Mommy’s little monster has never been my favorite villain. We’re talking, of course, of the Penguin. Though Robin Lord Taylor’s portrayal of the character is wonderful, he’s never been a baddy I could get behind. While that still remains true, Taylor’s portrayal of the current ‘leader’ of Gotham’s seedy underbelly this evening was something to be reckoned with.
His despair as he held his dying mother in his arms after the only compatriot he knew he could always trust betrayed him was not only believable, but made those of us who aren’t on the bad guy wagon feel for him for just a moment.
The theme for this season of Gotham has been ‘Rise of the Villains’ and last week we got a fun little montage going through all of them in moments of despair. This week continued what those few moments gave us a glimpse of. After Penguin’s last fleeting moments with his mother, we move on to a broken Ed.
Nygma’s story is one that we all knew couldn’t end well, but it was hard not to hope for the guy. The Gotham writers made him such a beloved character, with the help, of course, of Cory Michael Smith’s depiction of the troubled genius. After killing Kringle, we see his dark side come back, and start to torture him with riddles. Though I care a great deal for the ‘good Ed’ character, I squealed with joy when I saw that first riddle card.
Gotham City, a place where ‘you stole my dead girlfriend’ doesn’t even make you blink. Poor, poor Ed, but it all worked out for him in the end. Now, it may not be ending great for the citizens of Gotham, because as it stands, Mr. Nygma has embraced his darkness.
Then we have Selina Kyle. Catwoman has always teetered on the edge of moral ambiguity, but these past few episodes we have seen her being violently shoved to the path of darkness. From Alfred slaps, to Bridgit’s ‘death’ to Bruce’s idiotic hormonal teen impulses, we’re watching her move from ‘street rat’ to the villain that she will someday become. Perhaps Silver’s jibes on her looks and smell will push her more in the direction of the Cat burglar with a love for the finer things in life.
It’s important in a show like Gotham to show our favorite heroes making mistakes. We’re seeing them in the days before the Batman, so they can’t be where they were at the point of those stories. While this is vital to a show like Gotham’s credibility, it’s also important to find some sort of balance. I was right on the verge of irritation with Jim’s choices before they brought me back around again. With Bruce, I’ve pretty much just accepted that he’s going to infuriate me the majority of this show, but with Jim, I have hope.
Gordon’s missteps are nice to watch because with each one of them you see him moving closer to becoming the commissioner of Gotham City, but that fierce righteousness that Jim Gordon has fuels my love for this show more than anything. That and him squirming. It’s amazing to think that this completely un-smooth man has kids. Jim and Lee’s relationship is a wonderful thing, and I love that it is there, and it is relevant, but it’s not a focus.
Seeing Jim finally come around to the fact that Galavan is an evil twit is something that I needed in a very real way. Not only have Jim’s choices been mostly poor this season, but Galavan getting away with everything with no one questioning him was physically painful. I still think he’s a boring character, but playing the hero while having secret motives grinds my gears more than most things. Jim also voiced concern with Captain Barnes’ support for Galavan’s plan of martial law. We’ve talked about Barnes’ inability to see gray, and each passing episode has shown that it will likely be his downfall.
With the other villains and the return of Jim’s senses, we also got more Zsasz. While I’m very impatiently waiting for his move to knives vs guns, the shootout was awesome. Good cops with big guns is one of the best things in life. Sure, they weren’t hitting anything and it was pointless, but, big guns. This scene does have me really concerned for Butch’s safety, considering he spilled Galavan’s secret. There’s something about the character that makes me really love him.
The big showdown tonight illustrated some cleverness on the Penguin’s part, and it was nice to see him willing to get his hands dirty. Cunning only gets you so far, but when you go in guns blazing, you’re likely to get shot. Shot Penguin was, and get away he did. I look forward to the eventuality of the Penguin being in a situation he can’t wriggle out of, but in the meantime, I have the moral standoff between Jim and Theo to get me by.
One of the things that makes Jim Gordon such an amazing character is that he wears no mask. He has no cowl, or cape, or body armor to hide behind. Jim Gordon looks straight into the face of the villains and tells them not in his city. “Desperate times” meant so much more than those two words, and the showdown is coming.
- Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith’s portrayals of Penguin and The Riddler respectively. Stellar performances from both actors
- Butch. The complexity of the character makes me happy, and Drew Powell brings real life to the character
- Lee making Jim so perfectly uncomfortable
- Shoot out!
- Riddler cards!
- Hormone driven Bruce (this isn’t something I would change for the purpose of the show, just something I’m not in love with)
Overall I give this one a 7/10. I don’t have any real complaints, and it was definitely an upswing from last week’s episode!