Gotham (2013) season 1, episode 5
"Spirit of the Goat"
WRITER: BEN EDLUND
DIRECTOR: TJ SCOTT
AIR DATE: October 27 2014
‘Spirit of the Goat’ takes Gotham in a different direction, lending what at first seems to be a supernatural element to a serial killer in the streets of Gotham City, targeting the first born of the city’s wealthy elite. We open up with a flashback to several years in the past, with a younger Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) and his veteran partner, Detective Dicks (Dan Hedaya) intervening in the actions of a masked serial killer with a goat motif, which results in the death of the suspect.
In the present day, Bullock is disturbed when a murder spree eerily like the first gets underway, even with a key piece of evidence that he and his partner deliberately kept off the record as a tell-tale for copy cats. He and Gordon (Ben Mckenzie) have to track down the killer, which has Harvey shaken up, not knowing what to make of the case. It’s a contrast to see a younger and more idealistic Bullock having some of the same younger cop-older cop dynamics with his mentor as he has with Gordon, both in the flashback and in the present day sequences, in which we see the permanently disabled Dicks giving his former partner advice and attitude
Montoya and Allen arrest Gordon
Other plotlines advance themselves as the story goes along. Gordon is trying to make things right with Barbara (Erin Richards), while the Major Crimes Unit is closing in on him for the murder of Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor). Oswald, of course, is alive, well, and proving to be a devious schemer. How those plotlines come together proves to be a real showstopper.
The writers could have easily gone for the Bruce Wayne in peril angle in all of this, considering the killer is targeting the first born of wealthy Gothamites, and at one point there’s a bit of a red herring as someone intrudes at Wayne Manor, but it’s not what we think. Instead, Bruce (David Mazouz) and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) take a bit of a back seat this time out.
Bullock on the case
A character who’s been largely in the background gets more face time this time out. Edward Nygma (Corey Michael Smith) has been working as a coroner and forensics expert for the Gotham PD, mostly annoying the detectives he occasionally comes in to inform them of his findings (this may one day come back to haunt them). This time Nygma gets more to do, helping along in the investigation by digging into archives, completely misreading the young clerk who oversees things, and driving her crazy by trying to be helpful. Her chewing him out is a moment of levity in a dark episode, and you couldn’t blame her if she wanted to kill him.
For the most part, however, this episode gives Bullock some real attention. Aside from the gruff, corrupt, and slovenly detective we’ve already seen him as, we see more depth to him. It’s a nice touch that he’s paying the bills for his former partner, feeling obliged to do so. It’s a measure of empathy and integrity in a cop who thus far has felt entirely disreputable. Logue plays both sides of that, his gruff exterior mixed with that of a guy who actually cares, and it’s good character development for him.