One of the subplots running through Gotham so far has been that Gotham City is a city corrupt to the bone and that even the high and mighty Wayne Enterprises might not be so overboard as we’d like to believe. Last week’s episode Viper was ample proof of that, that there may have been certain goings on at the multinational that Thomas and Martha Wayne may not have known about. It was a really great twist to the story, something that I can see leading eventually to Bruce’s transformation into Batman. But of course, the show revolves around Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock as well, and they were pretty good in the previous episode, though the villain was rather unmemorable.
The new episode, “Spirit of the Goat“, is definitely one where the writers have upped the weird and supernatural quotient of the show. Ten years ago Harvey and his then-partner Dix nabbed a serial killer who claimed to be possessed by the spirit of a supernatural entity and who ritually murdered his victims. Now, somehow, the killer is back and Harvey is on the case once again, this time with Jim. One of the best things about this week’s episode was the look at Harvey’s past and the kind of man he was then, setting up a great contrast with who he is now. Nothing really on the Falcone-Maroni silent war this week, but we do get to see Robin Lord Taylor’s Oswald Cobblepot be utterly badass, which was extremely satisfactory.
In a few more days it is going to be Halloween, and this week’s episode of Gotham seems to be an acknowledgement of that, given the kind of villain we see on the show this week. Spirit of the Goat is quite an interesting episode for sure, but the best part about is that we get to see a part of Harvey’s past, and it is pretty damn awesome since it provides a nice contrast to the man we’ve seen portrayed on the show for the lat five weeks. It is kind of a small thing, admittedly, but it is also quite fascinating since Harvey’s past has been closed off until now and he doesn’t really like to talk about his years on the GCPD. Well, now we kind of know why, and Harvey’s old partner Dix is an awesome guest character as well, someone I wouldn’t mind seeing again on the show.
But enough about that, let’s move on to villain of the week, this… Spirit of the Goat. A copy-cat killer is on the loose in Gotham, or so Harvey believes since he nabbed the original and sent him to jail, and it is a pretty rough time for the two of them, Harvey and Jim that is, since he case brings up too many memories for the former and that makes him very irritable. More so than the usual at least. And this is where things go really haywire. While Jim and Harvey are on the hunt for a killer, their opposites in the Major Crimes Unit, Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen, are both hunting after evidence linking them to the murder of Oswald Cobblepot, an event that took place in the first episode’s cliffhanger. And Renee does get her man in the end, which is oddly satisfying but also enough to evoke a sense of dread.
Because you see, she and her partner are asking for some major trouble right now from Carmine Falcone, who ordered the cops’ hit on Cobblepot in the first episode and who is going to be none too pleased about what’s happening.
And this is where I start to have a few questions about the overall direction that this subplot is going over. Reason is, Oswald isn’t exactly hiding, since he is managing one of Sal Maroni’s restaurants, and he walks around without any disguise. He even visits his mother in this episode, for crying out loud! Yes, the show lacks some strength in the suspension of disbelief department, and it can be slightly frustrating too, but if you look at it from another angle, you see that it is all part of what Gotham City is about. It is a city you can get lost in, where if you aren’t directly involved in the big business of Gotham, you really don’t matter.
And I’m also confused as to how the MCU works within the larger GCPD, because if Renee and Crispus are working under Captain Essen, then surely she’d know what they are up to, or something like that.
It is a weird theme for the show to run with, but that’s how I’m looking at it. And I’ll admit as well that I’m loving the whole Oswald/Jim/Renee triangle, I really am. Renee is obsessed with bringing down Jim since she still has feelings for Barbara, her ex-girlfriend who is now with Jim, and Oswald is just a convenient excuse for her. This whole obsession thing kind of devalues Renee as a character I feel, since it makes her come across as petty and jealous and vindictive, three qualities I associate with Gotham at large but not with her, certainly not, but the dynamics are very intriguing.
Really makes you curious as to how it is all going to work out for her, especially given the big ending of the episode, when Oswald Cobblepot does something I really didn’t expect. And man, Robin Lord Taylor nails the role once again. Can’t go a week without some Penguin-badassness and this episode really upped things a notch.
Yeah, the hunt for the villain of the week was quite interesting, particularly since we actually got to see Harvey as more than just a bumbling detective. Behind the facade of a cynical and lazy cop, there’s a really smart and intelligent mind at work, and I loved seeing this side of Harvey. This episode, with its supernatural overtones, was a great outing for the character, all things considered, and I think that the dynamics of this relationship with Jim are going to slowly change from now on. Which is good news.
Another great thing in this episode was that the rift between Jim and Barbara is starting to heal now. Renee may have poisoned it, but they are both strong on their on and with each other, and that’s what their subplot in this episode was about. I kind of wish that Erin Richards was given more to do on the show, particularly since it is so different from all the source material. We kind of know that she is really well-to-do, considering that she has a penthouse suite or something in the city and Jim lives with her. Maybe show her taking part in the city’s social events so we know just where she stands with the rest of Gotham’s socialites? Maybe she runs some charities or something? Something that gives her more to do so that she can define herself by more than just being Renee Montoya’s ex-girlfriend and Jim Gordon’s current girlfriend.
And finally, Cory Michael Smith kind of stole the show this week, though he doesn’t quite compare to Robin Lord Taylor. Cory plays Edward Nygma on the show, the future villain known as The Riddler, and so far his performance has largely boiled down to inundating Harvey, Jim and Captain Sarah Essen with riddles while giving them forensics details on an ongoing investigation. But this week, he got to do more, he got to have an actual conversation this week. Yes, it was a very creepy and inappropriate conversation that he has with a fellow worked at the GCPD headquarters and kind of made me wince as well, but I think it does well in establishing that Nygma is an absolute weirdo who lacks any decent social skills. This is probably going to have more relevance in the future, but I think that Edward Nygma is taking the first steps towards being a villain given what we see in this week’s episode.
Another pretty damn decent episode this time around, with a better villain this time around, and also a better explanation of how this villain came to be. It might make a few heads turn, but I like that Gotham is going for some weird things. And it is a fairly stand-alone episode as well, so if you were getting a bit tired out by the whole Maroni-Falcone gang war, this one is definitely something you gotta check out.
By the way, why haven’t we seen more of Ivy Pepper, aka the future Pamela Isley aka Poison Ivy, yet? Come on writers, get on it!