Well that was clearly the best episode so far. No doubt.
Gordon (played by Ben McKenzie) sends Barbara (played by Erin Richards) out of town while the mob is busy hunting him down. Meanwhile the Penguin (played by Robin Lord Taylor) schemes his way out of being murdered by the mob.
All of the actors in this episode were at the top of their games and every scene worked well. This is the first episode in which every scene feels natural. Even the standard Bruce and Alfred scene flows just as well as the others. While previous installments generally had one or two powerful scenes Penguin’s Umbrella managed to do this with every scene.
This is the episode when most of the previously established plot points collide and evolve. Montoya (played by Victoria Cartagena) and Crispus Allen (played by Andrew Stewart-Jones) finally start to help Gordon after they realize that he is on their side. Barbara is finally put into danger as a result of Gordon’s actions (though mostly her own). Falcone reveals that he knows much more than Fish thinks he does and proves that he is worthy of the title of Don. Harvey (played by Donal Logue) quarrels with Gordon, after learning that he did not kill Oswald, before eventually joining him. Now that many of the character’s secrets are known (to some of the characters but mostly to the viewers) the show is finally on the right path. Creating drama will be easier now that the characters are more established.
Seeing Alfred (played by Sean Pertwee) in action was a pleasant surprise, even if he was only up against Crispus. It was a nice and simple way of showing that he would be able to teach Bruce how to fight. James admits to Bruce that he may never fulfill his promise of uncovering the truth behind his parent’s murders and he responds that he is “not a kid.” It is a touching scene, especially since Montoya and Crispus are there to witness Gordon’s selfless nature after believing that he was a cold-hearted killer.
Robin Lord Taylor finally gets to (once again) use an umbrella and it is just as fun as I imagined it would be (or maybe even more than that). While the Penguin does kill people in this episode it makes sense and only makes the character more interesting.
Some good points:
– David Zayas performed the role of Maroni so well that I never thought of him as Sergeant Batista from Dexter.
– The score did not feel overbearing like it had in past episodes. The music works well here.
– Many characters are present in this episode without making it feel bloated. They all have their part to play and are each given just the right amount of screen time.
– The continued inclusion of shots in which bright lights are pointed towards the camera, which creates a Speilberg-like effect, is very welcome. This theme works as a way of showing how Gordon deals with the horrors that Gotham has to offer by sticking to his moral core. Light casting over darkness with James making a choice while stuck in between them.
Overall a pretty great episode. The dramatic scenes work well and the humor is spot on. This is the first episode of the series that I can truly recommend, and it seems that future episodes will (hopefully) be even better. Previous installments relied on hinting at future events; Penguin’s Umbrella is the best episode so far because it focuses almost entirely on present events.
Final Grade: B+
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