Gotham Episode 13 Review: Caution- Spoilers Ahead…

See reviews of Gotham’s previous episodes:
Episode One
Episode Two
Episode Three
Episode Four
Episode Five
Episode Six
Episode Seven
Episode Eight
Episode Nine
Episode Ten
Episode Eleven
Episode Twelve

Gotham continues its streak of being part good and part bad. This week, fortunately, it errs on the side of good, though not before stumbling through a rather embarrassing first half hour.

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Every Gotham episode tends to have an enticing hook, and this episode starts with perhaps the most enticing of all: the brutal torture and eventual murder of Fish Mooney, a character responsible for much of the lackluster moments of this series. Alas, before we can enjoy Mooney’s deserved fate, her trusted henchmen Butch is able to escape from his conveniently forgetful captors (After parking outside a factory with Butch in tow, one thug tells the other to go get Butch because “I got to find the keys to the incinerator”). After Fish suffers some creepy torture antics to please the fetishists, Butch arrives to rescue her from an embarrassingly cliché torturer dug up from a Direct-To-DVD Hostel sequel. Once free, Mooney embarks on a quest for revenge against the character who has foiled her plans to derail both Carmine Falcone and this TV show: Penguin.

Meanwhile, Gordon is digs himself into yet another fight with the Gotham Police Department. It all starts with the friendliest of old, kind, trusting black men coming into the precinct to describe a murderer. Alas, the very same old, kind, trusting black man is murdered at GCPD headquarters, and just two weeks from retirement at that. Gordon has a hunch that the sinister Detective Flass is behind this, partly because of his shady past with racketeering and partly because anyone remotely familiar with comics or Batman Begins knows that the character Flass is bad news.

In order to get hard evidence against the protected Flass, Gordon turns to, surprisingly, Penguin. At this point, Gotham takes a very much needed turn into unpredictability, as the squeaky clean Gordon has to finally call in his underworld connections. It’s good to see Gordon showing the darker, desperate edge that made him so interesting in “Penguin’s Umbrella”. Of course, this will most likely lead to Penguin extorting Gordon in the future, but that’s part of the fun of watching these characters finally grow.

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Speaking of growing, Penguin finally gains some solid capitol in the form of Fish Mooney’s nightclub. The first night of his tentative lease is spent entertaining his mother and drunkenly crooning to an imaginary audience. The Iceberg Lounge this is not, however, as Mooney crashes his party and roughs up both of his kneecaps while she’s at it. Surprisingly, Penguin shows a bit of spine against his former boss, whose luck runs out when Zsasz shows up in the knick of it to capture Butch and run her out of town. Mooney’s death would have made this a better ending (can you tell I’m not too fond of the character?) but Penguin’s moment of growth is a deliciously dark foreshadowing of the monster he’s destined to become.

Another interlude is the return of the Selina Kyle/Bruce Wayne subplot, which sadly takes the predictable plot route of “Everything I said was a lie” and “I never liked you at all”. It’s a shame to see the best romance of the show halted by such a tired and true excuse. To be fair, it’s refreshing to see a young Bruce Wayne be both awkward with girls and unintentionally entitled with money (When Bruce offers to let Selina stay at his house because “She’ll have somewhere better to live” you can almost taste the Ivy League snobbery coming off of his tongue). And besides, the two characters who will become Batman and Catwoman can’t stay apart forever, can they?

There are a few other odd ticks to this episode (I purposely have left out the Riddler’s romance out of this review in the desperate hope that it will make it go away), but the thrilling punch of the second half is quite enjoyable if you can get through the plodding, formulaic intro. Chalk this up as a win for Gotham, as Fox has finally aired their first legitimately good Gotham episode of 2015.


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