Gotham has been on a steady rise since it’s started, but it’s frankly taking way too long to get to what I’d consider “good” instead of “passable” or “mediocre.” Will episode 4 be the one to ramp up the quality so that I can actually enjoy this show instead of just waiting for Penguin to show up? Yeah… I doubt it too. Still, there’s only one way to find out and that’s to keep on reading!!
The episode begins where the last one left off, with Gordon just about to crap his pants. At least I think he is. Gordon’s acting is just as non-expressive as ever, so it’s hard to tell.
Barbara can’t tell either and thinks that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this weird guy coming to their doorstep uninvited and claiming to a buddy of your boyfriend, who has just broken out into a cold sweat. Oswald then goes on to introduce himself to Baraba with a fake as hell sounding name (Peter Humbled) and is trying to be nice to both her and Gordon. Gordon has other plans however and walks Oswald outside where he then proceeds to threaten to murder the guy. It’s a bit much considering how much of a fucking straight arrow Gordon is, but it DOES come across as a hollow threat so I’ll let it slide. Oswald explains that he only came to him out of desperation and that a war is going to happen soon between the rival mobs, the catalyst of which is going to be the rebuilding of the Arkham district. Oswald is a bit cagey with the details here, but he proposes is to be a rat for Gordon so that he’ll have an advantage when the criminals start to make their moves. He doesn’t ask for anything specifically in return, but I’m guess he hopes to rebuild what ends up being destroyed when the crime families go to war. Gordon is obviously skeptical about the whole thing, but before he can refuse Oswald’s offer, some random people start dancing in the street which distracts Gordon long enough for Oswald to run off. I’m sorry, WHAT!?
Yeah… I’ve got nothing. I mean, the closest thing I can think of are those gangs from The Dark Knight Returns which were based off of Batman’s rouge gallery, but isn’t it a bit early in the timeline for freaky teens to be roaming the streets of Gotham? Anyway, we then cut to our villain of the week who’s following the dumbest politician in the world.
The villain confronts the politician (along with his aide) in a parking lot. He opens his brief case and puts his weapon together in front of the two, claiming it to be some invention he made. He hands it to the aide, the dumbass looks right down the fucking barrel, and you can probably guess what happens.
The guy gets stabbed in the eye by a retractable blade inside that thing that looks kind of like an off brand Sonic Screwdriver. Okay, fair enough. It’s somewhat innocuous looking and gets you one free surprise attack. The thing is, he also uses it on the politician instead of just… you know. Stabbing him. Why!? I’m pretty sure your spring loaded stick isn’t gonna have the same kind of impact that just stabbing the fucker would have! I’m proven right about this because the politician is still standing after the initial stab and manages to make it all the way to a nearby elevator before getting stabbed again by the retractable blade. I gotta say; it’s defiantly a step down from last week’s killer who used weather balloons.
The case lands on Gordon’s and Bullock’s desks (naturally) but oddly enough the captain doesn’t seem too interested in investigating it.
Who the hell half asses the investigation of a politician’s murder? We cut from there to Fish Mooney, and for once she’s actually doing something that might be interesting. She’s interviewing a performer, which is nothing particularly new for her, but this time she asks more probing questions. It seems that Fish is looking for someone to groom into a super criminal to be her ace in the hole when she makes her move against the big mob boss she works for (Falcone). I’m guessing this means that at some point, she’ll have a B list Batman villain as her right hand man (so to speak).
Back at the station, Bullock is wrongly accusing some street punk of killing the councilman and his aide which naturally goes fucking nowhere. Gordon’s already exasperated by Bullock’s laziness, so he goes to his desk to find that someone has left information about the plans to redevelop the Arkham district. Here’s where things get a bit complicated, but in a good way. Basically, the Waynes had a plan to redevelop the area and build a brand new asylum. Once they died, Falcone stepped in to support the plan and will make a lot of money through the contracts. However, there is another plan on the table now that will give another mob boss (Maroni) most of the contracts instead of Falcone. So the politician was killed because Maroni wanted to tilt the balance of the vote for the Arkham redevelopment in his favor. See, this is interesting. It’s not OVERLY complex, but it’s a good start for some interesting developments that you can THEN put a bunch of wacky comic book stuff on top of! I wish they thought of that for the assassin though because he’s definitely not as interesting as Balloon Man from the last episode. Speaking of which, we cut to later that night where he has another councilman who he’s kidnapped and taken to the old and abandoned Arkham Asylum. Unlike the last one, this guy’s death is intended to send a message on top of affecting the vote but in the opposite direction. This means that the killer is actually a freelancer who’s being hired by both sides.
The next day, Gordon and Bullock arrive at the scene of the crime. Bullock once again shows us his utter brilliance by not realizing right away how the death of two councilmen (one of which in front of the most noticeable feature of the Arkham district) MIGHT just have something to do with the vote.
Trust me. It gets even stupider. Edward Nigma (the CSI expert of the Gotham Police as well as future Jim Carrey role) informs our detectives that all the victims have very distinct puncture wounds. Hold on a second. The killer goes to the trouble of burning his victim alive, yet still uses his stupid little spike stick thingy? Furthermore, WHY THE HELL WOULD AN ASSASSIN HAVE A DISTINCTIVE WEAPON!? Why would you WANT to have a fucking calling card for the crimes you commit? Congratulations dude, the cops now know that you’re responsible for all three killings! Bullock for once has something to contribute which is a contact in jail who knows a few hit men. Unsurprisingly, the guy can tell them exactly who it was considering how unique the weapon is. What actually IS surprising is that not only is the name he has the guy’s ACTUAL name (Gladwell), but this guy who’s locked up in jail somehow knows exactly what building the dude works in! WHAT!?!?
This is one sorry ass assassin. Almost as bad as the protagonists in the Assassin’s Creed games. THAT’S RIGHT!! I SAID IT!! Gordon and Bullock go to said building and start asking around for Gladwell.
Gladwell gets wind of the cops imminent approach and runs off to the nearby supply closet. Gordon’s not too far away and starts to search the area while Gladwell gets his stupid spike thingy ready.
Then the show does one of those clichés that I REALLY hate. Gordon’s still looking through the fucking storage room, but then Bullock calls him over to the guy’s desk. Instead of just taking another fucking minute to look through the room, he turns around and leaves the killer to make his escape. COME ON! That’s so fucking overplayed!! So Gordon goes to see what Bullock found, which actually turns out to be some incriminating evidence.
The dumbass has clippings of his victims in his draw!? WHY WOULD HE EVER HAVE THOSE, LET ALONE AFTER HE’S ALREADY KILLED THEM!? HE’S A HITMAN! NOT A SERIAL KILLER!!! This guy is just really soft balling it for the cops, am I right? Of course, the guy escapes while the cops are dicking around at his desk, so we cut from there to Bruce waking up from another nightmare. It’s the middle of the day dude, doesn’t he have school or something? After his night terror, he asks Alfred to get him all the files about the Arkham redevelopment plan because he wants to find a connection between the murdered councilmen and his parent’s deaths. Wait, you mean besides the fact that all of them were centered on Falcone? That’s not enough for you to go on? Whatever, we cut to something interesting next anyway. Three goons in pantyhose masks rob the restaurant that Oswald Cobblepot is working at. If you recall, the restaurant is also a front for Maroni’s mob to conduct business, so there’s a lot of money to be found in the place. It goes by way too quick, but it’s probably the best action scene in the show so far because it reminds me of the opening robbery from the Nolan film. Come to think about it, it’s probably the first time I’ve actually thought of those movies since this series started. Huh. Anyway, Maroni’s men arrive soon after to assess the damages, and they find Oswald in the freezer clutching a bag of money which he hid from the robbers.
I still think Oswald is the best part of this show, and he continues to show his tenacity and drive to succeed in this world. It was a big risk to try and hide that money, but he wants to stand out to Maroni’s men. It’s too bad we have to follow this awesome scene with one of Gordon and Barbara (the latter of whom has yet to leave the apartment yet since the show started). She’s being passive aggressive at him which leads him to ask what’s up. Turns out she’s still stewing about the whole “Montoya says you killed someone” thing. Now admittedly that information could be damaging to a relationship, but considering who it came from (an ex-girlfriend with a history of abusive behavior) I was hoping she’d let the whole thing go. No such luck, so Gordon has to dance around the fact that he didn’t kill someone but was supposed to. At some point the conversation turns around so that Barbara has to confess that Montoya and her dated, and the scene… could have been worse. No real conflict about the whole “woman woman” thing, but he DOES pull a “You lied to me” out of fucking nowhere.
Barbara is still the weakest part of the show and just doesn’t deserve to have this subplot. People talk shit about Skylar from Breaking Bad, but those people are morons because we watch from her point of view how her life is completely crumbling around her. Barbara? She only exists to do whatever the plot needs her to, whether it’s encourage Gordon to do his best, do stupid shit in the name of THE RIGHT THING, or give him the cold shoulder because maybe a cop can’t say everything that he’s had to do. I don’t know what they plan to do with her to make her any more bearable, but they better do it quick. We cut back to the restaurant where Maroni has arrived and is super pissed. He wants to hit Falcone hard, but it’s not entire clear how (something about a mouth). Maroni also talks with Oswald and promotes him to the restaurant’s manager, seeing as how the other one was filled with bullets. It’s a nice moment for Oswald who’s continued struggle for power is always enjoyable to watch, but it’s still kind of hard to buy that Maroni would give this kid such a huge promotion considering he’s just a dish washer. I can understand appreciation, as well as good faith gestures for showing such loyalty, but it still seems a bit much considering how important this restaurant seems to be to Maroni.
It feels more like a way to advance the plot a few steps than an organic series of events is what I’m saying. Back at Gotham PD, Bullock is informing Gordon that they checked Gladwell’s apartment and found the dead body of the REAL Richard Gladwell who’s been dead for five years. Hold on, there’s been a dead guy in the dude’s apartment this entire time!? Did he actually LIVE IN THERE with the dead body!? WHY THE HELL DIDN’T HE EVER GET RID OF IT!? What the fuck is going on!? Okay, so the killer’s name isn’t really Gladwell (which makes it even MORE baffling that he’d use the same fake name for his job applications as he does with his hired killings), and that chances are he has at least one more target according to some piece of paper the cops found at his place of employment.
Harvey goes to see Fish to see if he can scrounge up some answers as to who the killer is, and we see that Fish is interviewing another person. Not as talented as the last girl, but at least twice as crazy. While Bullock is off getting jerked around by Fish, Gordon gets a call from Oswald who has some information for him. Actually, he tells Gordon stuff he already knows like “One of the mobsters hired the hit man to kill someone else!” Not very helpful, but for some reason it gets Gordon off his ass and finds out that the next target is the Mayor. Gordon goes there to try and get the Mayor out of the city, but before they leave the assassin stops by. Gordon and the killer have a decent brawl throughout the Mayor’s house, but once again the killer proves how much of an idiot he is.
Congratulations Gotham. I didn’t think of this situation that would make his weapon perfect, yet you still managed to not take advantage of it. Bullock comes to the house at the last second (naturally) and gets the guy off of Gordon. The killer tries to lunge for the Mayor though, so Gordon and Bullock are forced to take him down. I get the feeling that no one is going to miss Gladwell as a villain. We cut to the next day (I think) where… HOLY CRAP!!! BARBARA IS OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!!
She’s there to basically throw an ultimatum in the guy’s face which is basically “Tell me about Oswald Cobblepot, or I leave.” He chooses to keep it a secret (not a completely unfounded position considering the LAST time he told her something important she went and blabbed to the press about it), so she walks out the police station. Okay, so how long is this going to last? Granted, I’m a bit happy that we’ll hopefully have a few episodes without the show’s worst character, but she’s not actually going anywhere. We already know she’s going to stick with him because this is a freaking prequel! Are they going to make her more LIKABLE when she returns? I very much doubt it. We then go to Fish who’s at a warehouse with the two finalist of her contest thingy who have to fight each other for the position. Oh hey! I just got reminded of Nolan again!
The one on the left wins the fight (less talented but more crazy) so now we have to guess which lower ranked DC bad guy she looks most like. We then cut to the three crooks who robbed the restaurant who get a visit from a certain someone.
So it turns out that Cobblepot staged the entire robbery in order to get some cash as well as good will with Maroni. I love this twist that only further shows how awesome Cobblepot is. Yet it gets undercut significantly by how stupid and silly the crooks are. They never explain why the hell they thought it would be a good idea to rob a mob establishment? Furhtermore, Cobblepot was broke so it’s not like he PAID them to do it and I doubt any smart criminals would take robbery advice from the bus boy. They get even stupider when Cobblepot presents them with a few cannolis which he himself refuses to partake in. This guy must have picked the dumbest fucking crooks in the world that were somehow still competent enough to pull off the heist. I guess that just goes to show how perceptive Oswald is. Sure, let’s go with that. Before the obviously poisoned conolis have their desired effect, we cut to the Mayor who’s revealing that the contract will basically be split down the middle instead of one side getting it all; Low income housing for the most part, a waste disposal facility, and repurposing Arkham Asylum instead of building a new one. Considering how everyone is reacting, this is supposed to be a bad thing for Falcone and a good thing for Maroni, but I’m still not sure exactly how. Bruce is angry about it (I’m not sure exactly what he wanted) but Gordon reassures him that this will keep tensions from flaring up between the two families which will postpone the inevitable war for at least a little bit. That’s basically the end of the episode. We get a small bit where Oswald is carrying off the money left by the now dead criminals before cutting to the credits.
As usual, the Penguin stuff continues to be the most interesting part, but I’m disappointed that the weekly villain was so week compared to what we had last time. This hit man was just freaking terrible with his stupid weapon and sloppy business practices. I was hoping that the strength of this show would be the super criminal of the week, but considering how bad they were this week, I’m worried that Balloon Man was an exception rather than the rule. Everything else is as it’s always been. Gordon’s boring, the cops are stupid, and The Penguin is the only thing keeping this show alive. This show needs to realize that it can be ridiculous without being stupid, and the sooner they figure that out the better.