This weeks episode of Gotham felt a little slower, but definitely more intriguing… at least to me. I believe the key to Gotham being able to hold its own as a show is to focus on the crime that plagues it, and in turn makes Bruce into the Batman. And this episode delved even more into that, as we saw Maroni’s and Falcone’s struggle for power, Mooney’s desire to reach the top, and more importantly, Cobblepot’s (aka the Penguin) scheming.
This 4th episode, titled Arkham, follows the political agendas of Gotham, as the Mayor is about to “reorganize and redistribute” the section of Gotham named Arkham City (where Arkham Asylum is also located). This is one of the worst areas of Gotham, and the Mayor is aiming to use a plan originally proposed by the Waynes (Bruce’s parents) that would uplift this darkest section of Gotham with new housing, businesses and an updated Mental Hospital. But unfortunately, the crime top dogs are greedy for a piece of the action and have their own agendas. Meanwhile, Mooney is working her own angle, not for Arkham, but just setting up her own pawns up for whatever she is planning. Oswald is doing the same, and with him now working as a “waiter” in one of Maroni’s restaurants, manages to move up the ladder in his own way.
A hired assassin starts taking out high ranking politicians, who are on the voting committee (of what to do with Arkham City), in order to win votes one way or another (Falcone on one side, Maroni on the other). If the outcome goes one way or another, then Gotham would be looking at an all out crime war.
This is where are detectives come in, jumping from one clue to another, and finally tracking down the assassin right before he kills the mayor himself. You would think a job well, but after the Mayor sees how close he came to death himself, he gets spooked and instead of voting for the Wayne’s plan, he kind of splits it down the middle, giving sections to Falcone, others to Maroni, and claiming that the Asylum will be rebuilt. Though not the outcome Gordon and Bruce wanted (Bruce, being involved as it was his parents plan), it still prevented an all out war; and the rick of increased crime and deaths are something they can both live with.
Of course, this only postpones the inevitable war, as now two major crime lords pretty much control parts of the darkest section of Gotham. Oh, and Barbara keeps trying to figure out what Gordon is hiding (about the “supposed” murder of the Penguin), but he refuses to let he in, so they break up.
Despite having added a scene with the Riddler, it didn’t feel like a “cameo”, so I was ok with it. Also, the show does a wonderful job reminding me that the Penguin is basically a kingpin when Batman is around, and he had to start somewhere. I’m loving his character more and more, seeing how he schemes and plots to make it to where he will eventually be. Bruce scenes are wonderful, as always, as they do a great job reflecting both the millionaire philanthropist he becomes, and the bat vigilante. And, continuing to revolve the story amongst the two crime families (Falcone/Maroni) is working just fine in my opinion, as this is a staple for the city of Gotham’s history.
Not much bad in this episode. I wish they would avoid tacky scenes, like how Maroni grabs a huge steak with his hands and bites into it, as part of his victory dance. Also, having something sexy in a story is good, so long as it’s essential… So, whereas Mooney looking for a hot young woman to hire for her next pawn is an interesting part of the story, having them “seduce” her as part of the test, then fight each other (in the sexy clothes they were wearing), just seems a little forced – put in there just to have some sexy girls fighting. Fortunately, they didn’t drag those scenes out too much, and the one (I forgot her name) smacking the other’s head over and over against the pavement did feel pretty menacing and brutal, so… I’m ok with it.
When you think about it, all the major criminals in this timeline (Penguin, Maroni, Falcone) are around when Batman is up and running, so that being said, Gordon never ends any of their reigns yet. This show isn’t about Gordon winning. Not against them anyway, though they are the main part of the crime story Gotham is all about. So when you consider that, this show is in fact not about Gordon, but about these criminals themselves… in specific Falcone, Maroni, Mooney, and in specific (to me) The Penguin. So, I’m loving that they’re focusing on it. (I just hope they don’t run out of ideas and starts adding pre-villain cameos). STAY AWAY FROM THE JOKER. His past has always been a mystery in the comics… leave it like that. That being said, MORE PENGUIN PLEASE!