Season One, Episode Thirteen – “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon”

Gotham-season-1-episode-13-7By Jarrod Jones.  Jim Gordon has sat behind his desk at the GCPD for at least two episodes now (since he was shit-canned to Arkham Asylum for no discernible reason whatsoever), but the thirteenth episode goes ahead and titles itself “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon” anyway. If there’s another indicator that this series does whatever it wants whenever it wants in a consequence free environment, I haven’t seen it. (I’m just kidding. There are thousands of those indicators, I just haven’t the time to list them all here.)

WHAT WORKED: Oof. Very little. I know that it’s easy to kick this show in the ribs when it’s down, but “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon” didn’t offer much this week that wasn’t entirely inconsequential, or worse, just plain stupid. One highlight would be the subplot between Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) and Kristen Kringle (Chelsea Spack), one that offers little support for the series’ overall arc, but succeeds in providing depth to a Batman villain no one ever spends much time thinking about. (Watching Eddie methodically remove onions from his take-out is another wonderful flourish for the man who will be Riddler. I just hope Kristen makes it out okay.)

WHAT DIDN’T: By the end of last week’s episode, Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett-Smith) is at the mercy of Carmine Falcone and shipped off to meet a grisly end from Bob (Michael Eklund), a professional sadist who seeks to put the screws on the Dame of Crime. There’s not a whole lot for that murky subplot to offer, and in spite of the obvious torture-porn detours it could have taken, the episode saves its shocking moments for other unrelated sequences of quick and brutal violence. The “Torture Fish” scene simply went nowhere, and it went there very quickly.

Carol Kane may be a wonderful comedian and character actor, but her presence in Gotham only continues to perplex me. Is there some kind of Oedipal subtext to Oswald Cobblepot’s ascension in the Gotham underworld? Does anyone really want the answer to that?

BEST LINES: Hey — I respond to crises as they arise.” Donal Logue’s Harvey Bullock is always allowed the best lines, and with his sardonic, “aw, fuck you” delivery, his one-liners always hit their target.

BEST MOMENT: Gotham may be a lot of things, but one thing it is not is shameless. And for all the batshit that went down in “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon”, the standout moment in this episode was undoubtedly Robin Lord Taylor’s whacked-out, horrifically-edited drunken dance (?) sequence. When the show finally eschews any pretense of a functioning procedural and goes ahead and gets nuts, there comes little flourishes of transcendent silliness, and Taylor’s wanton abandon sealed that deal for me. (The fact that he came this close to saying “The Iceberg Lounge” out loud was the squidgiest moment for me, fer sure.)

EPISODE’S MVP: With an episode stretched so thin, there’s little time for anyone to take a moment to really shine. That’s why I’m so comfortable in saying that Cory Michael Smith’s Eddie Nygma remains one of the most intriguing characters the show has to offer. His presence never detracts from the episode, and it only serves to create thoughts in my head where Smith dons a green derby cap and a domino mask to take on the future Dark Knight in a daunting battle of wills. (Ooh. I just felt a chill.)

Gotham-season-1-episode-13-1TO THE BAT-CAVE:

– Bob, Falcone’s resident, um, torturer, was played by Michael Eklund, who was totally the Dollmaker in the second season of Arrow.

– Detective Arnold Flass (Dash Mihok) originally appeared in Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s Batman: Year One, and served almost the exact same function in “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon” as he did in the singular 1987 mini-series. Considering this episode’s ending, what impact Flass will have on Gordon’s career in the future either remains to be seen, or – knowing this show – will be completely irrelevant.

– I don’t know if the show’s team of writers either don’t know that Zsasz is a killer who prefers a knife, or if they just don’t give a shit (or, most likely, both), but for a mafia-contracted hitman, Zsasz has the shittiest aim in the history of Shittiest Aim. (Up to and including every Stormtrooper in A New Hope.)

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