On the D/L – Gotham

Jan 27, 2015 | Posted by in TV

Season 1 Episode 13 – “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon”

I had an overwhelming sense of deja vu when watching this episode of Gotham. Jim Gordon is back to work with the Gotham City Police Department and investigation corruption within the organisation.

We already had this episode a while back for the most part. The story beats here were pretty much the same from the investigation leading Gordon to look to his colleagues before culminating in some of them rallying behind him. In general I didn’t find this episode to be at all interesting or surprising.

There was a definite feeling of business as usual about this episode. While not being great the previous two episodes felt a little different in terms of setting and situation. Arkham Asylum at least provided some interesting visual changes to freshen up the series a bit but any of the good work done there has been largely undone by this episode. What was the point in taking such a profound detour if the show is going to return to the same tired story structure so soon?


Penguin in the spotlight

We are introduced to Batman character Arnold Flass (Dash Mihok) in this episode and from his first second of screen time it’s clear that he’s going to be the criminal of the week. No attempts were made to establish any humanity about the guy at all and every scene he has he looks and acts like an unlikeable slimy character. This level of one dimensional characterisation is all too common on Gotham and it consistently leads to me figuring out the cause of the problem in the opening minutes and spending the rest of the episode waiting for the idiotic characters to catch up.

To contrast with this Gordon is self righteous to the point of being annoying in this episode. The way he’s written is to always be right no matter how ignorant to the consequences he really is. There are reasons why his colleagues turn a blind eye to some of the corruption around them and the sooner he understands the route cause of things the better off he’ll be. For the moment he’s simply rushing in with no thought of what cage his actions might rattle. This would be fine if I felt like he was learning something from these methods and it was clear that he’ll have to make changes and compromises of his own but that’s simply not happening here. Each week he rushes in and acts like his morality is absolute which means he will win. It’s not adding a lot of depth or intrigue to the internal politics of the Gotham City Police Department which is a shame as there’s lots to mine there by contrasting Gordon’s naive approach to the reality of working in Gotham City.

I found the Penguin story in this episode to be a little odd. Scenes involving him and his mother are awkward at the best of times but it was particularly unsettling here. I liked the idea of him taking control of Fish Mooney’s club but his first night in command could have been handled much better here. I do like the idea of him having power and authority and I look forward to seeing where the show goes with this. His strained partnership with Gordon seems to be one way this could actually turn out to be a decent story.


Gordon takes a stand

The scene that started off promising Fish being tortured was a complete waste. It looked like Fish had a plan to manipulate her torturer Bob (Michael Eklund) but the opportunity was squandered when Fish was saved by one of her henchmen. It would have been far better to see her turn the tables in an intelligent way rather than relying on someone loyal to her. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like the Gotham writers are good enough to write a solid manipulation scene like that.

It wasn’t all a disappointment. I really liked the scene where Bullock helped Fish as she went on the run. The show has had them be close allies in the past with a mutual respect for one another so this moment rang true and gave us a rare genuine moment for two of the characters.

I also really liked the scene where Jim was begged to spare the crooked cop’s family showing that they see him as being some kind of uncompromising and scary individual who is out to destroy them. I wonder if this is the beginning of Gordon gaining a reputation as a guy not to be messed with or if it’ll be forgotten by the next.

Oh yeah, Bruce Wayne and Alfred were back this week. Not much to say other than them adding so little to the episode that they probably should have stayed gone for a while longer to allow them to find something useful to do.

  • 4/10
    Welcome Back, Jim Gordon - 4/10


A really underwhelming episode of Gotham that awkwardly retreads ground that has already been covered earlier in the season.

The corruption plot was handled with a complete lack of subtlety and made the guilty party completely obvious seconds into his appearance. It’s a symptom of a complete lack of sophstication when it comes to the handling of Gordon’s morality standing against the corruption in Gotham City.

Other aspects of the episode such as Fish Mooney’s torture sequence came across as a complete missed opportunity as the easy solution was used rather than some compelling character moment showing Fish Mooney’s skills at manipulation.

Penguin being in charge of Fish Mooney’s club has him in an interesting position where has has authority over others and more influence than he has ever had. I look forward to seeing if this will develop over the course of the next few episodes.

In general, Gotham has completely wasted the opportunity brought by shaking up the status quo when Gordon was sent to Arkham Asylum and has quickly returned to the playbook it has been using up until now. It feels like it is sticking to an established formula a little too rigidly which prevents it from becoming truly compelling.