Ahhh, Gotham…I always finds myself both entertained and irritated by Gotham. It’s a confusing state of mind. For example, The Riddler’s…I mean, Edward Nigma’s segments always entertain me, but at the same time, I am irritated by their usual pointlessness. The will-they, won’t-they story between him and Ms Kringle has not developed since the beginning of the series (And, while it developed a little here, I still felt too much time was wasted on it). ‘Welcome Back, Jim Gordon,’ episode thirteen of Gotham, didn’t push my feelings one way or the other.
Jim Gordon is out of Arkham Asylum and back in the police department in this episode. And, of course, what better way to integrate himself back into the department than to start blaming police officers for covering up a murder? Just when I thought he could make friends with his fellow police officers…It was all little bit too convenient, wasn’t it? Gotham relies on convenience for a lot of its plot developments. Look at how Gordon finds drugs on the murder victim at the star of the episode. He tampers with the body, and conveniently finds a stash of drugs in the guy’s heel. The caretaker who witnessed the murder, Leon Winkler, has to tell his wife his location before giving a description of the murderer to the sketch artist. Of course, this results in his murder with an ice pick (was anybody else thinking ‘Sharon Stone’?). Later on the episode, Bullock gives crucial evidence to Gordon in a restaurant. Gordon asks incredulously “Now? You tell me now?” My thoughts exactly! Then Bullock asks Gordon not to act on it. By now, surely Bullock knows that Gordon will never let anything go? Hmmm…
But of course, with the irritating comes the entertaining. If you ignore the ‘CSI: Gotham aspect of Gotham at times, and focus on the gangster storyline, you are often in for some great TV. Oswald Cobblepot is by the far the most interesting part of Gotham (apart from his emo-haircut. Has he been watching Spider-Man 3?), and he lights up the screen whenever he’s on. He takes his mother to see his new nightclub, which he has taken over from Fish. Little does he know that Fish and Butch are coming after him. Jim even comes to him for help about the corrupt police officers. Very ill-advised, and it turns out badly…obviously! Gordon asks that no one be injured, and Cobblepot promises that no one will be…but, of course, Cobblepot is full of false promises. But, apart from the twisted logic of this segment, it was the best of the show. Cobblepot’s talk of being good friends sent a shiver down my spine.
Later, all alone, Penguin…I mean Cobblepot decides to get bladdered (in a MTV music video with Inception-esque rock music…). Of course, at the most convenient time, Fish Mooney and Butch corner him. It is in these little interactions that Cobblepot excels. He comes across as a sociopath without overacting, and delivers each line perfectly. As opposed to Fish Mooney. She eats up the scenery with her larger-than life acting. Her acting, at times, takes you out of the scene, rather than drawing you in. However, for the most part, she kept it toned down here, thankfully, and let the story tell itself rather than take up the screen with her erratic hand movements.
The show ends on a cliffhanger, with Fish’s future in question and Gordon questioning himself about his deal with the Devil/Cobblepot. Bruce Wayne comes back with a vengeance in this episode, only to have his heart broken by Selina Kyle. Where will he go from here, now that he knows Selina was lying about seeing his parents’ murderer? Again, some lip-smacking plot developments, but the episodes are never the sum of their parts.
VERDICT: 6/10. Another typical Gotham episode. Worth a watch, but nothing that keeps you glued to the screen. Entertaining and irritating in equal measures…the show still hasn’t found its stride, thirteen episodes in…will it ever?