This is a spoiler warning… the writer of this column would like to let you know that the following article contains spoilers from last night’s episode of Gotham… the is only a spoiler warning.
With the seventeenth episode of Gotham, the shows writers decided to give us a big push towards the season finale with an episode that has a lot going on… the least of which seemed to be the two detectives from the GCPD. But lets hit the important moments.
1) One of the things Christopher Nolan pushed in his Batman films was the idea of a symbol being far more powerful than a man. Here we see that concept introduced in Gotham through the use of a Red Hood. But using the mask it allowed both the wearer to embrace the symbol and become more confidant but also it allowed the citizens of Gotham to allow the mask to mean more than just a criminal robbing a bank. The Robin Hood concept the first Red Hood presented to get away became part of the symbol and was expected and carried out when a completely different man put on the hood. They’ve been slowly building the use of symbols through the season with Scarecrow and Penguin’s umbrella as we see the city move from being controlled by men / mobsters to being controlled by masks.
2) The scene between Barbara Keen and Selina Kyle was important in that even though she rejected the information now, eventually Selena will embrace the idea of using her beauty as a weapon. But more importantly what Selina is seeing is a beautiful, well-off woman who is in ruins because of a man rejecting her. Keen should be happy and have whatever she wants in life but instead she is miserable and that is a lesson that Selina will also take to heart as she never allows anyone close enough to devastate her.
3) Oswald Cobblepot may have masterfully manipulated everyone to move himself up in the criminal world, but he doesn’t understand how to exist within that world. So before the Penguin can be a powerful player he has to learn how to play the game. This is what the pairing with Butch Gilzean is all about. Butch is old school, know the rules and how to get things done within the system. Penguin’s approach to getting the alcohol for the club is short-sighted and likely to cause a war. Butch comes to his rescue by using a more subtle approach that solves the problem and avoids conflict.
4) Now the one area I think that the writers of the series screwed up is the introduction of Reggie Payne. After having Bruce Wayne visit the board last week and the scenes in the trailers this week… it was obvious, at least to me, that when Reggie shows up he was sent by someone on the board. There was enough in the episode to have kept Reggie out of the trailers all together and could have just played him as a friend of Alfred Pennyworth’s… but now that he’s made his move and stabbed Alfred, the evil of the Wayne Enterprises board is no longer in doubt. Seems a little soon to by playing that card in the series.
5) You have to hand it to Fish Mooney. Whenever you think she is down, she pulls something to turn the tables. By getting her away from the others, the people holding her thought they took away her power. But instead she took away what they wanted from her. By destroying one of her own eyes, it made the other one not worth taking. Being that this is a character not from the comics, her journey is completely unique to the series and unrestrained by the mythos. Should be fun to see what the writers have in store for her.
6) The improbable moment of the episode had to be after the shoot out at the bank and Harvey Bullock going off for a danish while Jim Gordon runs off to see Bruce and Alfred… a guy walks up to an active crime scene and takes a crucial piece of evidence… puts it on and does shooting-fingers towards the cops. But this follows up on both the idea of the symbol being more powerful than the man… but also it keeps to the comics where the red hood keeps changing hands. Though in the comics the red hood usually went to the lowest man in the gang as it made them a target. Its also how the man who would become the Joker got the red hood in The Killing Joke… so for someone else to get the red hood at the end was needed.
Even though this was about the Red Hood Gang, the episode itself was more about catching up on moving all the plot lines ahead after a few Jim Gordon-centric episodes. Now that all the pieces are in place, we can meet the Dollmaker and rush towards the season finale.