“Into the Woods” not only brings Gordon’s frame arc to a close but also features renewed development for other characters like Bruce, The Penguin, and Barbara who will be coming back into Gordon’s life to complicate things in interesting ways.
Robin Lord Taylor
“Mommy’s Little Monster” turns up the heat on the season which is although not revealing more about Galavan’s plan, yet instead is putting the pieces into play for characters to finally take action against him. Soon enough we’ll discover more about Galavan’s evil secret sect and the wicked plans they have for Bruce.
The search for the serial killer known as The Ogre continues with Gordon on edge, convinced that his loved one, Dr. Leslie Thompkins, may be in imminent danger. This turns out to be a very clever misdirect that brings Barbara back into the main story. The episode’s most interesting development comes when The Ogre realizes the truth and is left to consider whether or not he should kill her. At this point Barbara is so deep in her self loathing that The Ogre actually begins to see her as a romantic candidate instead of a simple victim, which makes this possibly the strangest meet-cute on television.
This week’s episode of Gotham follows up “Red Hood” where it seemed as though Bruce’s story and Gordon’s would meet up but instead this episode prolongs the separation another week so that Gordon could make some genuine headway in establishing order in the GCPD. This has been an ongoing process for Gordon in making a change to the corrupt system and the effect he’s had has been gradual as every time Gordon thinks he has effected change he finds that he has only cured a symptom and not the cause. This has been a beat that Gotham has repeated a few times during this second half of the season and it’s almost to the point of being overly repetitive, but it seems as though that this particular promotion to President of the Policeman’s union position may be the level where Gordon can be most effective and the season can finally move on without falling back to where Gordon has no results to show other than new allies.
The new story arc of Gotham continues to build steam by breaking up one major couple, creating curious alliances between heroes and villains, and introducing new players to the game. So far the series has focused on the darker side of Gotham City, with its citizens bringing justice through criminal means, but with “Harvey Dent”, we are shown the other side, with an episode that is a little brighter and a little more fun but that doesn’t lose the edge of the gritty reality Gotham has already established.
The season enters a new arc on Gotham as the fallout of last week’s episode, “Penguin’s Umbrella”, begins to take effect. Gordon tried to take down Falcone and failed, but managed to set an example of what a good cop is capable of and also shed a light on how inactive the Gotham City Police Department is, as none of his colleagues came to aid Gordon against Victor Zsasz. This brings out some interesting development between Gordon and Captain Sarah Essen, who regrets not braving the storm with him. The example that he has set has also affected Bullock, who’s now on Team Gordon, which is a highlight of the episode, in particular when Bullock gives a rallying speech to the GCPD.
This debut season of Gotham has had its ups and downs as the series struggled to find the right balance between theatrical performances and gritty realism, the best stability having been struck in episode six, “The Spirit of the Goat,” a character centric episode. The series finds that balance again with this week’s episode, “Penguin’s Umbrella,” a central serialized episode that brings all of the underlying built up tensions of the past few episodes to the surface. The storm of change has started brewing in Gotham City; causing significant destruction all around with only those who have found themselves under the protection of the Penguin’s umbrella able to survive it.