Despite a few admittedly cool moments, tonight’s episode was a stark reminder why Gotham remains on the bottom tier of the comic book based TV front.
The inconsistent writing was especially lousy this episode as characters made sharp 180s from decisions they made just a couple of weeks ago.
Chief among them was Gordon having second thoughts a week after endorsing Theo Galavan. Gordon shares his doubts with Theo to Bullock breaking down all the holes in his story. On one hand, I’m glad someone finally sees through Theo’s facade, but it makes Gordon look even more clueless for backing him so quickly in the first place.
Satisfying the female death count for the week, this time Mrs. Kapelput gets offed. Butch led Penguin to her holding cell only to learn it was a trap sprung by Theo and Tabitha … and Butch, who’s now free of Penguin’s mental conditioning. Tabitha plunges a knife in Mrs. K as Penguin cradles her until she dies.
I should feel bad that a main character’s mother got offed, but Mrs. K was a silly goofy player on a show already full of them. Plus, she was a weakness for Penguin and if there’s any salvaging this season it’s going to be with a non-distracted Penguin.
Before Theo can finish off the Cobblepot clan, Penguin slashes him across the neck long enough to get away. That was a very TV-esque move as there’s no way Penguin wouldn’t have killed Theo even if it meant dying himself.
Is there any way a jazz number accompanying a search for a dismembered woman’s hand isn’t funny? Wait, I’ve got that wrong. There’s absolutely no way the search for a woman’s body could remotely be amusing, but darned if “Gotham” won’t give it a try.
After doggedly trying to make the Nygma/Kringle pairing happen practically every episode last season, having him kill her off and chopping up her body is a pretty crappy subplot payoff. It’s even worse considering the writers try and play it up for laughs. At the end, Nygma’s personalities merge, but this is still a decidedly different take on The Riddler.
Selina pops by Wayne Manor to talk to Bruce, despite Alfred slapping her and warning her to stay away from him. Silver effectively marks Bruce and tells Selina to back off else something bad happens to her. Over lunch, Selina calls out Silver, effectively driving a wedge between Selina and Bruce. I’m fine with Bruce being played like this because he’s a kid and cute girls can make a guy make dumb decisions.
Selina is starting to become as poorly written as Laurel on “Arrow,” constantly making idiotic decisions despite being portrayed as much smarter. Selina is the dumbest street smart kid on TV these days. As Silver kisses Bruce and slyly smiles that her part of the plan is going well, Selina sees it all from a ledge because no one in Gotham closes their curtains.
Jessica Lucas is nuclear hot, but Tabitha is such a weak, one-note character. She wants to kill and cause mayhem, but it doesn’t seem like we’ll be getting any explanation for her wackiness anytime soon.
Onto the worthwhile events. Gordon and Bullock track down Butch as he’s ready to launch his own crew, but Zsasz is ready to get some payback for his boss. Zsasz is undoubtedly the coolest character on the show by a wide margin and this shootout was an episode highlight.
Butch reveals Galavan pulled Penguin’s strings and made him go after the mayoral candidates, but doesn’t share that Mrs. K is dead before Zsasz mounts his attack. Fortunately, Butch’s men left behind their heavy machine guns, which Gordon and Bullock use and blast away. I wanted to see an exterior shot to show how much damage the cops did to the city and if they managed to kill any of Zsasz’s crew with their shooting.
Gordon doesn’t have time to consider this new information before it’s time for the inaugural ball and Theo’s victory lap. The threat of Penguin surfacing doesn’t bother him since he’s got all of GCPD at his beck and call.
Penguin is still one of the smarter characters on the show as he has his men dressed like him and even walking with a limp. Tabitha can only take out so many from her sniper position before getting spotted by Martinez. RIP Martinez. I had such high hopes for the GCPD Strike Force, but they keep getting punked out anytime they face any real opposition.
With the chaos around them, Gordon leads Theo out to his car only for Penguin to arrive. In one of the better acted moments of the season, Penguin tearfully explains everything to Gordon, who agrees Theo has to be brought to justice though not this way. In another TV moment, Tabitha has a shot at Penguin, but only clips his shoulder and as Gordon and Bullock fire at her, Penguin gets away.
Theo makes another ridiculously over the top speech and gloats to Gordon, who has no problem saying he’s going to bring Theo down. Last season, the crooked police commissioner sent him to Arkham and fired him. Does Gordon think the crooked mayor isn’t going to top that?
Rating: 5 out of 10
Penguin finally loses his Achilles heel and Gordon finally smartens up, but the convenient TV escapes, the wacky resolution of the Kringle subplot and Theo remaining ahead of everyone remain frustrating.
Photo Credit: FOX