Tuesday, November 04, 2014

My Review of Gotham's 1x07: "Penguin's Umbrella"

Written by Bruno Heller
Directed by Rob Bailey

Oswald (to Falcone, re Gordon): “Don’t worry, he’ll see the light, one way or another. I guarantee.”

For those who felt like the show has been treading water for a bit, well this episode helped to shake things up a bit. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was a game changing episode as such but the reveal of Oswald working with Falcone all along was the best twist the show has pulled off so far and yet, it was also signposted as well.

Fish herself noticed how relaxed and unconcerned Falcone actually was when it was revealed that Oswald was alive and Falcone himself could’ve used greater force on Maroni had he had actually been that desperate to get Oswald back. The fact that he didn’t only foreshadowed the final moment of this episode.

I love that Oswald will literally do anything to survive. Falcone told Fish that dying men were honest back in the second episode and in flashbacks to the first, Oswald’s honesty spared his life along with the fact that he could use Gordon’s morality to his own advantage. In other words, Oswald has become an even bigger problem for everyone around him, including Falcone himself.

If Oswald can orchestrate both Frankie and Nikolai’s death so easily, then both Falcone and Maroni need to pay better attention to their golden goose. Fish’s reaction to him being alive was particularly delightful to watch though. She definitely knows how to maintain a grudge and she’s rightly scared that he’s still breathing. If she knew that Falcone was on to her, she’d be even more scared.

Speaking of Falcone, the series really has done wonders with him so far, haven’t they? While he might be unaware of Liza’s motives (or is he?), he certainly knew how to get Gordon on side. When Victor Zsasz couldn’t get him to come to Falcone of his own volition, having Barbara used as bait to get Gordon to back down was the next best thing.

Which leads to my problem with this episode – Barbara. I really like Erin Richards but at this rate, Barbara is not being served well by the show and is coming across as Lana Lang levels of useless at times. Gordon tried to get her to leave Gotham after Butch intimidated and she ended up being used leverage by Falcone instead. The show really does need to find a way of integrating her better into the plots or just write her out of certain episodes.

As for Gordon’s attempts to the right thing – it was a mixed bag. He failed to get the Mayor and Falcone arrested for their cover up in the Wayne family murders but he did get himself allies in Renee and Crispus (the former who actually apologised to Gordon), managed to get Bullock on side and even Essen seemed somewhat empathetic towards his plight if actually powerless to help him out though. Realistically he was never going to be able to clean up Gotham, but at least he’s starting to get a little bit more support though.

Also in “Penguin’s Umbrella”

This episode had Oswald referred to as Penguin more than usual. It’s great but is it perhaps a little too early?

Essen: “Are you insane?”
Gordon: “No. Maybe a little. Feels good. They’re gonna try and kill me anyway.”

The fact that Essen mentioned her family should hopefully mean that she’s going to get some more significant character moments in later episodes.

Victor: “I’m here for Jim Gordon. Only him. Everybody else, mind your own business and we’re cool.”

Gordon: “There are fifty cops here, try something.”
Victor: “Everybody out! Please!”

Victor Zsasz, delightfully played by Anthony Carrigan (he’s killed 28 people) – I definitely want to see more of this guy.

Oswald: “I’m sorry you feel that way, Fish.”
Fish: “Only my friends call me Fish.”

Which begs the question – what is her real name? In fact, we are somewhat due a bit more back story on the character now.

Oswald (to Frankie): “Love conquers all.”

Maroni (to Falcone): “There’s nothing more dangerous than an honest man.”

Both Nygma and Selina were missing from this episode but Bruce and Alfred were introduced to Renee and Crispus for one scene. The scene with Bullock and his date was also pretty funny.

Bullock: “I figured I’m doomed so I might as well join the good guys.”
Gordon: “Thank you.”

Standout music: Anyone notice a slight change in music for the title sequence? Also the fact that Zsasz has “Funkytown” as his ringtone is funnier than it should be.

Falcone (to Gordon): “I have my faults but I am no liar.”

Chronology: From where “Spirit Of The Goat” more or less left off.

Now this definitely was more like it. “Penguin’s Umbrella” might not be a huge game changer in one sense but it was definitely a turning point for the series and one that should hopefully see a tighter focus on things. There are still some characters in desperate need of fleshing out (Barbara, Essen, even Fish to a point) but overall, this is the best episode we’ve gotten so far.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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