On the D/L – Gotham

Oct 28, 2014 | Posted by in TV

Season 1 Episode 6 – “Spirit of the Goat”

Gotham takes a bit of a break from all of the gang warfare subplotting and spends some time developing Harvey Bullock, a character who has been in need of much needed attention since the pilot.

The case of the week involves a copycat killer who goes by The Goat tying into an identical case that Bullock dealt with 10 years prior. His MO is to kidnap the first born children of the rich in Gotham, dress them up nicely and painlessly kill them in some kind of homocidal display. Pretty extreme stuff you might think but it’s actually pretty normal for Gotham city.


The Goat threatens Bullock 10 years ago

As the episode opens we see Bullock working the case with his old partner and being forced to kill The Goat. The flashback actually shows us a side to Bullock we haven’t really seen before. Up until now he has always been detached, uninterested or just plain lazy but here we see a younger man who is passionate about his job and cares about what’s right. It’s interesting to see because he obviously can’t have always been the way he is now. It’s also nicely done that the flashback case bleeds into the present day case on an emotional level.

Having an old closed case come back up after a long period of time with a personal connection to one of the characters isn’t a story that is in any way original but it works really well here as it’s intriguing to see two different versions of Bullock. The version that we see in the past is still hardened by his years of service but has shades of optimism about him as well as a level of empathy for the case he’s working on. In contrast the modern version has the qualities I said earlier.

Using the old case brings back the memories of that particular case and reawakens Bullock’s sense of compassion; something that is clearly uncomfortable for him. Donal Logue does a fantastic job of portraying a man who is uncomfortable with his feelings and the added urgency this creates to solve the crime. There’s also a real sense that this case is really bothering him since he felt it was over and done with years ago. Seeing how devoted he is to his injured partner after all these years adds a solid layer of depth to Bullock’s character as well.

It’s a shame that The Goat is the least interesting villain yet. The episode takes steps to establish him as insanely enigmatic with a calculated methodology but he simply doesn’t have enough screen time to pull off anything memorable. The masked criminal angle is something that this show will probably play with a lot but more care needs to be taken here to make it memorable.

One thing the episode has going for it is an interesting twist on the villain that completely works and was a nice surprise. I won’t spoil it here but it was very cleverly done. It also tied into Bullock taking a professional interest in this case which forced him to apply his keenly honed detective skills to work out the answer to the mystery in front of him.

Despite the episode being Bullock’s show there was of course plenty of Jim Gordon to tide us over. A fairly underwhelming scene where he and Barbara begin to reconcile notwithstanding, Gordon had some good story this episode. The fact that he didn’t murder Cobblepot but made it look like he did comes back to haunt him in the form of an arrest due to information from a witness. I can already see lots of potential for this and the final scene where Bullock finds out that Gordon didn’t actually do it is great, managing to raise the stakes nicely and be funny at the same time. When these two characters are left to interact on their own terms the result is gold.


We get it, you’re going to be The Riddler one day. Please stop!

Edward Nygma has quite a sizable role in this episode and I found his use somewhat polarising. Some of his scenes were really good such as the scene where he might be trying to flirt with Kristen Kringle but comes across as a socially awkward creep that she finds disgusting to be around. There is also a real sense that he’s good at his job and that’s why they keep this strange guy around.

What doesn’t work for me is these really on the nose references to his future as The Riddler. Practically his first line of dialogue is a riddle and he drinks out of a mug that has a question mark on it. I get that these easter eggs are supposed to be funny nods to the comic lore but the feel more like headbutts to me. If this referencing was handled a little more subtly then I wouldn’t have an issue with it but so far it has all been so overt that it becomes intensely distracting.

Bruce Wayne’s appearance was brief in this episode and it was actually really pointless. All his appearance served to establish was that he wasn’t fleeing the city despite the fact that he would be a potential target. The glance from Alfred when Bruce said he didn’t have anyone left who would miss him was a nice touch though. Their relationship for the most part feels real but if Bruce had been cut then nothing would have been lost here. I do appreciate that the series is leaving more characters out of episodes though.

  • 7.5/10
    Spirit of the Goat - 7.5/10


The strongest episode of the series yet with better focus on characterisation than we’ve had previously. Donal Logue’s Harvey Bullock gets some much needed development and works nicely as the focus for the episode. It’s great to see a softer side to him in the flashbacks as well as the cracking of his hardened persona in the present. The Goat is an underwhelming villain but there’s an interesting twist in there that I found impressive.

Jim Gordon’s story is furthered in an interesting way with the consequences of his non murder of Oswald Cobblepot catching up with him. Edward Nygma’s increased screen time is pretty good for the most part but the overt Riddler references feel awkwardly out of place. Lastly, Bruce Wayne’s scenes here could have been cut as there’s not much to them other than a touching moment with Alfred. It is appreciated that the show is dialing back the number of characters appearing in episodes though.