Gotham S1:E4 – Arkham (Too Many Nights in Gotham)


When we last left intrepid Detective James Gordon, Oswald Cobblepot had shown up at his doorstep with a tuxedo and a smile.

Jim off-sets the presence of Oswald (introducing himself as Peter to Barbara) by saying that he’s a “work friend”. We get through the awkward stuff and Jim gets Oswald out of his posh clock-tower penthouse apartment (which we found out last week is actually Barb’s) and onto the street. In his best Christian Bale Batman voice, Jim interrogates Oswald asking why he came back to Gotham when Jim told him not to making us painfully aware that Jim has never seen any movies ever because telling someone never to come back usually assures that they will be sooner rather than later. Jim threatens, saying he should have killed Oswald, Oswald knows Jim would never do it even offering Jima free shot with a broken bottle. Oswald offers to be Gordon’s inside man with the crime world (citing Jim as the “last good man in Gotham” to no surprise) and pulls the old ninja disappearance (with a terrible limp) in the middle of a city street.

We then get a scene with a city councilman and his assistant in a dark parking lot. A random man shows up and wants to show the councilman something. Rather than just walk away, the moron assistant takes a device from the man and holds it up to his eye when he is instructed to do so. SURPRISE!!! Knife to the eye! Are there no movies in this universe? Does no one see these tricks coming?

The councilman runs, is pursued, and gets murdered by the stranger. Cue titles.

Captain (not) Sarah Essen gives the double homicide case to Jim and Harvey as Bullock predictably bitches about it. Turns out the councilman had something to do with the Arkham plan.

Cut to the Mayor giving a speech about the redevelopment plan for “Arkham City”, the shanty-town district in the exact middle of the city (comprising most of its volume, actually) and the revitalization of its aging mental asylum. According to the Mayor, the Wayne plan called for demo-ing the entire area and putting up new, affordable housing for the city’s less fortunate as well as building a state-of-the-art mental health facility (otherwise known as another ASYLUM) and the opposing plan which would involve putting a giant waste treatment facility in A CENTRAL PARK SIZED AREA IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GOD DAMNED CITY. Is this real or just a bad game of SimCity?

We cut to the same killer now taking out another councilman who is for the waste treatment facility plan. We find out through some gallows exposition that the Falcone family supports the Wayne plan while the Maroni family is backing the waste treatment bit. The killer burns the councilman alive.

Jim and Bullock show up at the scene in the morning (inside the gates of the old Arkham Asylum) and we’re treated to a bit of Ed Nygma who explains to our favorite dicks that the hit man killed both a Falcone supporter and a Maroni supporter (and that’s called a paradox!). The boys are stumped. They get a bit of info from a current inmate and freelance hitter that the guy they’re looking for has a reputation for using a metal spike to do his killing.

The clue leads the pair to an office where the killer purportedly works, he disappears from his desk and Jim goes to investigate the back. Hitter is hiding behind a shelf, holding his tube of spiky death, waiting to ice the cops hot on his trail, when Harvey calls Jim back to the main office area to let him know that he found news clippings about both deaths in the hitter’s desk because that was much more important than actually tracking the guy down.

Cut to Oswald who, earlier in the episode, witnesses a large bag full of what we assume is money come into the Maroni run restaurant where he washes dishes. A bunch of masked men come in to rob the backroom of the payroll, plugging the restaurant manager in the gut with a shotgun blast prompting Oswald to go on the move. Maroni’s men get to the scene, find all their fellow gangsters dead, and follow a bunch of bloody footprints to the freezer where Oswald is currently hiding with half of the payroll. Boss Maroni appreciates Oswald’s efforts enough to promote him to restaurant manager.

Jim stays at the police station while Harvey goes to ask our favorite Eartha Kitt clone, Fish, about the word on the street, which is really just an expositional jaunt into Fish’s subplot (which we’ll get to later) rather than any clear lead in the investigation. Jim, meanwhile, gets a call from Oswald who, in his new position but not yet out of his dishwasher clothes, has another clue which connects to a previous clue leading Jim to realize the next hit is the Mayor.

Jim runs to the Mayor after leaving a message for Bullock, the hitter shows up at the mayor’s mansion, and we immediately see that the Mayor’s mansion is much larger than the one-room study of stately Wayne Manor including a concert hall with chairs where Jim and the hitter have a prolonged showdown. Just when the hitter gets the upper hand, Bullock shows and the two wind up taking the hitman down.

After the day is saved, the Mayor announces that he’s merging the Wayne/Falcone plan and the Maroni plan for Arkham by doing low-cost housing, a new asylum, and a waste disposal site. Bruce, who was consulted earlier by Gordon on the whole Arkham thing, is shown in his “mansion” (read: only room they ever show) disgusted as the mayor says the Waynes would be proud of this idea.

This week in sideplots:

Fish Mooney is auditioning vampy/gothy singers for a job that isn’t, apparently, being a vampy/gothy singer for her club. After the first audition, with a girl who has some decent pipes and looks like Eva Green, she asks the girl to try to seduce her. Fish is unimpressed with the girl’s skills (she gives her a shoulder rub. 1.5/10.) and sends her away revealing that she’s not looking for a singer, she’s looking for “a weapon”. When Bullock mosies in during the main plot, Fish is auditioning a girl who looks kinda like Lorde (not the Stan Marsh version, ya ya ya) but sings like Lana Del Ray got stabbed in the throat. When asked to seduce, there’s a girl-girl kiss. Fish then brings the two prospective “singers” to a seedy river dock area and makes them fight it out. Lorde girl wins after bashing Eva Green’s head on the pavement a few times. At the end of the episode, Fish is icing down Lorde’s bruises while saying that she got her “just in time”.

Barb starts asking Jim “who is Oswald Cobblepot” after Detective Montoya spilled the beans to her about Jim’s supposed killing of the Penguin in last week’s episode. Barb finally comes clean to Jim about the romantic nature of her and Renee’s relationship, much to Jim’s dismay. Before the end of the episode, Barb comes to the police station with a lot of relationship angst and I’m sorrys but still presses Jim on the Cobblepot issue. Jim says “it’s work and I don’t want to talk about it” which Barb whines about. Jim justifies himself by referencing the fact that the last time he told Barb about work, she called the newspaper to give an anonymous tip on the child snatchers in ep. 2. She walks away in the most dramatic fashion possible after telling Jim to make a choice about honesty blah blah romantic tension blah.

Bruce wants to start trying to connect the murder of his parents to the Arkham deal and the councilman slayings, proving yet again that he’s going to be Batman eventually even if his mansion is only one room.

Oswald, as it turns out, orchestrated the robbery and the murder of his boss. We get a scene where the thieves are counting the loot from that job in an empty apartment and are joined by Oswald. It’s all smiles and laughs and, hey, Oswald even brought them a nice pink box of cannoli from the restaurant! Do I need to go on after mentioning that Oswald didn’t eat a cannoli after his friends scarfed theirs down? Yep. Poison. Room full of dead robbers and Oswald walks out as the end title card hits.

This week in anger:

Arkham Asylum, though placed in the inner city by Christopher Nolan in Batman Begins, was never in Gotham proper. It was always outside of Gotham. In the comics, it’s depicted as a large facility in the middle of the woods, up on a hill, much like Wayne Manor. Arkham City was not a thing unless you count the recent video games but, even then, Arkham City was Mayor Sharpe’s idea to put a giant prison in a more run-down district of Gotham. In that universe, Arkham is on an island. Arkham is not and was not ever a district in Gotham City proper.

They didn’t really get much more into the mythos this week and Fish’s parts were mostly tolerable. I would have to say that this is the best episode of Gotham yet and is honestly more of what I was looking for from the start. The writing is still crap and plays out the cops to be bumbling idiots. Most of the acting is still shit and any time Gordon is with a perp he launches into the Christian-Bale-Needs-A-Cough-Drop voice but, other than that, this is more of what the show should be – a crime drama that just happens to be set in Batman’s future city.

A shinier turd than the rest, still not very good. I remain confident that they will give

Bidula’s Last Word – 5/10

Keep fighting the good fight.

—end transmission—

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