In Review: Gotham, Episode 13, “Welcome Back, James Gordon”

Gordon is waging a one man war for honesty and it works. This is the Gordon I want to see.

Gotham, Episode 13, “Welcome Back, James Gordon” Broadcast January 26, 2015

Written by Megan Mostyn-Brown

Directed by Wendy Stanzler

“Previously on Gotham” showcases Falcone killing Fish’s plant Liza, Selina saying good-bye to Bruce, and Falcone taking Fish down. In the present, Fish is brought blindfolded on a gurney into a building with a fenced off enclosure. She’s strapped to a table, her blindfold taken off, and laughs, “You must be the B team.” The two individuals respond, “We’re just transport,” and “Bob will be taking care of you.” In strolls the man himself, flexing his rubber gloves. “Good morning,” he says. At the site of a crime scene, Gordon joins Bullock. Pinky Littlefield, a dealer, is hanging from a hook. Left alone with the corpse, Gordon finds a hidden compartment in the man’s heel containing small blue packets. He does not share his discovery with Harvey who returns with the night custodian who witnessed the murder. The detectives take the man to headquarters so he can work with a sketch artist. Alone at the station, the custodian is stabbed to death. Nygma determines the same weapon that killed Littlefield killed Gordon’s witness. James suspects one of the officers at the station of the crime. Back at the torture chamber, Fish taunts Bob, who slams her across the face with a clipboard. She spits on him and cackles as he walks to his tools. Cue opening title sequence and first commercial break.

This was more of a police procedure episode than one that dealt with the mythos, and I liked it. At every turn, James was thwarted in his quest for justice, until a friend came to his aid. Bruce and Selina do have a scene together towards the end, but this installment was more about Gordon and Fish’s plight. Finally Ben McKenzie got a solidly written speech that viewers and Gotham’s finest could get behind. This is the James Gordon I’m familiar with and this is the type of character that can change a city. Donal Logue got to return to his love of Fish that played out in the end. Robin Lord Taylor, once again, was fantastic as the Penguin, this time in a solo celebratory party. The individual who interrupted his revelry couldn’t have been better or better timed. Cory Michael Smith also continues to shine as Edward Nygma, who is weird enough to go crazy at any moment. In the previous episode he looked to be getting close to the abyss, but tonight I was happy to see that Kristen Kringle, the object of Nygma’s affections, played by Chelsea Spack was finally given a soul, and it was nice to Ed to continue to pine over her. Dash Mihok as Detective Arnold Flass was a great character for people to hate, and he was outstanding. His comments to Gordon at the end of the episode were terrific. And Carol Kane continues to delight as Oswald’s mother.

The good: The script, Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Robin Lord Taylor, Chelesea Spack, Dash Mihok, Carol Kane, the rah-rah speech at the end, and the pleading in the coda.

Fun lines: “I don’t got a thing for nobody. My thing is for me,” “Public service homicide,” “You go get him. I gotta find keys to the incinerator,” “Damn right I am,” “I’m not going anywhere until I cut Penguin’s throat!”, “There’s hope,” and “Please! Please!”

The bad: Too quick a resolution for Fish. I’m dying to see something done to her that’s lasting, and I felt cheated. There was also too much maniacal laughter in this episode. Three characters, all gangsters, have over the top laughing. Once was good, two okay, but three was just too much, too close together.

The final line: Gordon is waging a one man war for honesty and it works. This is the Gordon I want to see. However, Fish didn’t have happen what I wanted. Overall grade: B+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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