Review: Gotham 1.07 – “Penguin’s Umbrella”

Finally, Gotham has done it. This is by far the best episode of the show so far, and that’s mainly because we focus on fan-favorite villain, Oswald Cobblepot, aka The Penguin. Now, I’m not saying the show is perfect and flawless now, because that is not the case. However, it has made infinite strides to being a better, more interesting and more complicated show, thanks in part to the plot of this episode and the character development of Mr. Cobblepot.

**** SPOILERS BELOW ****

Tonight we get to truly see that all of Gotham is, actually, squarely under the sneaky thumb of grand snitch master, Oswald Cobblepot, himself. He has a crooked, limpy swagger and knows how to use people against each other. First, there is Fish. She is super-glass-smashing mad when she finds out Jim didn’t kill Cobblepot. She orders her lackeys to bring Jim to her alive!

Fish isn’t the only one pissed at Jim though, Harvey is livid! Harvey starts to beat Jim, pulling a gun on him and threatening to take him to Falcone. Jim begs for his help, but Harvey is not having it. Oh, stupid Harvey, get over it! You know Jim is your guy.

Gotham 1.07 barbButchFish’s men have broken into Jim and Barbara’s loft apartment. Main lackey, Butch, is too busy tormenting the scared Barbara to realize that Jim somehow came into the apartment without anyone seeing or hearing. Classic incompetent goon behavior. Jim shoots one of the guys and escapes with Barbara, telling her she has gotta go. Cut to: a bus station. Jim is sending Barbara away on a bus. YAY! Please leave Gotham, Barbara, and never come back. Spoiler alert: she isn’t gone for long. She professes her love for Jim and it just doesn’t ring true. Jim is gonna make it right and save the city. That should be his catchphrase that he MUST say to anyone he encounters. Bye, bye Barbara. Don’t miss you at all!

Over in mob city, Fish is still pissed, telling Falcone that everyone should die: Maroni, Cobblepot, Jim. Her “enemy” Nikolai hates to agree with her, but does. Falcone is more concerned with chickens for some reason, but promises his man, Victor (Anthony Carrigan), will get Jim. Nikolai tries to caress Fish’s ass and wants to strike now, but Fish senses that something is up. Plus, her “weapon” Liza has only been cleaning and cooking for Falcone so far. He is acting strange. Hmm.

Gotham 1.07 fishNikoAt the police station, all of the cops seem weird and shady as Jim goes about his day. When the Captain arrives, she calls Jim out, asking why he is still in Gotham and tells him that no one will help him, not even her. But he shan’t leave, he will fix this city! Oh, Jim. In come some baddies, a bald, non-eyebrowed almost albino man and his two leather clad henchwomen. He announces that he is Victor Zsasz and he is here for Jim Gordon. If only more people were that straightforward, things in Gotham would be much simpler. Zsasz calls for all the cops to get out and they do. Wow, Gotham PD is terrible. If Jim survives, things are gonna be awkward at work the next day. The captain even leaves after Jim tells her to get out. Things get harried and even though the goons are supposed to take Jim alive, a gunfight breaks out! They even shoot Jim!

Jim manages to escape down a stairwell and then hides in a parking lot. Thanks to the bad timing of an innocent policewoman, Jim manages to make a run for it. Suddenly a car bursts around the corner. It’s Detectives Montoya and Allen. They are saving Jim! Finally, they do something right. Zsasz isn’t too upset. He goes over and shoots the begging, injured policewoman and then carves another cut into his arm: his 28th. Good for him. At least he’s got a hobby.

Later, Jim wakes up in some laboratory. A woman, Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Mekia Cox), is presiding over him and assures Jim that she is a friend of Montoya and Allen and that he is going to be okay. But, Jim being Jim, he has to go now! He tries to stand up and walk away, even though he is recovering from multiple gunshot wounds. Nothing will stop him.

Gotham 1.07 fishmadMeanwhile, Fish pays a visit to Maroni to personally ask him to hand over Penguin. She doesn’t want to go to war over him. Maroni doesn’t understand why she is so interested in taking Penguin back and she explains its because he disrespected her and Falcone. Maroni calls out Penguin, who has been watching from the kitchen. The tension is palable! He fake apologizes to Fish, but she ain’t having it. She calls him a “scaly faced bitch” and promises to do terrible things to him. This all amuses Maroni.

But, Maroni isn’t laughing when Fish’s men kidnap some nuns and chain them across a bridge to prevent Maroni’s men from delivering their gun supplies. Why they used nuns, I have no idea. Maroni is pissed! How’d they find out? Penguin says they could just pay them off, but no one on this show likes the easy way out, especially Maroni. He is not a fan of subtlety in the least. Penguin knows where to go.

Meanwhile, out in the dark woods, Montoya finally apologizes to Jim for all her tomfoolery in the past six episodes. What a relief that that storyline is over. Glad to know she and Allen aren’t complete idiots after all. Suddenly, Alfred appears, holding Allen to the car with a knife. Ah, so they are at Wayne Manor. Jim introduces young Bruce to Montoya and Allen and tells him they will help solve his parent’s case now, because Jim doesn’t know what is going to happen to him. Young Bruce has a fit, asks to be treated like an adult, and then hugs Jim goodbye. Aw, young Bruce, such a pity you are trapped in your house every episode.

Penguin (who I now notice has his little own music theme) and his cronies, including Frankie, head to a warehouse where Nikolai and his men are playing cards. They burst through the door and shoot everyone down dead, including Nikolai. Maroni’s right-hand man, Frankie, expresses his true unfriendly feelings about Penguin and starts to beat him. The mob scenes in this show are like a comic book, cheesy version of the real, gritty Boardwalk Empire mob scenes. Penguin tells Frankie there is no loyalty among thieves and money may be Frankie’s greatest passion, but alas, it is also is greatest weakness. The two other henchman turn on Frankie and hold him as Penguin stabs him to death. Oof, dark.

Later, Falcone and Fish meet with Maroni and Penguin to lament the loss of their “family” members. Falcone calls for a stop to the violence and doesn’t want to go to war. They talk about some real estate issues, but I am too distracted by Fish’s fierce gaze and Penguin’s giddy smirk. Maroni wonders about Jim because as he tells Falcone, “There is nothing more dangerous than an honest man.” Maroni speaks truth for once.

Well, where is Jim? At his apartment. Not being obvious at all. In fact, he is prepping the biggest gun I’ve ever seen. A knock at the door. It’s Harvey. He’s drunk and with a lady friend. Apparently, Harvey had a change of heart and is going to help Jim now. Jim is planning to arrest the mayor and Falcone on conspiracy charges. He wants Gotham to know the truth. This should be interesting.

Gotham 1.07 jamesThe next day, Jim and Harvey walk down the street in broad daylight with their guns held high and immediately arrest the Mayor in his limo. HA! That was easy. Then, using the mayor’s limo, they arrive at Falcone’s estate and attempt to arrest him. Falcone laughs in their face and then reveals to Jim that he has Barbara in his backpocket. Jim thought he had nothing to lose, but I guess he loves Barbara too much to sacrifice her. Such a shame.

Barbara is indeed in Falcone’s clutches, tied up in the kitchen with Zsasz and Falcone’s lady friend, Liza, who is baking muffins because, why not? Falcone brings in Barbara and releases her to Jim. The mayor excuses himself, as Falcone tries to decide their fate. It seems Barbara, being the idiot she is, did not leave Gotham, but, instead, came to Falcone to beg for him to spare Jim, and once again proves she is the worst character on this show. If Jim didn’t have Barbara around, his life would be so much easier. Falcone decides to release them because he admires a brave woman. Ok, I’m not really buying it.

Later, Barbara cries and Jim comforts her and BLAH.

Here comes the real meat of the episode. Falcone goes outside to check on his chickens and is approached by Penguin. We get a flashback to the day they first met and discover that Penguin is triple-crossing everyone and is secretly working for Falcone. They planned the deaths of Nikolai and Frankie, plus the “planned murder” of Penguin by Jim. Whoa, this makes things interesting and exciting. Twists are fun! Penguin also told Falcone about Fish and Nikolai’s secret affair/plans. And apparently, Falcone spared Jim just now because Penguin asked him to. But why? It seems there is a lot more going on than we all once thought.

Things really came together this week. Instead of a one-off random episode, it really tied in all of the characters and storylines into a succinct, tight plot. We can only hope that Gotham can keep this up and deliver more episodes like last night.

Comment below and let me know what you thought of this episode. Can’t we all just agree that Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin is just about the best thing about this show? Can he be the main character instead of Jim? Just saying!

Gotham airs on FOX, Mondays at 8/9c. Watch full episodes on FOX.com.

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Post Author: Ben Fleck

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