Bullet Or A Beating | Gotham “Penguin’s Umbrella” Review
Gotham’s seventh episode, “Penguin’s Umbrella,” provided us with something the series has yet to deliver, a solid episode amongst the entire cast. Thus far, Gotham has given us plenty of uneven episodes and very few twists to its story; boy did that change this week.
The show opens with Gordon looking more disheveled than ever rushing home to get to Barbara, while knowing that Fish’s men have her held hostage. The feud between rival mafiosos is at the forefront in this episode, and Cobbelpot’s grand return put a wrench into almost everyone’s plans. It’s nice to see Barbara in another episode as I think there’s some nice dialogue that can be explored between the couple, but she just seems so underdeveloped in the show. The archetype of the damsel in distress is epitomized in her character. It’s understandable that you want to stay by your partner’s side, but when the mafia is involved, you have to get out when you can. While I felt it was a pretty lackluster scene, it did provide some tense scenes later on in the episode.
Typical to most weeks, we are given a new villain, enter Victor Zsasz. Zasz is a ruthless assassin that marks his kills on his arm. Working under Falcone, he and his group of people hold up Gotham PD and ask them to leave so that he and Gordon can work out his surrender. Of course, the police politely oblige, and we are given our first big shootout in Gotham. Gordon was snatched up by Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya after taking a bullet to his side, just in time to save his life, while putting another in jeopardy. The ruthlessness of Zsasz is first on display when he murders a cop that tried to stop them; he shot her in the leg earlier and then pumped shots into her chest after Gordon got away. Promptly after, he cut his arm to mark another kill. Zsasz is the first villain of the week that doesn’t feel hokie, or have some odd schtick. He just seems like one ruthless criminal.
Speaking of ruthless, wow Cobblepot. Another strong showing and we get to see how cunning he has become. He ever so subtly nudges each mafia head honcho in a particular direction to get exactly what he wants. The way he plays coy, like he is just some innocent, awkwardly walking guy is ridiculously perfect. Cobblepot convinces Maroni that he knows exactly where to retaliate and that’s Falcone’s drug warehouse. He takes some men, including Carbone, Maroni’s right hand man and shows that it is now Cobblepot who is second in command. After killing everyone in the warehouse, Cobblepot confronts Carbone and explains that everyone has a weakness and Carbone’s was money. He paid off the two other guards, and then, Cobblepot proceeds to repeatedly stab Carbone to death. Had that been the end of Cobblepots’ scenes, that would have been quite an ending, but the final end scene twist is even more insane.
While Cobblepot is playing puppet master, Gordon came up with the brilliant plan of putting warrants out for the arrest of some key figures in Gotham, including Falcone. So, what better way to serve it then by walking right through his front door. The scene, while being tense, allowed Bullock to show his comedic side. Everything he said had a nice jib to it and juxtaposing him was Gordon. Dead serious because Falcone claims that he has Barbara, and Gordon has to either go down in a hail of gunfire, or trust Falcone that he will deliver Barbara. This scene does a great job of showing the greater good that Gordon is trying to exude and the fact that he has to use the crime bosses to achieve his goals at certain times.
The episode ends with a twist so good it won’t be spoiled here, but it was a flashback with Cobblepot and Falcone, and involves their… mutual understanding.
There’s always that fear that when a show gets off on the wrong foot it will never make it’s way back; luckily, Gotham is finally hitting its stride. With a return to its main plot, the show has streamlined its Mafia take, introduced a great villain in Zsasz and is beginning to show Cobblepot’s greatest strength: his keen intuition. With that reveal at the end of the episode, the sun may not be shining on Gotham, but you can finally see the light for the series.
+ The story arc about the various Mafia bosses is finally starting to take shape
+ We were given a deeper look into both detectives
+ Huge Cobblepot twist, and Robin Lord Taylor nails the portrayal, per usual
+ Finally some really nice shootout action
+ Great villain in Zsasz
– Barbara could have some nice dialogue with Jim, but she comes off overly bland