.
I don’t know where the show is going with Edward Nygma. The greater focus on him in the past few episodes indicates that he will probably start to have a bigger role. I’m not sure whether I welcome that development since it means some other character is going to be shortchanged. But I certainly don’t mind watching him on the screen for now, and he’s certainly entertaining. I found the riddle with the cupcake and the bullet to be pretty terrible. Maybe we’re supposed to think that the Riddler hasn’t found his touch and zing yet.
Jim’s attraction to Leslie Thompkins is rather predictable since Morena Baccarin ends up seducing pretty much every main character of a show that she guest stars in. Right now, I’m sure fans are predictably favoring her over Barbara, but we have to keep in mind that we’ve only known her for two episodes. Much like real relationships, characters tend to have little tics that will get more annoying the longer we know them. I actually rather liked Barbara for the first few episodes of this show and thought she had great chemistry with Jim. We will have to see how this relationship develops.