GOTHAM Season 1 Episode 7
Episode Title: “Penguin’s Umbrella”
Writer: Bruno Heller
Director: Rob Bailey
Previously on “Gotham”:
For a few weeks, I’ve been hearing that the seventh episode of “Gotham” is where the series would turn itself around with its first “great” episode.
“Penguin’s Umbrella” didn’t quite live up that hype. But there were a few moments of actual tension… that were later undercut by nonsensical character turns and an out of left field twist.
Where’s Batman when you need him?
A Man Alone
Upon the very public revelation that he didn’t actually kill Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) finds himself ostracized from his fellow officers and on the receiving end of Harvey Bullock’s (Donal Logue) wraith. Bullock takes it kind of personally when he learns that his friendship and partnership with Gordon was predicated on a lie. Because Gordon failed to pull the trigger, both of their lives are on the line and he warns Gordon that he had better not see him again.
When Gordon gets home, he finds that two of Fish’s men have taken Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) hostage. Gordon manages to subdue the two men, but now the love of his life is also endangered by his actions. Gordon convinces Barbara to leave town while he attempts to find a way out of this mess.
Meanwhile, Oswald is living it up as Sal Maroni’s (David Zayas) golden boy… or should I say “golden goose?” Although it was a strangely stupid moment when Maroni failed to recognize the sound that geese make. That said, it was fun to see Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) seethe in anger as Maroni had Oswald offer an insincere apology to her.
Fish is so willing to start a mob war over Oswald that Maroni places even greater value in him. At Oswald’s behest, Maroni arranges the murder of Fish’s lover and fellow crime boss, Nikolai (Jeremy Davidson). And when Maroni’s second in command tries to eliminate Oswald as well, he learns that Oswald has already bribed his men before “The Penguin” murders his competition to continue his rise in the Maroni crime family.
High Noon At Gotham PD
In a kind of ballsy move, Gordon shows up at work as if nothing happened. Gordon even tells Sarah Essen (Zabryna Guevara) about his quasi-suicidal plan to arrest Mayor Aubrey James (Richard Kind) and Carmine Falcone (John Doman) with some pre-signed arrest warrants… which were hilariously handed to him by a cop who had spares.
But before Gordon can enact his plan, Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) shows up with two henchwomen straight of an ‘80s Bond movie and he demands that Gordon come with him in front of the entire police force. When Gordon refuses to give himself up, Zsasz orders the rest of the cops out before starting a gunfight with Gordon.
Gordon is hit multiple times while trying to escape, but he finds unexpected help from Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) and Crispus Allen (Andrew Stewart-Jones).
Montoya and Allen get Gordon some medical attention at one of the local universities. Later, Gordon and Montoya have a half-hearted reconciliation, although she’s probably thinking that she can win back Barbara if Gordon gets himself killed.
Because he expects to die, Gordon goes to Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) to introduce them to Montoya and Allen. Bruce sees through Gordon’s attempts to make the situation seem less dire and he hugs Gordon as he says goodbye.
Change Your Sheets
Out of nowhere, Bullock pops up at Gordon’s apartment with a woman he calls “Duchess.” Somewhere offscreen, Bullock decided to back Gordon’s “play” because he could at least die as one of the good guys. It’s a pretty forced character turn that needed more scenes to be really convincing. But it’s almost worth it for the way that Bullock takes Duchess into Gordon’s bed and soils the sheets.
Sometime later, Gordon and Bullock do their best Untouchables impressions when they strongarm the mayor into giving them access to Falcone and a chance to arrest him. Falcone takes their appearance in stride before telling them that Zsasz is holding Barbara hostage. Gordon surrenders without proof of Falcone’s claims, but it turns out to be true.
Rather than kill them all, Falcone allows Gordon, Barbara and Bullock to leave. However, he cautions Gordon that he will soon see that Falcone was right all along.
Falcone and Maroni make their peace with each other, and Falcone gets a piece of Arkham in exchange for Oswald’s life. Sometime later, Oswald catches Falcone alone outside of his home and reveals that their plan is working.
In a flashback to the night depicted in the pilot episode, we see that Oswald bargained for his life with Falcone by offering to snitch for him from within Maroni’s organization. But the deal required Gordon to spare his life; which wasn’t a given. Falcone is convinced when Oswald tells him that Fish and Nikolai were conspiring against him.
The biggest issue here is that it’s a truly terrible plan that relied on coincidence. Too many random details (including Gordon’s mercy) had to fall in place to make it happen and it just screams “retcon!” as a way to justify itself. Some of Falcone’s actions make more sense now, since he’s allowing Fish and Maroni to believe that he’s weak while still holding the upper hand.
But Oswald’s side of the plan makes no sense, especially when we learn that Falcone only spared Gordon at Oswald’s behest.
This wasn’t the game-changer episode that “Gotham” desperately needs, but at least it wasn’t completely mediocre. Although I doubt that Fox will be pulling that quote to promote the show anytime soon.
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