Gotham 1.13: “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon”

James Gordon (Ben McKenzie, R) and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue, L) address corruption within the GCPD in the "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon" episode of Gotham.
James Gordon (Ben McKenzie, R) and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue, L) address corruption within the GCPD.
Welcome back, indeed. This was the most coherent and compelling episode of Gotham to date. Not only did we get the usual surface fun—Oswald and Mama Kapelput, Fish being gleefully defiant—but the story reached far deeper in simultaneously giving Jim and victory and a defeat.

Gotham's unpredictability has always been a strength, and that’s in evidence, too. I expected Fish might die, I expected crazy Mama Kapelput to get caught in a crossfire, and, most of all, I expected Gotham's signature quick cuts between storylines to interfere with the overall impact of the episode. Instead, the police plot and the mobster plot coalesced into something greater than both, while the subplots of Bruce and Selina’s break-up and Eddie’s fumbling courtship of Miss Kringle reinforce the grief and loss of the overall story.

The story begins with Fish literally tied up by a torture specialist named Bob, which seems extra-insulting after we find out Fish’s name is the far more elaborate Mercedes Marie Mooney. Bob and Fish share a 50 Shades moment, in which Jada Pinkett Smith shows off the best arms since Sarah Conner in Terminator 2. But Falcone’s security proves as porous as the GCPD’s and Butch comes to the rescue.

Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith, R) and Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell, L) pay Oswald Cobblepot a visit in the "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon" episode of Gotham.
Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith, R) and Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell, L) pay Oswald Cobblepot a visit.

I love Butch, he’s such a bundle of surprises, but someday I want the story of why he’s willing to sacrifice himself for Fish.

Meanwhile, Jim and Harvey are mixed up in actual police work, investigating the “public service homicide” of a drug dealer. Jim finds several packets of a drug in the victim’s shoes. It’s then Jim first meets Narcotics Detective John Flass, Jim’s nemesis in Batman: Year One. In that tale, Jim beats the crap out of Flass to get him to back off. In Batman Begins, Batman suspends Flass from a rooftop and terrorizes him. Things never end well for Flass. (In last week’s episode, “What The Little Bird Told Him”, Flass was the cop complaining Eddie was “so weird.”)

However, things seem certain to end well for Flass this time, as he’s connected with the corrupt Commissioner’s office. Only hard evidence will send him away for the murder of an innocent witness to the drug dealer’s killing. Since the murder happened at the precinct, Jim assumes immediately the killer is a cop, which isn’t unreasonable, until you remember how lousy security is in the place. Heck, anyone could have walked in off the street with an icepick. Essen correctly points out that Jim needs evidence, not righteous guesses.

When Jim is stymied, he does one of the most interesting things he’s done all season: he goes to Oswald for help. For Oswald, this is the cherry on top of the sundae that’s been his day, as he’s shown his Mom what a good son he is and how important he’s going to be. Carol Kane has a great time showing off in Fish’s former club.

Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie, L) has a conversation with Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor, R) in the "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon" episode of Gotham.
Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie, L) turns to Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor, R) for help.

Oswald is happy to do a favor for his good buddy Jim, because that’s what friends do, and agrees that getting the evidence against Flass won’t involve hurting anyone. Oswald has a rather more broad definition of “hurt” than Jim, however, and his flunky tortures a family to get another corrupt cop to roll on Flass.

Oswald pays the price for sending his flunky off on the errand, because Fish re-appears in her club and she’s pissed. But the party expands when Zsasz and his two sidekick assassins show up to re-capture Fish. She escapes, Butch doesn’t. In a scene that shouldn’t have been affecting but was anyway, Harvey helps Fish leave Gotham after a last kiss.

Victor Zsasz (guest star Anthony Carrigan, R) pays a visit to Fish Mooney's night-club in the "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon" episode of Gotham.
Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan, R) pays a visit to Fish Mooney’s night-club.
Jim receives a far more public seal of approval when he confronts Flass with the murder weapon and the confession of the other cop. Flass brushes off this attempt to arrest him, claiming he’s untouchable. And in Jim Gordon’s single best moment of the season, our intrepid crusader rallies the rest of the precinct cops to his side, including Essen, who arrests Flass herself.

It’s a direct parallel to the earlier scene of the precinct deserting Jim earlier this season. It seems Jim’s fight against corruption may have turned a corner.

That is, until Jim is confronted privately by the cop who confessed. The poor guy pleads with Jim to leave his family alone, thus revealing what was done to elicit the confession.

Jim has caught one murderer but only at the cost of dealing with another.

Meantime, Bruce comes back from being in Switzerland and searches for Selina. Instead, she finds him. He tries to give her a snow globe. She refuses the gift, lies and tells him they’re not friends and she didn’t see who shot his parents, all clearly to protect him. (Also, really, Bruce? A snow globe? What about a cat statue?) Young Bruce is heartbroken, but Alfred applies some tough love.

Eddie’s heart is less wounded, as Miss Kringle actually defends him against the co-workers who make fun of his love poem to her. Oh, Miss Kringle, don’t encourage him. Really. On the other hand, maybe you’ve staved off his becoming a super-villain for a while.

Best Harvey lines of the night:

“I have a thing for me.”

“I respond to crises as they come.”

Next up: Jim decides the best way to fight corruption is to actually do police work and build a case the right way.

Nah. But that would be pretty cool.

Corrina Lawson is a writer, mom, geek and superhero, though not always all four on the same day. She is a senior editor of the GeekMom blog atWired and the author of a superhero romance series and an alternate history series featuring Romans and Vikings in ancient North America. She has been a comic book geek all her life and often dreamed of growing up to be Lois Lane.

Read all posts by Corrina Lawson for Criminal Element.

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