Previously on Gotham, things were starting to get interesting. There’s a turf war coming and Fish Mooney may have been a little premature in trying to take down Carmine Falcone, but she did try nonetheless. Falcone quickly put the smackdown and Mooney’s decided to lay low for a while – her biggest regret is probably letting someone else put a bullet in Cobblepot’s head instead of doing it herself. Boy, is she going to be pissed when she finds out that Cobblepot is not only alive, but back in Gotham. Meanwhile, a young Bruce Wayne was playing with fire – literally – and a young Selina Kyle was wooing Detective Jim Gordon with intel on the Wayne murders. This week, all three of these plots thicken, plus there’s a guy with balloons.
“Who are you fighting for?” the balloonman asks Detective Gordon. The balloonman turns out to be nothing more than an angry vigilante. He’s a nobody civil servant, tired of watching Gotham’s innocents fall victim to the powerful and corrupt. He targets con artists, dirty cops and “diddling” priests. He’s eventually caught and locked away by Gordon, but not before making an ominous promise. “There will be more like me, Detective.” Bruce Wayne, as we know, will become a vigilante himself. But now, when the ideas are just starting to take shape in Bruce’s head, he sees that you can’t just take justice into your own hands with no regard for the consequences. “He killed people,” Bruce says of the balloonman. “That made him a criminal, too.” But you can see that the future Batman already realizes that someone will have to protect Gotham City.
The utterly extraneous characters, Montoya and Allen, are snooping around Fish Mooney’s joint, looking to find out who murdered Oswald Cobblepot. They’ve figured out that Cobblepot is dead because he told them Pepper was a patsy for the Wayne murders – but they haven’t been able to put much else together beyond that. Luckily, Fish Mooney is only loyal to herself. It takes her about three seconds to inform them that Detective Gordon killed Oswald. They’re like, “Nyuh uh!” because they’re stupid, so Mooney makes it a little easier for them. “Jim Gordon pulled the trigger, but who gave the order?” she asks innocently. The two finally realize that Falcone gave the order, which is all Mooney wanted to accomplish in the first place. Well played, Fish.
Oswald is back in Gotham for about ten minutes and he’s already killing people. The first killing – a guy who recognizes him and wants to take him to Fish for a reward – seems wrong, but understandable. The second – a waiter he murders so that he can steal his shoes – seems less so. I mean, just go buy a pair of shoes, right? But Cobblepot has bigger things to focus on – namely getting a job at a specific Italian restaurant where Carmine Falcone’s rival mob boss
Angel Batista Salvatore Maroni happens to frequent. Cobblepot doesn’t waste much time working his way into Maroni’s good graces, pretending to be Italian and professing loyalty to his mother – and we all know that Italian pride, boys who love their mamas and meatballs are the three things mafiosos love the most. Oswald is playing a long con here and I like where it’s going.
I know Bullock is an alcoholic d*ckhead with questionable morals, but he sort of serves as the voice of the people this week. When the Balloonman takes down (up?) his first victim – a con man who’s swindled Gotham’s public servants out of their pensions – Bullock denies that it’s a murder. “Call it a public service,” he says. “The guy was a bum who got what he deserved. Now I’m going to go get a danish….because that’s what I deserve.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, Harvey.
Last week, young Cat dropped a bomb on Detective Gordon: “I know who killed the Waynes.” She convinces him to take her into temporary custody in exchange for this information – but when Jim takes Cat out to the crime scene, she doesn’t tell him much more than he already knows. A man in a mask shot the Waynes, robbed them and fled the scene – Gordon is like, “AND?!” but Cat’s already given him the slip. Oh, Jim. You tried.
I’m happy to say that Barbara Kean finally becomes a compelling character this week. With Jim, she’s been nothing more than a doting fiance. “I believe in you!” she repeats with her words and her actions, serving as not much more than a pretty cheerleader to keep Jim fighting the good fight. But with Renee Montoya, Barbara is a different person. Obviously, yes, she’s bisexual – something we’re not sure if Jim knows – but there’s more to it than just that. Montoya still has a key to her apartment. Barbara is smoking weed, mouthing off and, generally, giving us more passion in one scene than we’ve seen in anything between her and Jim. She and Montoya have chemistry, but also a lot of anger between them. It makes you wonder: what happened there? Will Montoya be able to break through Barbara’s unwavering faith in Jim? Who is the real Barbara?
A pot smoking fiance is the least of Jim’s worries this week. The words of the balloonman haunt him, because deep down, Jim knows that he’s right. Gotham is sick and he doesn’t know how to fix it. How do you fight for what’s right when every avenue to do so has been tainted? We know that this becomes an inner turmoil that haunts the future Commissioner Gordon for the rest of his life – but right now, Jim doesn’t have much time to wax philosophical, because Oswald Cobblepot has just arrived at Jim’s door. Meep.