I’m not sure what I expected on tonight’s episode of Gotham. Perhaps I was expecting a little more involving Penguin, especially from an episode entitled “Everyone Has a Cobblepot”? I mean, he definitely played an integral role, but the episode just seemed lacking overall. (spoilers ahead!)
The episode picks up where last week dropped off with Alfred in the hospital after being betrayed and stabbed by his former buddy, Reggie. Gordon asks Alfred who stabbed him, and while Bruce is about to reveal who it was, Alfred claims that it was dark and he didn’t see the perpetrator. Later on, Cat drops by to offer her condolences. She and Bruce have a discussion about what was stolen from Wayne Manor and how they can recover it.
I thought it was interesting how this was a slight foreshadowing of Bruce’s future as Batman. Throughout the season, he’s been slowly developing his detective skills in small tidbits, but he’s never had a real challenge, until now. Not only is he still trying to crack the case of his parents’ murder, but he is also inspecting the shady backgrounds of Wayne Enterprises’ board members, and trying to find a way to bring justice to Alfred’s attacker. Cat offering her help (once again) can further hint at the future relationship between Catwoman and Batman.
The meat of the episode lies within Gordon, Dent, and Bullock’s plotline: corrupt officer Flass is reinstated to the police department, which understandably rubs Gordon the wrong way. Gordon wants to find a way to weed out the corruption from the GCPD, and it all starts with the removal of Flass. This is where the title comes into play.
Remember in the first episode when Gordon was supposed to kill Penguin but instead faked the murder? That’s Gordon’s “Cobblepot” – his big secret that could ultimately damage his reputation. Bullock’s Cobblepot is that he secretly killed someone for the Gotham crime bosses many years ago. Everyone has a Cobblepot, and Gordon wants to find the one that belongs to Flass. In order to do this, he will have to call in help from Harvey Dent.
I am not a fan of Nicholas D’Agosto or his portrayal of the character. When I first saw that they cast him as Harvey Dent, I thought I’d give him a chance. Then I saw his performance a few months ago and I was severely disappointed. Aside from Ivy, I think he’s the most poorly-casted character on the show. I’ve seen many versions of Harvey Dent/Two-Face, and I think it’s a role that can be interpreted in many different ways (much like the Joker). D’Agosto’s portrayal doesn’t cut it for me. I’m not even looking at him as the future Two-Face; I’m trying to assess him as a normal lawyer with a questionable moral compass. D’Agosto is just a poor actor who doesn’t know what to do with himself on screen. Thankfully, he’s not a huge part of the episode and we instead get to watch more of the Penguin doing what he does best: be a double-crossing creep.
The tables turn halfway through the episode once Penguin makes his appearance. Instead of finding Flass’s Cobblepot, Gordon and Bullock now focus on catching Loeb’s dirty little lie. The officers go to Penguin for help and he leads them to a farmhouse in exchange for a huge favor from Gordon.
This is another part of the episode that struck a nerve with me, though I may be overthinking it. Gordon is supposed to be the good seed in the GCPD. He’s meant to be one of the few cops who can’t be corrupted. I’d consider his working with Penguin as a form of corruption, even if it’s meant to fight other corruption. Do they cancel each other out? This is the same problem I had in the pilot episode when he let Penguin escape (though “executing” Penguin was a bit out of line for the character in the first place). Overall, it seems like Gordon’s moral compass is just as ambiguous as Two-Face’s should be.
Let’s over-analyze another problem with the episode, this time focusing on Edward Nygma. Good ol’ Eddie gathers up the courage to ask Ms. Kringle if she’s free for dinner, only to find out that she’s dating another cop in the department (she initially had a fancy for Flass and we saw how that turned out). Nygma gets shot down and sinks further into his depressive slump after being rejected once again. The way the scene is shot and produced, it feels like Gotham is attempting to hint at Nygma’s slow transformation into the Riddler. Really? Is that how they’re going to turn him into a villain? A sad loser who couldn’t handle rejection? Don’t do that. Please don’t do that. Even a second-rate villain such as the Riddler deserves a better origin story than that. This isn’t a Marc Webb film. Give your characters better background and motivation.
Most of my complaints about tonight’s episode of Gotham could be resolved by the fact that the show is taking numerous creative liberties with characters, plot-lines, etc. I totally get that, and I vehemently defend that notion whenever someone complains about a character’s difference from their comic book counterpart. But there is a way to divert from the comic origins and still be good. Look at Penguin! Look at Cat! Those characters are showing diversity from their comic versions, but they are still fun to watch. People like Nygma and Gordon are falling prey to inconsistent and unfavorable traits that are just rubbing me the wrong way. The show better have a good end-game in store if it wants to justify the drastic changes it’s been making.
Final Grade: C
+ I liked the opening scene with Bruce, Alfred, and Gordon, and the follow-up with Cat.
+ The final scene with Penguin was amazing and further demonstrates his darker, more sinister side.
– I don’t like D’Agosto’s portrayal of Harvey Dent.
– I’m not fond of some of the inconsistencies and changes occurring with characters’ backgrounds.
– Fish Mooney’s subplot was spotty and lost my focus at times; it was a bit of a letdown compared to last week’s intense action.
What was your take on tonight’s episode of Gotham? Did you enjoy it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter!