Review: Gotham, Ep. 7 "Penguin's Umbrella"

Review: Gotham, Ep. 7 "Penguin's Umbrella"


Season 1, Episode 7

“Penguin’s Umbrella”

Rating: B+

It seems like ‘Gordon as a dirty cop’ is a line that is pretty much done at this point. After he is taken into custody, as he stands trying to tell the Major Crimes officers that he is innocent, in walks Cobblepott, smug grin and greasy hair. This is a pretty upsetting development for Harvey, and Gordon begs him to work with him to bring down Falcone, Maroni, Mooney, and anyone else involved in the crime families of Gotham.

Gordon wastes absolutely no time in pursuing this line, immediately asking Captain Essen for arrest warrants for Falcone and all of his associates. This is moments before a bald man walks into the police station. Victor Zzasz has arrived in Gotham.

I know how tiring it must be to read my constant comparisons to the comments, but you’ve got to understand that the source material is important, especially when talking about these intricate, often interconnected universes involving comic books. DC is building a universe on the small screen, and Gotham is sticking out like a sore thumb in all of that. It wouldn’t be all that bad if they weren’t so insistant on either utterly changing everything about a character, or bringing in villain after villain with no Batman around to inspire the changeover to costumed crime.

As for Victor Zzasz, you immediately know where they went wrong with him when he says he works for Don Falcone. Victor Zzasz is a sick, sick man. One of Gotham’s most notorious serial killers, Zzasz is actually a great choice for the world of Gotham. He’s not all wrong, he’s still got his little urges, and this is early in his career as a killer, so it’s highly possible that he’s just finding his feet and picked a career that would allow him the blood he so badly needs.

When Zzasz kills someone, he carves a tally mark into his arm. This is his need, and the driving force behind his killings. Later in life, when he finds himself facing the Batman, he is practically covered in ‘the mark’, as he calls it. The Mark is the most important thing in Zzasz’s life, and I’m glad to see Gotham kept that in, as he drags a boxcutter down his arm after murdering a police officer. You see an air of perverse pleasure in Zzasz’s face that is deeply unsettling.

There’s police incompetence and then there is the Gotham Police Department. When Zzasz comes to find Gordon, flanked by two leather clad women whose acting had to be some of the most wooden I’ve seen in the show yet, the entire station empties. Well, that’s good. Glad to know that Gordon’s fellow officers care. They didn’t even come back in when a shootout began.

Gordon is rescued by the MCU officers who were going to take him into custody, Montoya and Allen. Where do you go in a city that is out for your blood? Why, you go to Bruce Wayne’s house of course, to say goodbye and explain why you aren’t finding his parent’s killers. Why not? We’ve long since established that this Gordon is a close friend of Bruce Wayne and Alfred. I’m just waiting to see what traumatic head injury Gordon will suffer to never recognize Bruce in a Batman costume.

Penguin manipulates Maroni into attacking the Falcone family, and does so masterfully, appealing to his inflated ego to maneuver him into starting the mob war that Penguin told Gordon about way back in episode one. It certainly looks like the events of this episode are the beginnings of that war. Falcone steals Maroni’s guns and Maroni strikes back at Falcone’s drugs.

We finally get to see the cold, calculated gangster that Penguin will become. After he and Maroni’s second, along with a couple of other goons, take out the men in the warehouse, Penguin has a big speech about Maroni’s second being a cheapskate. As he says this, the other men grab him, and Penguin tells him you don’t pay your men enough. He slides a knife out of his pocket and stabs the man, saying there’s no honor among thieves. It’s nice to see a side of Penguin that doesn’t seem rooted in either a snivelling stereotype or psychosis, and if he keeps going down this path, he’ll have control of Gotham’s crime families in very little time.

Bullock finally comes to the side of the angels, and Gotham is going to be all the better for it. I love their attitude as they strap up and go and arrest the Mayor of Gotham. I mean, that takes some guts. A day ago, Gordon couldn’t get Captain Essen to even consider putting out arrest warrants, but they’ve since had a shootout in the middle of the GCPD, and two separate attacks on the crime families by the other. Action is the word, and they take the Mayor to have a chat with Falcone, riding in the car with him and past all the armed guards.

The standoff between Falcone and Gordon doesn’t go as planned. Zzasz kidnapped Barbara, so any cards Jim thought he held went out the window as soon as she steps into the room, bound at the wrists. In the end, Falcone lets Gordon, Bullock and Barbara go. Before he does, he reminds Gordon of their earlier conversations, saying that Gotham needs men like Bullock and men like Gordon, that anarchy is the danger.

The biggest reveal of the episode belongs to the Penguin. He’s been working for Falcone since the beginning. It was his plan to have Gordon assigned to kill him, his idea to go and work for Maroni, on Falcone’s orders. He’s a triple agent for the mob, working for Falcone while tricking Gordon, Maroni, and Fish Mooney all at once. It’s conniving, it’s brilliant, and I totally didn’t see it coming. Bravo, Gotham, bravo.

Stuff And Things

– As Zzasz drags the blade and makes a new tally mark, he says “28”, so while we are early in his psychotic career, we’re not at the very beginning. It’s nice to have an established villain in Gotham for once who doesn’t rely on a costume, maybe next time we see Zzasz they’ll have fixed the career choice as well.

– “Penguin’s Umbrella” is the name of the episode and I didn’t see one machine gun umbrella or umbrella sword in the whole episode. Tsk. Missed opportunity.

– The chaining of the nuns has to be one of the weirdest ways I’ve ever seen to rob a truck. but hey, it worked.

– “Do we get a last meal or a smoke or something, or just talk?” Harvey Bullock, ever the wordsmith.

– The show is vastly improving week-to-week, I really hope it stays on this path.

– Still no Selina, still no Ivy. I’m going to stop considering them characters here soon.

Categories: Entertainment