Every good show has that one episode. The one that somehow transforms you from a casual viewer to an obsessed fan permanently crossing certain weeknights at certain hours off your social schedule. This specific episode, the one that really gets its hooks under your skin, was something Gotham desperately needed. The show was meandering, filled with similar villains and predictable plots that made it hard to be genuinely excited for Mondays at 8/7 Central. But after the 45-minute thrill ride of tonight’s episode, “Penguin’s Umbrella,” it’s about time you started planning evening television into your Monday routine.
From the opening moments outside the GCPD to the final seconds near a rain-soaked chicken coop, the seventh episode of Gotham is unrelenting. Riding momentum from last week’s episode, when detectives Montoya and Allen’s misinformed arrest falls apart with the Penguin’s sudden appearance, the GCPD is in complete disarray. Bullock’s pissed, Mooney’s pissed, and Gordon’s pissed. Everyone is pissed.
The only person who seems to be having a splendid time this whole episode is Oswald, even though his appearance at the police station makes little sense. Wasn’t his “death” along with his insider info on Mooney and Falcone what was keeping him in Salvatore Maroni’s good graces? How did he know to even go to the GCPD at that exact moment? Also, did no one even attempt to detain him and ask him some questions, chief among them being, “Why aren’t you dead?” The Gotham police force is not known for being the peak of law-fighting perfection, but this all seems pretty obvious.
Regardless of any lapses in procedure. This episode soon turns into a Jim Gordon versus the world deathmatch as he prepares to steel himself against the coming wrath of Falcone and a promise not kept. First order of business, getting Barbara out of town. Of course, the criminal element is one step ahead with Mooney’s goons using Barbara as a pseudo-hostage. In this episode, Mooney’s main henchman Butch gets unprecedented airtime. While acting like a grade-A sleazeball in Gordon’s apartment and during all his other nefarious goings-on throughout the episode, Butch’s character feels somewhat one-dimensional—not so much a thug as an actor obviously trying to play a thug.
Gordon eventually punches Butch’s horrible acting right in the face and whisks Barbara away to a bus station where he buys her a one-way ticket to getoutofheresville. Gordon’s affectionless pleading with Barbara at moments felt like the writers’ own pleading breaking through. “Yes, Barbara. Just go. Get out of this episode, so we don’t have to worry about you.” With her pleas for Gordon to leave with her falling on deaf ears, Barbara reluctantly boards the bus and exits stage left. Now, Gordon sets to work.
NEXT: Scum and Villainy