Gotham is a hard show to trust. At one moment, everything can be going perfectly well as plot threads entwine, action intensifies, and relationships strengthen. Last week, Gotham was firing on all cylinders. Long laid traps finally sprung and long-deserved vengeance was dealt. Gotham’s second act seemed to be starting off strong. Then “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon” happened.
The whole episode, the third after the show’s holiday break, is dramatic Ambien compared to the fast-paced, well-knitted plot from last week. New characters are introduced that the audience has never even heard of, but are still supposed to care about what’s happening to them. “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon” is textbook filler with only small moments in between moments that forward the overarching story in any meaningful way.
Gotham’s 13th episode splinters into two parts. The first is a fresh, new murder/drug conspiracy that Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock are tasked to solve while the second is the fallout from Fish Mooney’s failed takeover of Gotham’s underworld. The first plot thread is merely just narrative static between Mooney’s appearance on screen but at least those moments feel connected to what’s been going on in the series.
Mooney is in a bad situation, on the verge of exacting the ultimate price for her transgressions against Falcone. She’s wheeled down to some warehouse murder dungeon where a sociopathic “interrogator” (read: torturer) slowly begins his bloody work. Kind of. Ultimately he does a lot a posturing and gives a few long-winded speeches before spitting up blood through broken teeth on the warehouse floor. It’s because while he was busy basically doing nothing, Mooney’s right-hand man, Butch, busted up his own murder detail and discovered Fish’s location, saving her just in time before murder man went Hostel: Part II on her.
Butch and Mooney’s relationship is now officially interesting. At the show’s beginning, the two were always jovial with one another, and there was a sense of respect between them, but nothing that showed this depth of loyalty and self-sacrifice. This is the second instance Butch has killed for Mooney, and viewers still don’t really understand why. Did Fish do something for Butch in the past that has made him the Chewbacca to her Han Solo? Or are his interests more sexual? Who knows! It’s not necessarily a question that Gotham should have answered yet, the not knowing is part of the fun after all, but hopefully it is a question the show writers will address with future episodes.
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