The intensity of Fox’s ‘Gotham’ is beginning to step up rapidly week-by-week as the serialised nature of the show really begins to pull all the various threads together.
Where Fox is actively pushing shows like ‘Sleepy Hollow’ to move away from the serialised structure to allow audiences to dip in and out ‘Gotham’ is continuing to forge ahead with the mob war storyline that pulls all of the major players in to the action.
For a show originally billed as an origin of the city which would feature the future Commissioner Gordon in the lead role the show has spent a great deal of time and effort developing the role of Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin. From the outside Robin Lord Taylor’s performance as the eventually owner of the Iceberg Lounge and regular foe to Batman has been applauded. Who’s side is he on? What is his endgame? Can he really turn in to the evil Penguin we know from the comics?
The writers have created a great dilemma for the audience in that, if you are like me, you really like Cobblepot. He can be pretty hapless at times and he loves his mother dearly but there’s a spark of evil in him which really concerns me for his future even though I already know in intimate detail where he’s going to end up.
This week Penguin ends up in the thick of the action by revealing that he has been working for Falcone all this time, ratting out on Fish and her plans to overthrow his empire. For weeks Penguin has been circling the periphery of the show having dealings with Gordon, working for Fish, being a police informant etc… but now he’s beginning to show that the knowledge he has provides real power and having power in ‘Gotham’ can make you a major player.
Jim Gordon actually takes a bit of a backseat this week, shipping Barbara out of the city only to later find her held hostage by Falcone after returning to plead for his life. Granted he is injured after the GCPD shooting for part of this episode but ‘Penguin’s Umbrella’ is really about putting him in the backseat and allowing the world around him to take centre stage.
Barbara has been underused so far in the show, sadly at this stage her uses are restricted to damsel in distress or upset girlfriend but we know that eventually she needs to come in to her own as the mother of Batgirl and not to forget the distinctly disturbing James Gordon Jnr whom I hope the show is able to explore at some point although that would require a bit of a time jump.
That begin said Barbara has a fair amount of screen time in this episode and Erin Richards proves her acting skills amongst the bigger names.
Anthony Carrigan casues a real splash as Victor Zsas in this episode. His scenes within the GCPD are a highlight of the series so far and hopefully his character will stick around thanks to his recurring status. We know the character isn’t going to be killed off otherwise he won’t be around to go toe-to-toe with Batman himself but the threat this show has is that some of the bigger villains could find themselves shipped off to Arkham or Blackgate taking them off screen.
The Falcone’s and Maroni’s of the ‘Gotham’ world are still a little lacking in depth but they’re scenes are coming together to develop a well structured, slow burning story about the mob underbelly of the city which works perfectly in the context of the Gotham from the comics. None of the problems that the city are facing can really go away until Batman arrives, Gordon and the GCPD are only fighting fires until the city realises it needs a hero like Batman and the writers are handling it brilliantly for a show in its infancy.
This episode is somewhere of a slow goer compared to recent instalments but that’s always going to be the case in serialised shows such as ‘Gotham’.