Gotham 1.07: “Penguin’s Umbrella” Review

Crossings All Around

A Television Review by Akash Singh

NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!

Gotham’s streak of consistently improving every week continues as Penguin’s Umbrella becomes a strong installment in its own right (even though I find last week to be a bit more illuminating on the front of character development). Gotham’s relative success in both last week and this comes from understanding that central story lines must be crafted with care and focus. The importance of having set-piece episodes and allowing the narrative to actually breathe is steadily kicking in. That trend is certainly helped by the show not throwing every single Batman lore character at the screen over the course of forty-five minutes. That’s not to say that the show still doesn’t suffer from a significant amount of problems, but at the very least the central plots of the show no longer make me roll my eyes at a pace that isn’t medically safe anymore.

Through the use of well-crafted flashbacks, it’s revealed that indeed Cobblepot is now under the employ of Falcone. It’s not fairly surprising to be honest that that is the case as the show had sort of telegraphed it from the beginning, but it’s nice to get some clarity on that front. His infiltration of Maroni’s camp should prove interesting going forward. What this does on a larger scale is allows for Gotham’s various crime lords to be connected through a singular unit who himself is so utterly volatile that he could literally twist the narrative into any direction. It’s a fascinating choice and it should provide for some great moments from Gotham if the show executes them right. If nothing else, Robin Lord Taylor is such a delight as the Penguin that just watching him act could almost salvage any botched execution narratively. Almost.

The best scene arguably in the episode is when Gordon and Bullock raid the home of underworld lord Falcone. It works on a basic character level, which in turns allows for the plot to be elevated above what it would otherwise be. Especially after last week where Gotham made Bullock into an actual human being, Gordon isn’t alone in being a competent officer in the GCPD. And as would be shocking to no one who understands the basic structure of storytelling, it works. In the storytelling structures that don’t work, there’s still plenty to grumble about. Cobblepot continues to be given shades of fear based on his seeming sexual preference that frankly we should be well past now. Barbara continues to be given about ads much as agency as a cupboard cutout in which I’m sure must be hidden a contractual clause of character embarrassment, especially in regards to her affair with Montoya. And last but not least, in spite of Alfred’s badass moment, the show has absolutely no semblance of subtlety when it’s necessary.

Great

8/10

Title: Penguin’s Umbrella

Written By: Bruno Heller

Directed By: Rob Bailey

Image Courtesy: Gotham Wiki

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