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REVIEW: Gotham 1×13 “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon”

When friends ask me what I think of Gotham I always tell them the same thing:”How dare you speak to me.” I write reviews so people can know my opinions without having to participate in basic forms of verbal communication. Though, I never truly know how to respond to the question. Is it bad? Is it good? It’s more of a mix of the two of those. It is not outright awful like Constantine often is, but it is not great like Arrow supposedly is (I haven’t watched Arrow). “It’s okay” is the response that I normally give.

Welcome Back, Jim Gordon is more than okay. It is the most brutal episode so far, and possibly the best.

During Gordon’s (Ben Mckenzie) investigation of the murder of a drug dealer his witness is murdered inside the police station. Jim believes that a police officer was the killer. Meanwhile Fish is (lightly) tortured by Falcone’s (John Doman) henchman…Bob, and Butch (Drew Powell) tries his best to find her. Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) has Alfred (Sean Pertwee) drive him around the city in search of Selina (Camren Bicondova). The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) spends some time with his mother Gertrud (Carol Kane), while Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) tries to woo Kristen (Chelsea Spack). Obviously there is a lot going on in this episode, and most of it is good.

I think they could have come up with a better name than Bob for the person that tortures Fish, but that is just nitpicking. These scenes stand out by allowing us to see why Fish was such an inspiring leader. We see that even while under torture she refuses to show any weakness. She must always be in charge. I still don’t particularly love her character, but at least she was more fun to watch this week. Also, I have no idea how Butch was able to get out of the van and kill the passenger without the driver hearing the doors open or shut.

Bruce and Alfred feel more out of place than ever. Bruce searches for Selina, he finds Ivy, and then Selina comes to him. He comes off as a bit creepy (for a 12 year old) and she basically tells him this. Then she lies and says that she never witnessed the murder of his parents. It feels like a cop out that he just accepts that, since I feel that he should know that she lied to him. The world’s greatest detective has a lot to learn before he is awarded that title.

Normally Oswald is the most entertaining character on the show, but his character has been dull for the last few weeks. Not anymore. The Penguin is back in full swing and it feels good. His successful attempts to impress his mother come off as creepy, yet somehow restrained. The best part about it is seeing Jim’s distaste for the two of them. He feels how the audience feels.

Nygma’s standard scene with Kristen, the archivist, finally develops into something. Usually he would just attempt to flirt with her and she would be creeped out and ask him to leave. Last time she showed signs that she was warming up to him, in the smallest possible way. Now she tells him that she liked the letter he gave her, to his delight. The thing that makes this interesting, or at least important, is that it is involved with main storyline. Flass (Dash Mihok), a corrupt narcotics detective, reads Nygma’s love letter to other officers and quickly becomes an enemy of Nygma. Gordon does something to him later that makes Ed a very happy man. Yes, these two events are only linked because of one scene of Flass making fun of Ed, but it is enough to make us care about Ed and feel happy for him.

The true heart of the episode is Gordon’s hard decisions. He must choose whether he wants to risk his life and career for the small chance that he can help someone that he doesn’t know. Of course, this is Jim Gordon we are talking about, so we know that he will put himself on the line to help others. Seeing how difficult of a decision it is for him to make is what makes the drama, since it has always felt too easy for him to choose the right thing. This is a new Jim Gordon we are seeing. He lost his girlfriend, hasn’t seen Bruce or Alfred in weeks, and is barely holding on to his job. The way he sees it he has nothing to lose, and Gotham has everything to gain. He is a cowboy. It is a joyful scene when he makes the arrest of a certain character at the end of the episode, but the show makes sure that it doesn’t end too happily. He had to ask the Penguin for a favor in order to get evidence for the arrest, and Gordon is going to have to deal with the consequences after he realizes that he may have become just what he was fighting against: a corrupt cop.

Gordon set himself on a mission to clean up Gotham, but for the most part he has only fought against random psychos. This week Gotham brought the GCPD’s corruption back into the spotlight, and it is probably the most interesting storyline that the show has had to offer so far. Especially since this week showed that Gordon actually can do something about it.

Welcome Back, Jim Gordon sets itself up as a nice bridge between the first and second halves of the season. It should have been the mid-season finale.

Final Grade: B

Side note:

The murder of the witness in the police station was the most brutal death that has occurred so far. I say that because of the way it was done, from behind with an ice pick, and the amount of fake blood that was used.

Did you like the episode? How did you feel about Flass? Do you feel that this makes the future of the show look bright? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Nick Doblovosky