Gotham "S1E13 Welcome Back Jim Gordon" - Review

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Gotham "S1E13 Welcome Back Jim Gordon" - Review

Welcome Back Jim Gordon – Following Jim’s reinstatement to the GCPD last week he’s already making trouble for himself inside its ranks as the murder of an innocent witness in the police station points to a badge wearing killer. After their mob family coup went south last week Fish Mooney and Butch manage to escape certain torture and death but have one serious act of great vengeance and furious anger to take care of before going on the run.

Now civil service corruption has been a theme in Gotham since the beginning but so far its main focus has been politics and City Hall. Now for the first time we really to see that spread and take route within the GCPD as this DC series sets up its own civil war of good cops verses bad. The episode does a great job of showing this as an embedded cultural staple within the department to the degree that many are afraid to even consider going against it without following the lead of someone with more balls than brains.... as ever Jim’s their man. The climactic show down and public arrest scene within the station is a great “there’s a new Sheriff in town” moment as Jim draws the line in the sand inspiring many to cross it. Yet the battle is far from one sided and it’s great to see that takes more than just good intent to bring down those with dirty fingers rooted into the systems cracks. This is brilliantly shown in Jim’s drug safe house raid as it turns out the dweller crocked cops have a judge signed search warrant for the premises permitting them to remove all goods; the red tape being wielded like Omega Red tentacles to ensnare and suffocate their good intentions. To the degree that Jim must go outside the law to get results as he calls in a favour with Penguin in a delectably creepy “you’re my bff Jim” scene to get the needed evidence. Jim’s suitably shocked when he learns the creative interrogation techniques utilised to get the job creating the fantastic dilemma of Jim needing to become the very thing he seeks to undo. It’s almost like a cycling symbiotic relationship to the cops and criminals; the cops start out with good intentions using lesser criminals to land bigger fish before those lesser fish grow into the new big bad dragging the cops down with them for their past actions. The episode villain, Detective Flass, could well have started out just like Jim those 5 years ago. There’s a also a subtle but crucial allure to last week’s into of Peter Scolari as Commissioner Loeb being all the more significant. A Hot Fuzz worthy (he tripped fell on his own ice pick.... backwards) sudden suicide diagnosis is coloured with his prints all over it “a ruling this quick means the commissioner was involved”. Loeb could well turn out to be the shadowy figure behind all of Gotham’s civil ills but even if just a lesser figure we can certainly look forward to Jim clashing with him more in the future.

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The other big story of the week is aftermath of Falcone rumbling Fish’s she snake in the grass to see her all her efforts come to ruin. Fish’s defiant verbal sparring with the torturer Bob (presumably Silent and Sideshow’s cousin) is very enjoyable and it’s almost a shame to see it over so quickly. At first when both Butch and Fish have busted free barely 10 minutes into the episode the alarm bells start ringing again for Gotham moving too quickly rather than spending the proper time with an interesting story development. However, this one we can let slide. It’s fair to say that no matter what happened they weren’t going to be captives for very long and Butch is even stated as being on his way to the incinerator; therefore a quick escape was required. Butch must be given a surprising MVP nod for this episode as his loyalty fuelled compassion towards his main lady is nothing short of commendable and crucially it’s enough to genuinely make us care what happens to him now that Zsasz and his gals have taken him away. Though the real payoffs of this the storyline come from Fish & Penguin confrontation. As usual Robin Lord Taylor is on exquisite form as he revels in taking ownership of Fish’s club complete with creepy impromptu birthday party for his dear (and less annoying this week) old mum. Yet the look on his face when Fish walks back through that door is just excellent, not to mention the grovelling and frantic scheming that follows. Once again we brilliantly see him try to work yet another angle to is advantage as he tries to side with Fish against Falcone again. Every time we think he can’t slither anywhere else he slaps us with a new allegiance and for that we love him. Fish’s departure from Gotham will be sorely missed (and more than some expected) but the prospect of her returning with a vengeance either at the climax of season or the newly commissioned second is one hell of a tantalising prospect.

Unfortunately several smaller character plotlines are badly mishandled this week. After being absent since before Christmas, we finally catch up with Alfred and Bruce but in a rather unsatisfying manner. The whole point of their return was seemingly to give Bruce and Selina Kyle a Blink 182 level bust up; who were making for such a great young character pairing. It leaves us with Bruce re-committing to junior detective duties and Kyle now carrying no current plot relevance. It’s very worrying signs that Gotham’s show runners really don’t know what to do with these characters. Then there’s Nigma pinning over Miss Kringle which while gets a few laughs is just almost a flat repeat of last week. We need something to happen here. Either make them a couple or have Nigma tragically scorned but stop wasting screen time on endless “will they/won’t they?”.

So overall it’s a mixed episode of great handling and promising developments of main storylines but poor squandering of those supporting. After coming along so well in its December climax Gotham is showing agonising signs that it could be drifting into inconsistent territory again. What it really needs now is a solid episode and with the next two titles set to introduce Doctor Jonathan Crane and Scarecrow it could find just the kick it needs to have us saying welcome back Gotham.