It was really nice that “Everyone Has a Cobblepot” brought Gotham back from the brink, even if it was only a small amount. There was still the overbearing score, a lack of logic and character development, and bad cartoon comedy, but it had some stronger moments that give some momentum going into the final episodes of the first season.
Gotham has been billed as a show not about Batman, but rather about the city and the characters that created him. Unfortunately, most of this season hasn’t given us much insight into Gotham, or given us details about it, or give it a personality. The city should be as much of a character as Penguin or Gordon, but is underdeveloped and not fleshed out like Harvey Dent. This episode focused on the corruption in the GCPD, and how that corruption has branched deep into the city and the criminal underworld.
Arnold Flass has been cleared of murder charges, and it’s clear to Gordon that its because of the influence of someone inside the GCPD. Once he learns that was Commissioner Loeb was the catalyst, Gordon is set on taking him down at all costs. Gordon confronts Loeb and tells him that there is no evidence that would overturn the fact that the GCPD had the murder weapon and Flass’ fingerprints. Loeb reveals that there is indeed one thing that would overrule the evidence collected, and it’s a taped confession from Bullock where he admits that he submitted false evidence. Gordon angrily confronts him, and Bullock admits he lied on the tape, but Loeb has evidence of Bullock’s previous bad deeds that would be used against him. Bullock tells Gordon that everyone in Gotham has a “Cobblepot”, but Bullock’s “Cobblepot” didn’t come back from the dock.There has been tension between Bullock and Gordon all season, but this was really the first time that I didn’t feel like it was contrived. Both cops have a strong and valid perspective of what being a police officer in Gotham entails, and they are both equally stubborn in their views. Gordon is an idealist that believes that he can change the entire department through sheer force of will. Bullock is the cagey veteran that knows how the game is played, and will do what it takes to survive.
Turns out the Bullock is right about everyone having a “Cobblepot” and Loeb is rumored to have killed his wife, but it was never proven in a court of law. Gordon teams up with Harvey Dent to discover where Loeb is hiding all the blackmail against the Gotham police officers and take him down. The two visit Loeb’s old partner that leads them to a man named Shi Lu, a Chinese bookkeeper. It’s a trap though, and the two are almost killed by Lu’s men until Bullock arrives with a car in the nick of time. The scene is pure coincidence, but it did feel earned. Bullock has grudgingly warmed up to Gordon all year, and he sees him as a chance to finally do some good as a police detective in Gotham.
Elsewhere, Fish Mooney continues to try and gain control of the facility that is harvesting organs for some unknown reason. Doctor Dullmacher has given her a new blue eyeball, which is a letdown because Fish Mooney would rock a bad ass eyepatch. She suggests to Dullmacher that she can be his right hand man, especially since his former office manager has undergone massive surgery and now has female breasts and limbs. It’s one of the few really bad moments this week, as the CGI is poor, and it’s over the top with cartoonish ridiculousness. Fish has always been ruthless, but her rise to power at the facility has felt forced and really rapid. Fish agrees to Dullmacher’s demands and releases her prisoner and allows two members of her group to be taken away to have their organs removed. After showing her loyalty, Dullmacher welcomes her to upper management and her new living arrangements on the top floor with a lovely view that reveals they are located on an island far from the shore.
Back in Gotham, Bullock and Gordon team up with Penguin to gain access to Loeb’s files. Gordon, against Bullocks advice, agrees to owe Cobblepot a future favor with no questions asked, along with five minutes alone with the files. They travel to a farm that Loeb owns and get into a shootout with the elderly couple that live/guard the home. It’s another weird cartoon moment as the elderly woman steps out to get dessert and comes back with a shotgun and can’t hit a thing. I take that back, she can only hit her head as she trips and falls during the fight in one of the worst bits of choreography I have seen in quite some time. She turns, trips over a chair, and comically hits her head on a desk in a movement that caused me to literally laugh out loud. Bullock and Gordon leave Penguin to guard the couple, and discover that Loeb has imprisoned his daughter, Miriam, in the attic. They question her, and discover that she likes to crush the skulls of birds that land on her windowsill and then make necklaces out of their bones. It turns out that she is the one that killed her mother, and not the commissioner, because her mother wouldn’t stop singing when Miriam wanted her to. In her anger, Miriam hit her mother with a rolling pin and killed her, and Loeb claimed she fractured her skull when she tripped and fell down the stairs. This is enough for Gordon to return to Loeb’s office, use it as leverage to demand a trial for Flass, hand over Bullock’s file of blackmail, and endorse Gordon for leadership in the GCPD.
The reason this works, is that it’s the first time that we’ve seen Gordon really compromise his morals. He has always been the boy scout that feels like he is above getting his hands dirty, but now he’s willing to make sacrifices to get what he wants. He knows that Commissioner Loeb is dirty, but Gordon fears that his replacement would be even worse, so he needs Loeb to stay on the job, where Gordon can control him. More significantly, the decisions that Gordon makes in this episode will have (hopefully) deep and powerful consequences down the road. Gordon owes Penguin a no questions asked favor, and even Bullock knows that this is not a good thing. Gordon is now the head of the GCPD union, and he thinks this is the start of real change in the department. Unfortunately, he has compromised his values, is now a dirty cop, and is in many ways, no better than those that he replaced.
This episode was one of the more focused of the season, and did a good job in exploring Gotham and what makes it such a unique and interesting setting. It didn’t do much plot-wise, as it was more of an epilogue to events we thought had already been resolved, but we get a better look at the inner workings of the GCPD, and explore how far Gordon is willing to go to clean the corruption from Gotham’s soul. It wasn’t the best, but it was a pleasant way to spend 45 minutes, and I didn’t feel cheated afterwards. It’s not a ringing endorsement, but it’s a step in the right direction. Gotham takes a few weeks off and returns in April to air the last four episodes of season one.
““I have a soft spot for old ladies”
“Just a slight puncture; leaked a bit.”