Gotham (2013) season 1, episode 11
WRITER: SUE CHUNG
DIRECTOR: OX SCOTT
AIR DATE: January 5 2015
After a mid-season break, Gotham returns with the new episode ‘Rogues' Gallery’, picking up some time after we left off. Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) has been demoted after calling out the mayor, and is being punished by being assigned as a guard at Arkham Asylum. A series of attacks on inmates is underway, and Gordon finds himself looking into it, despite the wishes of the director, Gerry Lang (Isiah Whitlock Jr., The Wire). This brings him back in contact with his former partner, Bullock (Donal Logue), who’s happy to see him. It also introduces a familiar figure in the history of the Batman into the series: Doctor Leslie Thompkins, played by Morena Baccarin (Serenity, Firefly). It’s a bit of a culture shock seeing a character we associate with being older and matronly like Leslie as, well... very attractive as a young woman.
The investigation carries on, and the two partners find themselves exploring more than one secret and more than one suspect as they go along. Meanwhile, the episode advances several plotlines, while giving characters a rest. I think this is the first time we haven’t seen Bruce and Alfred in an episode, for instance, but that’s not really a bad thing - there’s only so many times you can see the boy Bruce mentally or physically preparing himself for something that’s still years away.
Jim Gordon and Leslie Thompkins
Gordon’s personal life is in a state of upheaval even while he’s largely absent from it, and that’s part of the subplots this time out. Barbara (Erin Richards) finds her relationship with Renee (Victoria Cartagena) at an end, so soon after they started up again (and so soon after she took a break from Gordon. Montoya’s conscience gets the better of her, and we sense this time the breakup has a finality to it. I’m enjoying Cartagena’s take on Renee whenever we see her - she’s tough but has heart, is a woman of principle and passion, and has a lot of spirit. Erin Richards’ performance as Barbara is also compelling, but the character herself is rather self-absorbed and troubled. It certainly doesn’t help for Barbara and Gordon that she misinterprets the situation when calling Gordon at home, she instead gets Ivy on the line.
Speaking of whom, another small subplot picks up. Selina (Camren Bicondova) comes across Ivy (Clare Foley) again, not feeling well, and takes her to Gordon’s place to recuperate (how Gordon affords such nice looking digs is another matter). It’s a good nod to the characters as a whole - in comics continuity Catwoman and Poison Ivy have sometimes been at odds, but other times have been closely tied and even on good terms.
The Mob picks up the rest of the episode, and in a couple of ways. Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), still with her eyes on her own ambitions and still thinking of ways to supplant Falcone, is dealing with one of her fellow lieutenants, Jimmy Saviano (John Enos), seeing him as a threat to her own ambitions. Her right hand man Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell) is sent to negotiate with Saviano, and the interest in this subplot is not in Mooney’s hubris, but in what Butch is going to do. We can imagine him going in more than one direction - betraying his boss and holding onto old loyalties represented in an old friend, putting himself in a position to seize power himself when the time comes, or being loyal to his boss. The way Powell plays this is rather close to the vest, so we’re not sure what path he might take.
And speaking of hubris, the other side of the Mob occupies our attention this week. Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Taylor Lord) overreaches his place and finds himself for a time behind bars for it. It’s all a lesson from Maroni (David Zayas) meant to remind him where he stands in the larger scheme of things. We get why Maroni would do this, and seemingly the lesson is learned, and yet as we’ve already seen, Oswald is a very devious Penguin, and fated to rise to the top of the organized crime scene in Gotham City, surviving the Falcones and the Maronis, at least in the comics. Putting Oswald in his place would rate as a mistake.