Gotham 1.18: “Everyone Has a Cobblepot”

 Detective Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Harvey Dent (Nicholas D'Agosto) investigate a lead in the "Everyone Has A Cobblepot" episode of GOTHAM.
Detective Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Harvey Dent (Nicholas D’Agosto) investigate a lead.

“Petulance and naiveté are a bad combination.”

That’s Police Commissioner Loeb (Peter Scolari) telling Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) that he’s going about fighting corruption in the department the wrong way. But it might as well have been the audience rolling their eyes at yet another Gordon plan to stop corruption by yelling at people.

Perhaps Loeb’s comments stung because, in this episode, Gordon does a small amount of actual investigative work in an effort to find the evidence of murder and other misdeeds that Loeb has on, well, practically every member of the GCPD.

“Everyone Has a Cobblepot” also served up yet another offensive parody of the mentally ill, reassured viewers that Alfred (Sean Pertwee) will recover from last week’s stabbing, provided Fish (Jada Pinkett Smith) with a new eye, and showed that Selina (Camren Bicondova) is attached to Bruce (David Mazouz), whatever she may claim. Oh, and Harvey Dent (Nicholas D'Agosto) shows up but he makes little impression.

The episode also featured Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor), which was good, and lacked Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), which is double good. But, unfortunately, the episode itself was mediocre, much like most of the season.

Gordon’s latest crusade is set off by the exoneration of Detective Flass (Dash Mihonk) from murder charges via a statement by one Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue). Bullock explains he was blackmailed into the statement because his “Cobblepot” didn’t come back. Meaning that to save his life back in the day, Bullock had to murder someone, something Gordon refused to do with Oswald. Further, Bullock claims many officers on the force “have a Cobblepot.”

This is the best scene in the episode, as Donal Logue completely sells Bullock’s shame and frustration, far more than Ben McKenzie sells his anger, which, as Loeb noted, comes across as petulance.

After yelling at Loeb, Gordon decides the best way to clean up the department is to get Loeb’s blackmail files. A few abortive attempts later, Gordon chucks the idea of police work and goes to Oswald for information.

I’m not sure why the Gotham writers hate showing real police work, such as tracking phone calls, investigating real estate records, or hiring a forensic accountant, something that worked to nail Al Capone. (Young Bruce seems to be doing all this and he’s, what, 14?) Perhaps the writers believe these methods make for bad visuals. But at least mentioning them would go a long way into showing Gordon’s intelligence. 

Or they could use Eddie Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), who seems to be clever, if awkward, to help. Though Eddie is pre-occupied this week by Miss Kringle (Chelsea Spack). He finally works up the nerve to ask her out only to find she’s dating a handsome police officer who also likes riddles. I love that Eddie’s lack of social skills comes off as equal parts awkward and creepy.

Anyway, Gordon goes to Oswald and promises him a future favor for help in finding the blackmail files, thus ceding all his high moral ground. If he’d tried other methods and they failed, this might have some emotional resonance but instead it comes across as impatience.

As Gordon entered Oswald’s club, my husband walked into the room, noticed the umbrella logo and said “Obviously, Travelers Insurance is behind everything.” That’s as good an explanation as any offered by the show.

Ah well. Oswald is as interesting on-screen as ever and he, Gordon, Bullock take a road trip together to an isolated mansion where Loeb is supposedly hiding the files.

Miriam Loeb (Nicholle Tom).

Loeb’s hiding something but it’s not files. It’s Miriam (Nicholle Tom), his grown daughter, living in an attic, having tea parties and killing starlings in the rafters. Of course, she’s murderous. Every mentally ill person on Gotham is murderous because, duh, don’t we know how dangerous they are? Other shows might learn from their mistakes. Gotham doubles down on them.

I temporarily wondered why Loeb didn’t commit his daughter to a mental institution, but then I remembered that Gotham only has Arkham and nobody would send their loved one there, murderous or not. I also wondered if Loeb’s daughter appeared in the comics but couldn’t find any mention of her. So she’s strictly a Gotham invention.

Gordon uses his knowledge of Loeb’s daughter to force Loeb into giving him the evidence used to blackmail Bullock. Gordon also gets himself appointed head of the GCPD union. I’m not sure why the union has such power in the police force but it’s a win for Gordon and a loss for his enemy, Flass. Unfortunately, to get that win, Gordon had to promise Oswald that favor. Bullock calls him on that Faustian bargain.

Gordon (Ben McKenzie), Bullock (Donal Logue), and Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor, R) find themselves in a dangerous situation in the "Everyone Has A Cobblepot" episode of GOTHAM.
Gordon (Ben McKenzie), Bullock (Donal Logue), and Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor, R) find themselves in a dangerous situation.

“I’ll just do this one bad thing and all the good things I’ll do later will make up for it. But they don’t,” Bullock rightly states. And Gordon’s investigation of Loeb already has a body count because Oswald murder’s the two guardians of Loeb’s daughter.

Meanwhile, we learn that Fish Mooney’s prison is located on an island and that Jada Pinkett Smith looks good while stalking around in a white bathrobe. Why she gets a new eye instead of a death sentence from her captor, the Dollmaker, is unclear. What is clear is that, Fish is only out for herself.

The most heart-warming scenes of the episode are between young Bruce and tween Selina. She sneaks into the hospital to check on the recovering Alfred and she even hugs Bruce. But she’s as practical as ever about Bruce’s crusade. Alfred is practical as well because he won’t tell Gordon the identity of his attacker.

“You don’t set coppers on your mate,” Alfred says but maybe what he’s thinking is “yeah, right, like the cops will catch him.”  The butler and son plot their next move, which seems to involve capturing his old mate to gain information on who inside Wayne Enteprises ordered the attack.

There are four episodes of Gotham left this season. Let’s hope the pacing improves, that Fish’s story is somehow connected to the mob plot, and that Bruce and Alfred expose the corruption in Wayne Enterprises.

I’ve lost hope that Gordon will learn actual police work.


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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