Gotham "S1E12 What the Little Bird Told Him" - Review

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Gotham "S1E12 What the Little Bird Told Him" - Review

A certain Spider of Westeros is supposed to have little birds all over the place telling him all manner of pervasions and secrets. Nowadays we just call in Twitter but the principle is still the same; you hear something good, something you really shouldn’t and you’ve just got to squawk it out to someone. In Gotham the words of our favourate waddling bird have been known send a few spiders pouncing and this week is no exception.

What the Little Bird Told Him – After his escape from Arkham last week, Jim goes on the trail of Jack “The Electrocutioner” Gruber in the hope that it will get him his old GCPD job back. Meanwhile things get more unstable in the Falcone crime family when Fish Mooney makes next move in her game of mafia thrones (in which you win or you get concrete shoed).

This week’s episode marks Gotham’s closest venture so far into full blown comic villain territory with Gruber and his mindless meaty accomplice Helzinger now on the loose in the city. Their entrance actually manages to top the last episode’s Tempest as the pair stroll through the streets in full blown rubber suited bulky strapped on equipment glory. They’re clearly either villains or devoted fetish club members (possibly both.... they’re fresh out of the joint so it must have been a while). Gruber even has his own evil lair setup to boot! While this doesn’t jeopardise the show’s overall detective led premise it’s still great to see it having fun with its comic heritage like this every once in a while. Ultimately the usage of this character delivers both sparks of excitement and occasional fizzles of discontentment. Firstly, full credit to Christopher Heyerdahl who exacts every ounce of voltage out of his dialogue. His classic hero/villain standoff bantering with Jim in the climax is quite awesome as he cuts through Jim’s motives like a knife. Next despite the scale of the GCPD set piece Gotham manages to tread the fine line of stretching the limits of believability but not breaking them for some really entertaining moments and shocking take downs. Yet after all that great work, Jim’s Wicked Witch of the West finishing move..... weak, just weak; a complete anti-climax that hopelessly missed its mark to feel like a poor cop out. If Gotham is to really become the show we all want it to be these are the things it really needs to do better.

Dr Leslie Thompkins impressed last week as much as anyone played by the delightful Morena Baccarin should do and here we see her delivering Jim his much needed prescription. The great chemistry between the pair was begging for a romantic arc and now this episode makes that clearer than a sky bound Bat Signal. Its only drawback may be its connection to the current comic series phrase of death “love triangle”. Many feel that these are both too heavily present and poorly handled in the current DC and Marvel offerings (though I wouldn’t completely agree) and this week’s token Barbara scene confirms she’s driving stick once more towards the direction of becoming Mrs. Gordon. Which leaves us with one really big problem; unless Gotham has a serious act of source material heresy up its sleeves this can only end with Barbara on top. Yet right now she’s easily the least liked character on the show and many would rather see Oprah Whinfry catch Ebola than Barbara beating Leslie to Jim’s affections. This leaves Gotham with two options, both quite tantalising if they get them right. Either the writers somehow make Barbara interesting enough for us to love. Or Leslie takes a villain turn out of the equation. The later seems the far safer bet but we’ll just have to see which gal gets the Gordon. Elsewhere on the affectionate front Edward Nigma seems to be doing worse with Ms Kringle than Tyrion Lanister in the high jump. Did you get the cupcake riddle? His final moments are more than a little curious. He appears painfully shunned by his paramour; could this be the beginning of his dark descent?

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As for the ever raging Gotham mob wars, this episode finally delivers the season long tease of the Fish Mooney mafia coup on Don Falcone. The results are quite mixed. The civility of early negotiations is surprisingly impressive and enjoyable as Fish’s plan revolves around giving Falcone an easy chance to exit out of respect for the man he is and was to the family “I owe him at least that”. You have to love the idea that even in betrayal a sense of honour still remains. Yet the ultimate play out of the Liza storyline is largely unsatisfying. Firstly, we’ve barely spent any time with her and Falcone in recent episodes so their relationship has lost much of its significance and neither are we invested enough to care about Liza’s fate. Although the moment of couple reckoning between the pair is good overall the big Fish/Falcone confrontation we’ve been waiting so long for was to all extents rather dull. We’ve been egged on dreams on the streets running red with blood in a takeover massacre.... we didn’t get so much as a squib. The one positive we can and should take away from the resolution is that it has taken certain characters to much unexpected places for the next few episodes and if those prospects can deliver most here will be forgiven.

On a final note, though the main Jim storyline is satisfying from an episode point of view, from a series wide perspective it merits a Wrath of Khan level frustrated scream..... for the second episode running they’ve killed a promising plotline before it barely began! Last week what could have been a character enduring gender preference relapse for Barbara lasted just half an episode. Now after being so excited about Jim being sent to Arkham and how that would play out of the series we see that transform into a single week excursion as he’s back on the badge. While we undoubtedly have not seen the last of that asylum’s walls this really feels like a major disappointment. Again there is a mild silver lining with the introduction of and Jim’s confrontation with Police Commissioner Loeb. Jim’s solemn whisper of next man who tries to take away my shield, one way or another I’ll make him eat it” pledge that we will be seeing these two going at it again in episodes to come. What’s more he also gives off a bit of a villain in waiting vibe. We could well see him become a key player in Gotham’s corruption.

It’s an inconsistent episode that while delivering some highs defeats itself by squandering long running plot lines. Gotham needs to deliver better rewards than this episode for viewer diligence less it’s just renewed second season become a very lonely affair.

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