This review contains spoilers.
1.12 What The Little Bird Told Him
Holy delayed gratification, Batman! It’s been ten whole episodes since Oswald clairvoyantly told Jim that “there’s a war coming, a terrible war,” and until today you could be forgiven for thinking that he was completely off the mark. After all, the opening barrage of episodes displayed the mobsters of Gotham City as relatively placid creatures, with far more bark than bite.
This week though, we finally got some pay-off. Most excitingly, we saw Carmine Falcone really get his hands dirty. Gone is the friendly-granddad-who-somehow-happens-to-be-a-crime-lord, and now we have a man who strangles women he previously adored, locks up his enemies and murders all their goons (albeit off-screen).
We’re pleased to report that it was a worthwhile reward for months of waiting. We were all but ready to wave goodbye to Falcone, but now that he’s been given a sorely-needed injection of personality, he could well become a formidable central villain (especially with Oswald and Zsaz on his side).
The ripples of this development had beneficial effects on the other strands of Gotham, too. With the events surrounding Falcone spurring Oswald into making excuses to Maroni and definitely giving away his status as a inter-mob mole. This revelation may have come in the ill-advised manner of an ‘I’ve been electrocuted – I will now tell you all my secrets!’ moment that would have felt more at home in Adam West’s TV show, but it served an important purpose.
That is, that Oswald’s blurted truth finally pushed the apparently-impervious-to-danger Penguin right into the path of some serious threat from Maroni. Hopefully, this will bring Robin Lord Taylor’s stellar performance back to the fore, after a few weeks of seeming like a side-character. Right now, he’s ‘the little bird’ in Falcone’s pocket, but we’re expecting to see a big fall from grace in the next few weeks. That, and hopefully some more parps of his beautiful musical accompaniment, would make us very happy.
Concurrently rising up the ranks this week was Ben McKenzie’s Jim Gordon, who also seems to have been given a hypodermic syringe’s worth of character. His stint at Arkham appears to have instilled him with some much-needed feistiness and a resultant refusal to be bossed around or kept away from the action.
In fact, Gotham packed in more Jim-based material than ever this week; he was calling the commissioner ‘desperate,’ flashing a cheeky grin on more than one occasion, lying to get what he wants, snogging Leslie Thompkins, staking out the GCPD and lobbing cups of water at villains (speaking of the Electrocutioner -what a performance that was. Hopefully we’ll see some more of him). Finally, Jim feels like a protagonist with enough of a backbone to confidently carry a series of this size.
Jim’s improvement led to more brilliant rapport with Harvey too, once again played to perfection by Donal Logue. Some winning lines came out of Harvey this time around, including two random burst of Spanish, references to Jim getting ‘fried like a doughnut’ and his sheer disbelief that Jim had been behaving carefully up to this point. Now that both characters are on something of a similar level, writing and performance-wise, we’re genuinely excited – for the first time in a while – to see more of them on screen together.
Also getting some decent material in the GCPD team was Ed Nygma as played by Cory Michael Smith. His idea of romance is a crooked joy to behold, and we’re now getting more than just ‘that dude is good at riddles’-type dialogue to foreshadow his future fate. As such, Smith is slowly growing into role and sticks out far less as a weak link these days.
Our only qualm this week? That’d be the deliberately-dull Barbara scene which brought back the hoped-ditched love interest for an incredibly awkward and overly long conversation with her parents. Was this scene needed in the slightest, or were the powers that be just trying to fill another minute of airtime?
Call us cynical, but the latter seems more likely. Surely the whole scene could be replaced with one line of dialogue in a later episode? An utterance of ‘I’ve been staying with my parents,’ or similar, could have save us from two minutes of boredom. That said, we can forgive the occasional irritating scene if Gotham keeps up the high-stakes drama of What The Little Bird Told Him in the upcoming weeks.
One final thought: did Falcone’s crew manage to wipe out all of Fish’s goons without anyone making any noise or alerting her in any way? It seemed like an unlikely leap of logic, so we prefer to think that Fish Mooney had some noise-cancelling headphones on at the time. Maybe she was listening to some DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince cassettes, or something.
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