– Spoiler Review –
With Gordon’s secret out, the forces that be descend down upon him for his grievous error, and he responds by carrying out a plan to clean up Gotham. Meanwhile, Penguin’s true motivations come into a surprising light and a lot players attempt to undermine one another. It’s unfortunate then, with all that takes place within “Penguin’s Umbrella,” that it ends basically back where we started.
Ending Gotham TV Show Reviews (9/26/15)
I probably should’ve done this more formally back when I called it quits with the show after its umpteenth break during the first season, but I won’t be reviewing this series anymore. I had been holding out hope the show would get better for the second season and the creative team behind it were saying all the right things, but the S2 premiere was just more of the same. Sure, there’s some promise for better things ahead in it so I’ll be tuning in, but this is more in regards to my own personal time constraints and my sanity. Sorry and thanks for checking out Mynock Manor for details on Gotham and I seriously hope the show hits its stride soon. We still have plenty of content on the site so browse around before heading somewhere else!
That’s not to say it wasn’t an enjoyable episode, but even with a few character deaths and Penguin revealing himself, the status quo really hasn’t changed. Our perceptions of certain events has changed, like anything Penguin’s perpetrated, as he’s been surprisingly working for Falcone this whole time. But Gordon is still alive (No, I didn’t expect that to change), the city is still corrupt, Penguin still lives, and everyone is still primed to jump at each other’s throats, just like at the end of all previous weeks of Gotham. The biggest change is Harvey siding with Gordon against the corruption (after the hint of his do goodery beginnings seen in “Spirit of the Goat”) but that’s small compared to what could all be different.
Another disappointing aspect this week was Barbara being reduced to a sniveling damsel in distress. So far this season she’s been set up as a stronger type of broad, or at least no inkling she’d be reduced to tears and sniveling throughout this type of ordeal, so her turn here was surprising to watch. She also gets sent away, to be out of harm’s reach, but Gotham hits that trope too hard so the moment Falcone told Gordon he had her, I believed him right away. Between the relationship drama and her reactions in “Umbrella,” Barbara has been mishandled so far.
On the other hand, Penguin revealing himself to be working for Falcone the entire time, and the one who made the deal and decision to put his execution in Gordon’s hands was a neat little twist. It definitely alters the intentions behind all of his scheming thus far and how he was so quickly able to help facilitate a peaceful deal between Maroni and Falcone at the end of this episode. What exactly Falcone wants with a chemical site built over a Indian hill is beyond me, but should prove interesting. Penguin also murdering Carbone was a big moment and his gleeful reaction to the event was chillingly fun to see.
Victor Zsasz is already my favorite non-Penquin member of Batman’s Rogues Gallery to appear on Gotham, largely because he’s not 12 years old and not still waiting to grow into his villainous role. Instead, he’s already the infamous serial killer/hitman fans should know, slightly unhinged and carving his kills into his skin with a knife. It’s great to have a threat Gordon will likely have to deal with as the show continues, instead of one he dispatches quickly as part of the case-of-the-week.
In fact, the reason this episode worked so well is the lack of procedural elements. Without a case-of-the-week, everyone got to come out of their shells a little, while poor detective work and obvious visual clues didn’t mare the proceedings. These characters work a whole lot better when they aren’t all being shoe-horned in around a weak procedural, so here’s hoping Gotham has more episodes like this one.
Having Bullock join Gordon’s righteous side, and them working together when not on a case, really works well for both characters. Gordon’s plan being to arrest those involved in the conspiracy is a bit of a letdown, considering he’s been telling everyone and their grandma he wants to save Gotham City and the only thing he can think to do is use some of the city’s corruption and fill out pre-signed warrants. Bullock is hilariously right, the plan is bonkers, but seeing him take the slightly higher moral ground adds another great layer to one of show’s better characters. Maybe together they can come up with a better plan of attack, but it was just nice to see Gordon doing something about the corruption instead of just talking about doing something.
Speaking of that chemical plant built over an Indian hill…the Joker is sometimes shown dropping into a vat of chemicals before he turns into the maniacal maniac we all know and love. My usual co-conspirators in the Joker Watch noticed it as well, plus one of them pointed out it would need to be called Ace Chemicals (which a quick Wikipedia search verifies). As usual, help us keep an eye out for Joker references using #JokerWatch on Twitter or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are a few other things:
- Some of that awkward phrasing came back, or at least I noticed it more this week, with stuff like the mayor exclaiming “Jumping catfish!” when Gordon gets in his car or the whole scene with Mooney’s Frankie and Barbara. Or all the stuff about chickens.
- The gun battle in the GCPD was pretty well done.
- Finally, the MCU don’t look like incompetent fools!
- Bullock certainly has no standards when he’s putting his life on the line.
- Bruce’s giant hug for Gordon didn’t really feel earned, as Gordon mostly visits just to tell him everything’s going to be alright.
By now, I’m kind of wishing this show was called Penguin because he’s been stealing the show nearly every week. His story takes a surprising new twist and dissecting his actions for his duplicitous intentions only serves as another reason he’ll be the character to watch. “Penguin’s Umbrella” proved Gotham can step out of procedural territory and pull off an entertaining episode, despite the lack of apparent change.
+ No case-of-the-week
+ Penguin’s twist
+ Bullock joining Gordon
+ Lots happened…
– …but status quo remains
– Mishandling of Barbara
S1, Ep. 12: “What the Little Bird Told Him”
S1, Ep. 11: “Rogues’ Gallery”
S1, Ep. 10: “Lovecraft”
S1, Ep. 9: “Harvey Dent”
S1, Ep. 8: “The Mask”
S1, Ep. 6: “Spirit of the Goat”
S1, Ep. 5: “Viper”
S1, Ep. 4: “Arkham”
S1, Ep. 3: “The Balloonman”
S1, Ep. 2: “Selina Kyle”
S1, Ep. 1: “Pilot“