TV Recap: Gotham, ‘Welcome Back, Jim Gordon’

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Welcome Back, Jim Gordon Plot Summary:

Plot: After a witness is murdered under police custody, Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is determined to find the culprit, even if it means turning the entire police department against him.  Fish (Jada Pinkett Smith) finds herself in a bad spot after betraying Falcone (John Doman), and Bruce (David Mazouz) returns to Gotham, desperate to track down Selina (Camren Bicondova).

Coming off one of the best episodes thus far, Gotham had a lot to live up to this week, but it was more than up to the challenge.  While last week delivered intense payoffs, this episode continued to flesh out all these great characters, even managing to give a lot of weight to some of the minor underlings.  The actors in particular really took it up a notch, but if I had to give an MVP, it would have to be Jada Pinkett Smith.

Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX

Much like last week where John Doman really got to shine as Falcone, this was truly Fish’s episode.  I’ve enjoyed this character from the beginning, and really appreciate Smith’s full commitment to the role.  She’s all in.  In this episode, Fish was defiant, scared, unsure, ruthless, but also human.  As crazy as she is, Fish is a multi-dimensional character in every sense of the word.  In centering on Fish, she fleshed out several other characters by proximity, most notably Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) and Butch (Drew Powell).  Butch was this throwaway bodyguard early on in the show, but the writers certainly upped his character a lot, and Powell completely runs with it.  His loyalty to Fish made for some great moments.  I actually care about this guy.

Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) without question has been one of my favorite characters, and while used primarily as comic relief, I love when they occasionally give him more serious material, as this week’s episode did.  The reveal in his final scene was perfect.  I don’t want to spoil it, but I cannot wait to see where that storyline goes.

Aside from Fish, the other character who took center stage was none other than Jim Gordon.  Ben McKenzie has done a great job carrying this show, and this episode in particular was one of his better performances.  They are really ramping up Jim’s sense of duty and determination, and I love how it rubs off on Essen (Zabryna Guevara).  Gordon also has a great “hell yeah!” moment after making an arrest.  This episode also showed the flaws of Gordon though, and how even the most noble of intentions can lead him to a dark path.  This was fascinating to watch play out.  They also gave Gordon the perfect antagonist, Detective Flass (Dash Mihok), who’s just a complete ass bag.

Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX

I was also glad to see Bruce and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) back.  Bruce didn’t have a ton to do, but him and Selina had a nice scene together.  There’s a moment where Bruce is crying that kind of irked me, but then Alfred comes in and delivers the most perfect line of dialogue I can imagine.  I love this Alfred.  Please use Alfred more.  Sean Pertwee is nailing this iteration.

If I had one complaint, it’s my continued disinterest in Oswald’s mom (Carol Kane).  This character just isn’t working, and the relationship between her and Oswald doesn’t grab me at all.  If they can find a way to cut ties with this, I’d be all for it.

This was a nice episode for character development across the board.  They even managed to create more great eccentricities for Nygma (Corey Michael Smith).  My feelings on onions are very similar to his, so I can relate.  Aside from character, the tone continues to fit this show like a glove, as this week in particular provided a lot of brutality and grittiness.  Next week should be interesting as they introduce another major Batman character in part one of a big two part event.

Rating: 8 out of 10 (Great)

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Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.
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Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.