Monday, January 26, 2015

REVIEW: 'Gotham' - Jim Finally Gets the Precinct's Support & Fish Seeks Vengeance Against Oswald in 'Welcome Back, Jim Gordon'

FOX's Gotham - Episode 1.13 "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon"

When the key witness in a homicide ends up dead while being held for questioning by the police, Gordon suspects that it's an inside job and looks to an old friend for information. Meanwhile, Oswald takes control of one of Fish's prized possessions, as she gets a small taste of her own medicine.

"Welcome Back, Jim Gordon" sees Jim Gordon getting exactly what he wants in the end - a precinct filled with cops who are willing to stand beside him in order to serve justice - but at the cost of having to do business with Oswald. His short stint at Arkham Asylum really hasn't changed the way Jim wants to serve as a detective. He sees the police badge as something that demands respect and the people who wear it should enforce the law and not break it. He's working in a system that is corrupt and stands against him in every way possible. The Captain and Harvey are both regular characters in the police world but they're always reluctant in joining whatever crusade Jim finds himself in on a weekly basis.

The particulars of the case-of-the-week story aren't interesting on their own. But what they represent in the changing dynamics within Jim is somewhat interesting. He has never had a willingness to cross over the line. His determination to do what is right no matter what has gotten him into trouble with the criminal elements and the politicians of Gotham. Everyone knows how to work within the city's system except Jim. He is trying to stand up and make the city a better and more respectable place. He hasn't had a ton of success in changing the way things get done in Gotham so far. He had a failed attempt to arrest Falcone and the Mayor and still hasn't made any progress on the Wayne murder case. Seriously though, when was the last time Jim even thought about the Wayne murders?

However, Jim reaching out to Oswald to get justice and the evidence to arrest a corrupt cop because his fellow detectives don't want to is a major shift for the character. He's even reluctant to do so. He figures Oswald will want a favor in return. That's how I would expect Oswald to react. And yet, he doesn't. Oswald claims to help Jim because they are friends and friends help each other out in situations like this. I still expect Oswald to come to Jim later to pay up for this big favor. But the look on Jim's face at hour's end upon learning what Oswald's guy did to get the evidence Jim needed was horrifying and likely won't lead to any future collaborations between the two.

Elsewhere, Fish was off fighting to stay alive. She first faced torture from Falcone's men. Upon escaping, her first instinct wasn't to get out of town but to go kill Oswald. She still sees him as insignificant. If he hadn't intervened, she would have been successful in her plan to take down Falcone. She blames him for the situation she currently finds herself in. It's a foolish move for her to make. But it also allows her to be a bit more deranged than she usually is. So far, the bulk of her character arc has been trying to methodically plot Falcone's demise. She failed in doing so. She's still alive but she still doesn't have as solid a grip on what's happening in this world as she thinks she does.

That foolishness may have ultimately cost Butch his life. He was the only one who remained loyal to her throughout this entire endeavor. Falcone took him prisoner as well but he was easily able to outsmart the people transporting him. It's a bit incredulous that so much care was taken in moving Fish and the people in charge of Butch are pretty incompetent. Of course, if that wasn't true, the show would have enjoyed torturing Fish too much. The amount of torture that was shown was the most that the story desired. I'm thankful that the show didn't feel the need to torture Fish for an entire hour. Instead it was cut to just a few minutes and it wasn't the primary thing happening with Fish overall in the episode. Butch breaks her free and continues to protect her despite her refusal to skip town. He puts her life first and that is an admirable quality. I don't believe that he's dead. If he was, Zsasz would have just shot him instead of offering up the other option. That's a bit of cheat. Butch's death would have been deserved and the show keeps coming up with ways to keep both him and Fish a part of the narrative. And yet, Fish has actually come to her senses and decided to leave town. She has vowed to return. But a break from that character could be very meaningful for the possible storytelling options offered to the rest of the show in her absent and upon her return.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon" was written by Megan Mostyn-Brown and directed by Wendey Stanzler.
  • Nygma gets some progress with his constant pestering of Ms. Kringle. She thinks his latest gift was actually sweet. Is this story happening just so later she can be killed off and he can begin his turn as The Riddler?
  • Bruce and Alfred also return. They spent some in Switzerland. Upon returning, Bruce wants to know if Selina is okay and has a gift for her. She, in turn, breaks his heart by telling him she was lying about everything. Obviously, she's not but it's interesting that she doesn't want to get too close to him.
  • Speaking of Bruce, he seems to be making more progress on his parents' murder case than Jim is.
  • It's odd seeing Fish and Harvey kiss goodbye considering they haven't had much screentime together. There's frequent mentions that he has a special connection with her but we haven't really seen the physical proof.
  • Wasn't it a bit reckless of Oswald to celebrate with that much alcohol? There were still a few loose ends for him to deal with before officially getting the club right? Also, did Falcone's men not think to warn Oswald that Fish had escaped?
  • Oswald's mother always brings a nice weird energy to the show. However, she really hasn't had that much purpose so far except to show that she's the one person who Oswald actually cares about - beside himself of course.