Ever since Gotham began nigh a few years ago, the Penguin has really been the centerpiece of the drama. Gotham has always been rather chaotic with many diverse storylines competing for plot time-some good, some the opposite of good (I’m looking at you Theo Galvan arc). With all that said, anything involving the Penguin usually equals quality or at least a damn good time, and this week’s winter finale of Gotham was no different.
This week, Gotham features the conclusion of the gang war between Sofia Falcone and Oswald Cobblepot. Early on, it looks like Penguin holds all the cards as Cobblepot calls in Carmine Falcone back to Gotham to rein in his daughter dearest. You see, Carmine does not want to see dear Sofia fall down the same rabbit hole of a lifetime of murder, violence, and corruption that he plunged down for thirty five years as Gotham City’s father of the mob. At Penguin’s behest, Carmine arrives to take his daughter out of Gotham City for her own good. But then the unthinkable happens and the elder Falcone is gunned down as we are forced to say goodbye to one of Gotham’s earliest players. We have been on many adventures with Carmine as he has been a major figure in Gotham, but now, we have to watch Carmine suffer a very Godfather-like death. Sofia gets shot as well, and it looks like the Penguin did it all.
Except here’s the wrench in the works; Penguin didn’t do it, but Gordon believes he did, the rest of the Gotham City underworld thinks he did, and even the always loyal Victor Zsasz thinks he did which is a problem for Penguin because Zsasz thinks very highly of Falcone. For real though, you have to give the always-chaotic Gotham credit, that’s a lot of spinning plates, and there’s more to come.
Barbara, Selena, and Tabatha are all caught in the middle and Professor Pyg is still out there after escaping from the GCPD. So with that set up, we are hit with all the drama for a suitable mid-winter finale. It turns out Penguin didn’t kill Carmine Falcone. Pyg did- at the behest of Sofia! Penguin is innocent and is arrested by Gordon who must now accept the captaincy of the GCPD knowing that he is basically a puppet with Sofia holding the strings. Zsasz joins with Sofia and Sofia kills Pyg! So I guess we’re just killing future Batman villains now? Well, okay. Plus, alright, a nice character arc for Zsasz! You gotta love that.
I have to admit, while everything has that over the top, semi-camp Gotham sheen, the whole gang war thing is pretty gritty and twisted. The more players Gotham adds to the drama the more intriguing the drama becomes. This show should be an utter mess, and really, it is, but for some reason the messier it all gets, the more fun it all gets. Sofa has become an intriguing foil for Gordon and has really given us a break from the on again off again Lee Thompkins drama.
Penguin takes the fall, not for killing Carmine, but for blowing up the little mute waif that Penguin has taken a shine to this season. The ironic thing is that Cobblepot didn’t kill the mute orphan or Carmine, but now, Oswald is rotting in an Arkham cell thanks to Sofia’s machinations. If we have learned anything these past four seasons on Gotham, it’s that Penguin is the most dangerous when he seems defeated. So as he screams from his Arkham cell, Sofia should be very afraid. Especially when it is revealed that Penguin’s Arkham neighbor is none other than the returning Jerome! Hell yeah kids, Jerome, the maybe Joker, is back which gives us all something very dangerous to look forward to when Gotham returns after the holidays.
All this is a blast, but you know what isn’t? Affluenza Bruce Wayne. The series really hasn’t justified Bruce acting like a half Joffrey Baratheon. I mean, Bruce becomes Batman rights, not Bratman (God, I’ve been waiting to use that joke)? It’s one thing if the series took us on the journey into Bruce’s descent into bratitude, but it really hasn’t. While I enjoyed Alfred beating down petulant Bruce Wayne, this plotline really can’t end soon enough for my tastes. Weepy eyed Alfred being sassed by Bruce Wayne just isn’t my idea of fun.
It’s not good when a Solomon Grundy story has an edge up on a Bruce Wayne story. This week Grundy gets kidnapped by Tabitha. The always-dangerous Tabby beats Grundy about his big white head in the hopes that she jars some Butch memories loose. Sure enough, it seems that Tabby knocks a few screws back into place and let me tell you, it was way more fun to watch Grundy get hit in the head repeatedly than it was watching Bruce Wayne doing his best impression of the Bebe.
But with an important role for the always awesome Zsasz, the return of Jerome, and the death of Carmine Falcone, let’s call this winter finale a win.