Gotham Episode 1.7: Penguin’s Umbrella – Review

What is the only way to make an already stellar show even better after six episodes?  That’s right.  Bring back the showrunner to script the seventh.  Bruno Heller returned to the characters and the city of Gotham in this week’s episode, which is essentially two storylines beautifully merged into one.

The first involves the mob’s favorite psychopath (and one of Batman’s deadliest, not to mention creepiest villains), Mr. Zsasz.  Played expertly by newcomer Anthony (The Forgotten, Parenthood) Carrigan, hinting at stories to come.  The simple setup of a mob enforcer sent to pick up Gordon for a secret meeting with the not quite yet warring Dons Falcone and Maroni is simple enough, but we get four important revelations about the Gotham City Police Department: Gordon’s a great shot, Essen’s one of the good guys, Bullock’s more interested in going out a hero than dying a snitch, and both Montoya and Allen are cops that Gordon can trust.  In a sense, Oswald’s meddling with the mafia is forming one of the strongest forces in all of Gotham City’s history: a non-corrupt police force.

Gotham Victor Zsasz

The second storyline is the episode’s namesake.  And to be completely honest, Robin Lord Taylor’s performance as Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot is quite possibly one of the most frightening portrayals of a comic book villain in the history of movie or film adaptations.  He’s perfect, in every aspect.  Showing his ability to walk the line between weasel/snivler and would-be crime lord is not only uncanny, but important to the success of the show.  After all, he’s continue to surprise all of us with his star power and delusions of grandeur.

It is also worth noting that, though brief, Bruce and Alfred have a cameo that connects the bigger world of Gotham to the smaller portions of the mob and the cops.  And a nice scene where Gordon reminds Bruce that he’s just a kid and Bruce calls him out for keeping him in the dark, ending in not a handshake, but a full-on hug… the first “childlike” moment in Bruce’s life since his parents’ murder.

Gotham Penguin with Umbrella

Lots of action in this episode made me sort of forget that it was so damn classy.  The writing, the acting, and the pacing make for good TV.  But the fact that each and every episode literally makes history for a character that’s been around for 75 years is just an added bonus.  Can’t wait to see the mob war erupt, some more Gothamites rise up and assume their destinies, and Jim Gordon to fully assemble the team that will be with him until his final night protecting the city that he refuses to give up on.

My Rating: 5/5

But enough of my comments.  What did you think?  Be sure to check out Baturday this next Saturday for all of the week’s DC Comics featuring the Dark Knight and his family of heroes as well as next week for a brand new installment of the weekly Gotham reviews.  See you there, Bat fans!

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