Last week, I said, “Harvey is a great character and Donal Logue is doing a fantastic job, but I wish they’d make Bullock just a little bit darker.” And lo, my prayers were answered! This week on Gotham, we get the Harvey Bullock backstory, which not only adds some much needed complexity to the character, but it takes the entire show to a deeper place. Gotham is infected – we all know that – but it’s not without its white knights. The trouble is, Gotham beats down these would-be heroes until they don’t have any fight left in them. Harvey shows us this when he’s confronted with an old case. This is why he’s given up, why he’d rather grab a burrito than solve a crime. But it seems that Harvey’s still got some spark of hope inside of him – and it’s that kind of hope that could keep Gotham from going under.
It turns out, Harvey and his new partner Jim have more in common than we thought – Harvey used to be something of a white knight himself, fighting for justice. He certainly wasn’t the guy we see today, looking the other way and grabbing a burger when he could be stopping a murder. Ten years ago, he was willing to rush into the face of danger and put everything on the line to be a hero. But ten years ago, Harvey Bullock had a life-changing case. He was after a villain who called himself the Spirit of the Goat – and even though Harvey caught him and killed him, it wasn’t without a price. His then-partner Dix was left in a wheelchair and Harvey’s spirit was broken. This backstory really shows us why Harvey is the man he is today – and why he’s so frustrated at Jim’s attempts at heroism. When faced with another Spirit of the Goat killer, though, a bit of the old Harvey comes back. He solves the case, which goes a lot deeper than he’d ever imagined, and we as an audience finally know why we should care about Harvey Bullock.
Despite the fact that the Spirit of the Goat goes after first-born children of mega-rich families, Bruce doesn’t feel the need to run and hide. “I’ve got work to do,” he tells Alfred. Besides, there isn’t anyone to take him from, he points out, oblivious to the hurt on Alfred’s face. Well jeez, just break the old guy’s heart, why dontcha?
Cat makes another completely random appearance on Gotham this week. For the second time, she shows up and then leaves for no reason. Okay, maybe this week she has a reason. She breaks into Wayne Manor, walks around, checks out Bruce’s wall of crazy, steals something off his desk, then sneaks out into the night. I’m assuming that it’s important for her to find out about Bruce’s investigation, and I’m sure she took something important, but the whole thing felt out of place in this episode.
I thought that Barbara had left Jim, but I guess not. Here she is, telling him that she wants to shoulder half of what he carries, which makes sense in a normal relationship, but you can’t really help carry the burden of a homicide detective, you know? Maybe this would all be more compelling if Ben McKenzie and Erin Richards had a shred of chemistry, but they don’t. The way I see it, Jim doesn’t care too deeply about Barbara – or at least they’re not doing a good job of showing it, if he does. I know Ben McKenzie is known for this stoic, distant thing, but even on The OC, I believed that he loved Marissa Cooper. Anyway, Barbara convinces Jim to tell her everything, which seems unethical on his part and manipulative on hers, but whatever. When she confronts Montoya, she learns that they’re getting a warrant for against Jim for Cobblepot’s murder. She tries to convince Jim to run away with her, but they’re interrupted by Allen and Montoya, who arrest Jim. Well Barbara, you tried.
Jim learns a lot about his partner Harvey this week – namely, that he isn’t the first class A-hole he thought he was. Jim is surprised (okay, baffled) by Harvey’s “white knight” history, but he softens when he sees how much Harvey cares about Dix. This adds a nice level of complexity to their relationship and hopefully will deepen their conversations in the future beyond, “We have to help!” and “No, we don’t!”. But just as Jim is moving in the right direction with Harvey, Allen and Montoya are closing in on him. These two idiots – and honestly, why aren’t they from IA? This still makes no sense to me – haul him in and arrest him for Oswald Cobblepot’s murder. This would probably be bad news for Jim, but thankfully Cobblepot is alive and he waltzes right into the GCPD precinct to prove it.
She’s back! She’s awesome! The end.
Oswald comes home this week, literally. We see him out of the clutches of the mafia and back in his mother’s house, where he’s pampered and coddled. After convincing Gertrude that he hasn’t been taken by some harlot, he confides in her that he might’ve found a friend. “A cop,” he says with a little smile. He thinks Jim is the real deal, but his mother reminds him that he can’t trust anyone. Ever. Okay mom, sheesh! But this discouragement doesn’t stop Cobblepot from busting into the police station, just as they’re arresting Jim for his murder. He’s all, “Hey, sup? I’m not dead!” and even though we’ve seen him make this entrance a few times already, it still hasn’t lost its appeal. Perfect timing, Penguin.