Gotham 1.12: “What the Little Bird Told Him”

Christopher Heyerdahl guest-stars as the Electrocutioner.

“You think you’ve been careful so far?”

Lest we forget, Harvey Bullock repeats the phrase three times, each more incredulous than the last in the latest Gotham.

It’s a perfect line, well-delivered by Donal Logue, and points out the single biggest issue with Gotham: Jim Gordon should be dead by now.

But for plot reasons, he lives. It’s certainly not because his skills are invaluable to Gotham.  Oh, he yells at people for being corrupt and he condescends to those not doing real police work but it’s been a long time since we’ve actually seen him do something that makes things better for the city.

But yet Jim holds himself up as better than everyone else. He yells at other cops, various mobsters and the Mayor and the Police Commissioner. Yet no one takes him out.  This frustrates me to no end because the character has such potential.

But again, Gotham isn’t quite sure whether it wants to be a gritty police procedural with a superhero edge or a show that concentrates on villains and the people who fail to stop them. However, when it hits right, it’s entertaining, as it was last night.

Back to Jim.

Electrocutioner from DC Comics.
I suppose this episode’s capture of the Electrocutioner counts as a win since everyone else was too stupid to wear rubber golashes just in case of an electric attack. (Or even post guards around the precinct.) But then Jim, instead of taking his opponent by surprise, tries to arrest him at gunpoint. Jim, the guy’s taken out everyone in your precinct! I’d say that counts as an attack. Just shoot him.

Or maybe Jim should have grabbed that handy cup of water sooner.  Who knew that the answer to how fight the Electrocutioner could be found in the Wizard of Oz?  That’s a very big setup for such a small payoff.

We did learn our villain’s real name: Lester Buchinsky, who is actually the villain named Electrocutioner in the comics. One version of this villain was responsible for a bomb that caused mass destruction and killed little Lian Harper, the toddler daughter of Roy Harper, aka Speedy, aka Red Arrow, aka Arsenal. (The guy in red leather over on Arrow who hasn’t moved into parenthood yet.) To prove Gotham comes by its insane stories honestly, the storyline of Lian Harper’s murder ended with Roy Harper using a dead cat as a weapon.

So Gotham better watch out for the whole city destroying thing if Lester escapes again. Or else the populace needs to be armed with water buckets. (But not dead cats.)

Commissioner Loeb from DC Comics.
The other character from the comics who shows up this episode is one Police Commissioner Loeb, who originally appeared in the classic Batman: Year One stories by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. Jim lies about being invaluable to Loeb and, for some reason (okay, plot reasons), the commissioner buys it.

However, Loeb may be more noteworthy later as an opponent of the good people of Gotham and the eventual Batman. Loeb’s the one who orders the police to take down the mysterious new vigilante dressed as a bat, an order that leads to the eventual partnership of Gordon and Batman.

That might mean Loeb stays in power for a good, long time in Gotham the show.

Fish Mooney’s plot to take down Falcone isn’t quite as simple as throwing a cup of water but, for all the setup this season, her plan is as wafer-thin as Jim Gordon’s plan to stop the Electrocutioner.

Fish pretends to kidnap Liza, the pretty mole inside Falcone’s house. Fish orders Falcone to step down and retire to the country and listen to opera with Liza. I thought that Fish only offered retirement as a ruse but it seems she thought Falcone should be allowed to retire with dignity. Huh? I thought she kept saying she wanted to take him down?

But Fish’s plan falls apart because of Pengiun. Poor Oswald nearly gets electrocuted, is smacked in the face, and dragged like a sack of flour to the police station as part of the Electrocutioner plot. But Oswald has the last word, outing Liza’s connection with Fish to Falcone. Since Liza and Falcone shared a moment of real affection earlier in the episode, that means Liza is sure to die.

armine Falcone (John Doman) questions Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith). She’ll get to live…for now.

And so Falcone brutally strangles Liza with his bare hands, kills all but one of  Fish’s men, and takes Fish prisoner. I assume Falcone lets her live because Fish is still needed for plot reasons, because it seems like there are plenty of candidates to take over her crime district, starting with the little bird himself, Oswald, who seems to be moving on up. I predict Gordon will save Fish for the promise of learning what Fish knows about the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne.

Like Falcone, Eddie doesn’t have much luck with women either tonight and begins brooding when the object of his affection doesn’t appreciate his gift of a cupcake with a live bullet in it. It was a riddle, see, it means “a beautiful woman is a dangerous thing.”

Or, you know, maybe that Eddie is creepy.

More creepiness ensued when Barbara Kean traveled to her parent’s mansion to crash for a few nights. One, I’m amazed there was actually a shot of Barbara outside in the daytime. I was beginning to think she was a vampire. An awkward scene of Downton Abbey style-tea with parents ensues in which Barbara plays the role of poor, neglected Edith to the Keans’ meaner version of the Earl and Countess of Grantham.

This scene would’ve been one hundred percent funnier if Mama Penguin had been serving the tea. I suppose this view of her family is supposed to flesh out Barbara but she remains a character so under-written that you can see right through her. (Are we sure she’s not a vampire?)

Barbara claims things are all right with her and Jim, but that’s only because she can’t see into the men’s locker room at the police precinct where Jim is making out with Dr. Leslie (Lee) Thompkins. (Leslie apparently isn’t a sexy enough name for Morena Baccarin.)

Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) visits Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) at the very public GCPD precinct locker room.

As they began to have the sexy times, I said out loud “hey, that's a public place!” just at the moment where someone interrupted them because, hey, it is a public place. Though maybe Jim views it as more like his living room, given he’s living there right now. If he’s not living at the Clocktower and he just came back to the precinct, where did he crash before? At the Asylum? (Wait. I shouldn’t think. It can only hurt the ballclub.)

Perhaps they should move the person who writes dialogue for Harvey over to Barbara to give her some personality because he had some gems besides his incredulous line about Jim being careful:

“I have no rebellious fire.”

“You’re like a human roller coaster but you only go down.”

Arm yourself with some water and a little righteous indignation, Harvey, and you may become the hero Gotham deserves.

Here’s Arsenal and his dead cat weapon from the DC Comics. You know you were curious.
Next up: Fish is hanging around (literally), Jim’s nostrils flare, Falcone sits and broods because life as a godfather is hard, especially when you have to strangle pretty girls, and Oswald reaps the rewards of always being right.

Hopefully, since the show’s writers are publicly acknowledging that Jim’s carelessness is a problem, they’ll take steps to correct that.

In the meantime, I hope they didn’t read the miniseries with Arsenal and the dead cat weapon. I don’t want to give them any more ideas.

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 at Wired 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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