GOTHAM 1.13 ‘Welcome Back, Jim Gordon’ Recap

Fish targets Penguin as Gordon takes on corruption in the GCPD.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

GOTHAM Season 1 Episode 13

Episode Title: “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon”

Writer: Megan Mostyn-Brown

Director: Wendey Stanzler

Previously on “Gotham”:

Episode 1.12 What the Little Bird Told Him”

 

As you may have heard, “Gotham” has been renewed for a second season. But even before that happened, it’s future on Fox was assured as long as it continued to attract a sizable audience. That’s really what it all boils down to. The networks only care about ratings, not quality.

Last week’s episode marked a rare uptick in “Gotham’s” quality. Against all odds, there were parts of it that were actually interesting. Can “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon” continue that momentum? Or will “Gotham” slink back into the comfortable mediocrity that has come to define the show?

It doesn’t take a Riddler to guess how this one is gonna play out.


The Mighty Butch

 Gotham 113 Mighty Butch

After being exposed and dethroned by Falcone, things weren’t looking good for Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith). A Falcone family sadist named Bob was given the task of torturing Fish to get a “sincere” apology out of her. Meanwhile, Fish’s right hand man (and currently, her only man) Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell) faced his own imminent execution.

But clearly Butch is some kind of escapist, as he pulled a Batman from the back of the truck and overpowered his captors. Then Butch singlehandedly rescued Fish and he apparently entered Bob’s lair without making any noise… just like the Dark Knight will frequently do a long time after this series ends. Butch’s unlikely heroics were perhaps one of the biggest WTF?! moments of the series to date.

Butch wanted to get Fish out of Gotham City, but she refused to leave until they killed The Penguin, aka Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor).


Wayne’s World

Gotham 113 Wayne's World 

Did you happen to notice that “Gotham” was much better without the weak writing in every scene that features Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz)? Well, the kid is back from “Switzerland” with his trusty butler/guardian, Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee). I don’t even blame Mazouz for Bruce’s poor depiction. The writers on this show clearly don’t know how to make their youngest cast members sound like actual children.

After another forced appearance by future villainess, Ivy Pepper (Clare Foley), Bruce finally got his wish when future Catwoman, Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) visited him at Stately Boring Wayne Manor. Bruce tried to give Selina tokens of his affection and convince her to live with him, but she rejected him and claimed that she didn’t actually see the face of the man who shot his parents.

Dejected, Bruce sunk back into a child’s imitation of Batman, by trying to will himself into becoming a great detective.


Cop In The Hen House

Gotham 113 Cop In Hen House 

Bruce may not have the skills of a Dark Knight Detective at this point in his life, but he’s coming off as a better detective than James Gordon (Ben McKenzie)… if only because Gordon is so clueless that he’s becoming farcical. In a sequence that was funny for all of the wrong reasons, Gordon eagerly met a man willing to testify about witnessing another man’s murder, only to take his witness back to the police station where he was promptly murdered as well.

Gordon correctly guessed that a cop was responsible for the latest murder, but both Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) and Captain Sarah Essen (Zabryna Guevara) warned him not to pursue the case. Could it be that the asshole cop (whom we’ve only seen once before), Arnold John Flass (Dash Mihok) is the man behind the murders? Well, there really aren’t many other suspects, are there?

Meanwhile, Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) continued his romantic pursuit of Kristen Kringle (Chelsea Spack). I find it hard to believe that the writers of “Gotham” don’t realize how hacky this sublot is. When Kristen showed Edward the slightest kindness, he basically did his version of Jim Carrey’s “so… you’re saying that there’s a chance!”


Tip of The Iceberg

Gotham 113 Tip of The Iceburg 

Because Gordon can’t solve the case on his own, he turns to Oswald. Hilariously, Oswald is ecstatic to see Gordon and he welcomed his “friend” into the nightclub formerly owned by Fish. Oswald even seemed to truly see Gordon as a friend and he put one of his men on Gordon’s case. The thug quickly got to the bottom of the case by torturing a cop’s wife before he literally dropped the evidence on Gordon.

But Oswald celebrated his victory a little too soon. Fish and Butch showed up at the club to kill him. However, Oswald’s luck held out as he was saved by the timely arrival of Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) and his small army of wannabe Grace Jones lookalikes. Butch managed to kill one of the henchwomen before he secured Fish’s escape and he stayed behind to cover her exit. Of course, Oswald emerged largely unscathed by the whole thing.


Harvey Goes Fishing

Gotham 113 Harvey Goes Fishing 

The last friend that Fish has in Gotham turned out to be Harvey Bullock. Harvey even showed some romantic interest in Fish as he advised her to get out of town before planting a kiss on her. Fish insisted that she wouldn’t leave Gotham for long, but she asked Harvey to find and help Butch if he is still alive.

Earlier at the precinct, Gordon confronted Flass with the evidence supplied by Oswald’s mob connection. Gordon the self-righteous then shamed his fellow cops until enough of them supported his power play to make Flass pay for his crimes.


Gordon’s Lament

Gotham 113 Gordon's Lament 

However, that smug look on Gordon’s face didn’t last long. Outside of the precinct, Gordon was accosted by the police detective whose wife was tortured to get the info for his case. Gordon looked on in horror as he realized that he compromised himself to Oswald, and innocent people were hurt despite his intentions.

I have no faith in “Gotham” to really examine Gordon’s realization that he engineered the events that led to the torture of a woman. All in the name of justice. But that kind of duality is far too complex for “Gotham,” which will probably dump that subplot halfway through the next episode.

I wish the writers on this show treated “Gotham” like an actual noir story. Watching Gordon suffer such a personal failure could have been a really powerful moment. The way that the scene was filmed also suggested that the creative team on this show thought that they had delivered a dramatic ending. But the tone of the scene was too heavy handed and over-the-top.

Much like “Gotham” itself.