Okay, first up – this episode had the best opening scene so far. Our exiled Penguin prince gets back into the kingdom and admires his home turf. May the first ever Gotham Hunger Games now commence – and may the odds ever be in Oswald Cobblepot’s favor!
Story-wise, I liked this episode better than the previous one (“Selina Kyle”). At first, I thought the whole balloonman idea was a bit goofy but then I got it. It kind of harkened back to some of the campy stuff from the Batman of old, so that was a nice touch. The way Jim handles this outre killer was also spot-on and I love that, so far, they’re not compromising his character to get down and dirty with the rest of Gotham’s scum. Likewise, this episode sets the groundwork for the whole principle of vigilantism that drives the Batman franchise. Is it ever okay to take the law into your own hands, especially when those upholding the law can no longer be trusted? It’s a fair question and not one with a easy answer, so I think this will be a great grey area for future episodes to work with.
I also have to say that I’m really diggin’ Jim Gordon. I wasn’t prepared to like him as much as I do, but he’s an honest, moral guy who I think will go out of his way to do what’s right. For that, he makes a great protagonist. It’s hard to pull off moral characters without turning them into goody-too-shoes, but Gordon escapes this fate so far. He also delivered one of the best lines in the episode when he remarks, “Everyone has to matter or nobody matters.” Wow – what a great line! And he’s absolutely right. It’s easy to pin down certain “sinners” as being deserving of punishment, but favoritism can lead to trouble because it starts dealing out justice at random and delving into questionable territory that, all too often, eliminates mercy and grace from the equation. I believe that’s what Jim shows the Balloonman here as he insists on bringing him in alive, not sending him miles into the atmosphere.
Just one mild criticism regarding the character department here – where, oh where, is Ed? You know, the Riddler-to-be? Cory Michael Smith (who plays Edward Nygma, the creepy, weedy forensics dude) has yet to stay on screen for five minutes and deliver more than five lines so far. By now, it’s time to see some serious screen time devoted to him because he just seems so cool. Plus the Riddler is one of my favorite Batman villains.
And, of course, this review wouldn’t be complete without calling attention to the continuing saga of Oswald Cobblepot and his fight for Gotham’s throne. It’s fitting, and a bit touching, to hear him assert that Gotham is his home and destiny and that the city needs him. Truly, he embodies the city in all of its dark and, yes, light moments. (I keep telling you – the Penguin isn’t all bad. It’s time to show him play an ethical card here or there, albeit it won’t be for the most moral of reasons, so be prepared.)
Oswald gets three big moments in this episode, the first being that opening scene. That was epic.
The second was his interaction with the crime boss Maroni. It was quite ironic to hear Maroni claim Gotham is a city of opportunity and then tout how he started from the bottom, now he’s here.
Anyway, this was a great visual parallel between the old school gangster and the new crime lord of the (not-so-distant) future. Maroni isn’t telling Cobblepot anything he doesn’t already know. Trust me – that’s why he’s ba-ack! And it wasn’t just to snag a tuna sandwich from a food truck either.
Tuna…that was so cute! ‘Cause penguins eat fish, get it?
If I could find one fault with this episode, it would have to be *the* scene between Renee and Barbara.
Um…um…I guess I’ll just get this all out of my system…
Look, I know Renee lives an “alternative” lifestyle, shall we say. But as a heterosexual woman I really don’t want to see that!
Why not give us a shirtless Penguin scene instead? Or scenes? Now, that’s something I’d like to see.
I mean, he’s obviously not wearing the same outfit that he did when the show started. In fact, based on my count, Oswald has had nearly twelve wardrobe changes (or variations) in just three episodes, which is more than any other character including Fish Mooney, who is Gotham’s official diva. That’s the equivalent of having him change or modify his clothes four times in each show.
Couldn’t we at least see him actually change on screen for once? It doesn’t have to be Magic Mike-level smut. Just show us ladies something!
Though we did see his bare arms in this episode, so I guess that kind of remotely counts.
Oh, and I almost forgot my third favorite Cobblepot moment – the ending.
Seriously, that last minute and a half was a holy blankety-blank-blank moment for me. I was not expecting Oswald to show up and he would have been my absolute last guess at who was at Jim’s door. In fact, I figured he’d try to stay away from Jim, so I was totally floored by this. It really makes me wonder what on earth he could have up his sleeves (other than possibly some sharp instruments) and how he plans to use Jim or who he’s going to pit Jim against to advance his future kingdom’s cause.
Penguin Capture Stills:
King Oswald Cobblepot surveys his crime-infested kingdom and likes what he sees. Except why does he grin the biggest when he spies hookers? Is there something you’re not telling us, Mr. Cobblepot?
More to come next week!
For my Micro-review of the Pilot and “Selina Kyle”: https://scififantasylitchick.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/media-micro-review-gotham-episodes-one-and-two/
And for random insights into the Gotham rogues gallery:
Part One (Bruce Wayne and Co.) – https://scififantasylitchick.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/media-review-gotham-part-one/
Part Two (Oswald Cobblepot) – https://scififantasylitchick.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/media-review-gotham-part-two/
“Gotham” and the “Scarface” Connection: https://scififantasylitchick.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/media-review-gotham-and-the-scarface-connection/