Gotham (2013) season 1, episode 7
WRITER: BRUNO HELLER
DIRECTOR: ROB BAILEY
AIR DATE: November 3 2014
Further and further down the proverbial rabbit hole we go with the latest episode of Gotham, entitled ‘The Penguin’s Umbrella’, and it’s fitting that the Penguin is in the driver’s seat moving the story forward. The previous episode ended with a bang; Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) revealed that he was alive, that Gordon (Ben Mckenzie) did not kill him, and this episode plays around with the fallout. Neither the Gotham PD nor the mob are particularly happy with this turn of events, though the reactions differ from person to person. Bullock (Donal Logue) is particularly unhappy with his partner. Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) is even more incensed. Contrast that with the measured responses of Captain Essen (Zabryna Guevara) on the one hand, and the mobsters Carmine Falcone (John Doman) and Salvatore Maroni (David Zayas).
Gordon and Cobblepot are both the subject of much jockeying for position among the players this time out, but the two are reacting in very different ways. Gordon, who knows he and Barbara (Erin Richards) are in danger, is acting out of desperation, finding allies in the oddest of places, including Montoya and Allen (Victoria Cartagena and Andrew Stewart-Jones). It drives him to take desperate measures to stay alive, confronting opposition on both sides of the law. By contrast, Cobblepot, even while facing down the wrath of his former boss Fish, who wanted him dead, is calm and composed, behaving like a man who knows more than he’s letting on - which in fact he is.
Captain Essen and Gordon
Jada Pinkett Smith’s Fish Mooney (really, what is it with that name?) continues to spin out of control. She does have an ace in the hole, so to speak, in the form of someone she’s inserted into the Falcone household, but her actions this time out are driven entirely by anger and ambition. A dangerous and flawed combination, and the sort of thing that can backfire in the long run.
It’s refreshing to finally see Montoya and Allen stop being antagonistic towards Gordon. We see a shift in that dynamic this time out in the wake of last week, with the two understanding that the homicide detective is in fact innocent, and Montoya in particular makes up for her suspicions in just the right way. In the same way, Gordon shows a measure of trust in the two of them by telling Bruce (David Mazouz) that if something happens to him, Montoya and Allen will continue the investigation into the deaths of his parents in his place.
There’s a familiar face turning up for the first time this week. Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) turns up as one of the Falcone enforcers, and he certainly makes a huge impression. The character is well known to comics fans as a brutal serial killer and frequent antagonist for the Dark Knight. The motif of carving himself a scar on his body for every kill comes into play here. Carrigan plays him as an utterly ruthless, very dangerous sociopath, one who can make an entire police station clear out at a moment’s notice before he can really go to work.
The episode ends on a twist, and it’s a big one. Sufficed to say, the Penguin is coming into his own as a truly devious criminal, thinking ten moves ahead, playing the game his way, and it’s an audacious game. Yet it makes perfect sense with the character, and Taylor’s take on him continues to be a highlight of the series. Well played, Oswald, well played.