Gotham Recap: No Heroes, Just Goats

Gotham Jim Gordon Arrested

This week’s episode of Fox’s Gotham should spark fresh discussion about what on the freshman drama is working, and what is not — if only because of the markedly different character mix that was on display.

I, for one, was quite compelled by “Spirit of the Goat,” so I am left to wonder: Is that in part because Fish Mooney and the lumbering “crime syndicate” storyline was 100 percent absent?

Or was it because of the significant bit of character work we got this week with Detective Harvey Bullock? Donal Logue is an immensely watchable actor, but the fact is that over Gotham‘s first five episodes, he’s been given little to do beyond the gruff, scraggly yin to Jim Gordon’s yang. (And even in that respect, they’ve written him with a variety of tonalities — sometimes thuggish, sometimes flip.) But here via flashback, we got to see Bullock work alongside a previous partner, Detective “Cher Horowitz’s Dad” Dix, a dynamic in which Harvey was the first one to storm a crime scene, against his colleague’s wishes. (Sound familiar?) And as the “Goat” killer was somehow resurrected after a decade-long dormancy, we saw Harvey’s anguish, wondering how he could possibly catch this guy again.

The Case of the Week itself was perhaps the best we’ve had thus far, palpably dark/despicable, sufficiently vexing (for us and for Harvey) and packing a nifty twist at the end. (Then again, no one casts Susan Misner just for a walk-on.)

The Oswald Cobblepot arc, the second-biggest throughline of this season thus far, churned independently of the Case of the Week, shedding a bit of light on his relationship with mom Carol Kane but more critically confirming for us how he, in his mind, fancies Jim Gordon a “friend” — even if Mom is no fan of the cops. And what better way for Oswald to demonstrate that friendship than by “returning from the dead” at episode’s end, just as Jim is being arrested for Cobblepot’s mob-ordered murder. But man oh man, Harvey is not happy to see that he’d been hoodwinked. Bad time for the Gotham logo to swoop in!

Beyond all of the above, there was a random yet entertaining bit with Edward Nygma’s crush on records-keeper Kristen Kringle (and his self-defeating attempts to demonstrate his affection); a brief cutaway to Bruce Wayne, only so that he could opine on the Goat’s methodology of killing the 1 percent’s first-born children; and the requisite silent dollop of Selina Kyle. (Do we know what exactly she pinched from the Waynes’ desk?)

What did you think of “Spirit of the Goat,” and where do you rank it amongst the first six episodes? Do you, as I do, wonder if it highlighted a Fish Mooney problem? Or do we simply enjoy a little variety in the weekly mix of characters?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Joey says:

    Really enjoyed this episode, particularly the character work that Donal Logue gave us tonight. As you said, he’s an immensely watchable actor, whether it was Terriers, Sons of Anarchy, Vikings, or Gotham (and yes, I know I’m missing a whole slew of his other credits, but those are what I know him from). You know what else was immensely watchable? Robin Lord Taylor and Carol Kane playing off each other. Those two are fantastic in their roles, and that bathtub scene had enough creepy-crawliness to last me until AHS on Wednesday.

    And I swear, Susan Misner has one of those faces where as soon as I saw her, I knew that I knew her from somewhere, but I couldn’t place it. As soon as you said her name, Matt, I found myself searching through IMDB and remembered where I first spotted her, an episode of L&O:CI where she played a nun with a pretty dark secret. Very good in that guest spot, as well.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Yes, I first met Misner when I covered One Life to Live, but most recently I’ve seen her on The Americans and The Following. As for the tub scene, I’m just glad her hand never went below the waterline! I was very afraid.

    • I loved how they built up Bullock throughout the episode because it made the last scene all the more impactful.

    • JM says:

      Joey, I have loved Donal Logue for years–ever since his criminally underated comedy about robbing Mick Jagger. That show was hilarious, and I still miss it. Anyway, I sincerely hope that he has much better luck with ‘Gotham’ than his other shows.

  2. laura meakin says:

    I struggle to watch the fish scenes tbh. I don’t know if its poor acting or poor writing but I can’t stand the fish scenes. I love alfred/bruce scenes however. Overall the show isn’t bad just not awesome but ill give it time.

    • Butters says:

      I completely agree with the Fish scenes. They are poorly written, last week’s scenes with her and her “weapon” were laughable. I am not sure if it the writing or the acting.

    • I think Fish is a fascinating character on a dramatic basis and I have a feeling that she will be given more to do over time.

  3. nick says:

    Really I thought this was extremely boring- it only got a little bit better i the last few minutes. & I’m probably in the minority but for me the best part is Fish Mooney/the mob scenes & Peneguin. Other than that stuff there really isn’t much else keeping me here.

  4. Rex says:

    And Ed Nygma is… Sheldon Cooper ish

  5. prish says:

    I just fast forward to the Alfred/Bruce scenes. I like the Gordon and his partner actors, so I might watch their scenes in reruns. It depends how the series develops. I’m into growth, not how Boardwalk Empire was developed and ended.

  6. ndixit says:

    Fish Mooney is definitely a problem on the show. Unlike Taylor, who has hit the perfect note between camp and seriousness as Cobblepot, Smith has just been distractingly campy and over the top as Mooney. She just takes me out of every scene she’s in.

  7. This was a perfect escape from the mafia drama that has left me feeling overwhelmed at times but made me excited for that storyline’s return next week.

  8. God says:

    I think Fargo did the river crossing joke better. Haha.

  9. Tom says:

    I’m not a huge fan of Jada Pinkett-Smith altogether but especially in this role. I think this episode definitely highlighted a problem which is that the Fish storyline detracts from the rest of the fast-pacedness of the show. Whether it’s her performance or the writing or a combination of the two, it definitely is telling that this episode was so darn watchable and never had a fast forward moment. Love Donal Logue’s work on the show but I love (and I think I’m in the vast majority with this) Robin Lord Taylor’s performance. He steals the show every week.

  10. Jess says:

    I like Fish Mooney. She is a breath of fresh air from the male dominated Mob scene. She shows that women can be just as devious as her male counterparts. But Oswald Cobblepot is my favourite character on this show. I love Selina Kyle too. They both rock.

  11. The Kaibosh says:

    Overall a great episode.

    I’m thankful that the whole Jim Gordon murderer story line doesn’t have too much left. Dragging it out would have been tedious.

    Oswald and momma Cobblepot going all Bates Motel in the tub was quite disturbing.

    Not sure I’m too crazy about this fixation Selina has for Bruce. Yes they are two of the most important characters on the show and in Bruce’s case: THE most important. We know their spheres will cross. They’re destined to but we don’t need to be force fed trumped up situations that force them to interact in one way or another. Its too early for them to meet and interact in ANY way before they’re both in costume chasing each other on the rooftops. The writers should be careful here.

  12. les says:

    This episode was good at the last few minutes when Gordon was in handcuffs at the precinct and when Oswald announced his presence. The rest of the episode was an awful blurrrrrr.

  13. Hmm says:

    Honestly, Fish is not working for me. I don’t know if it’s Jada’s delivery or the character in general but she annoys the sin out of me and I can’t stand her scenes. I’m all for badass women kicking butt and taking names, but Fish is not that; she’s cowardly and manipulative.

  14. Ellinas1978 says:

    Complete of waste of a good 43 minutes of TV watching. Just needed to watch the last 2 minutes (maybe even 90 seconds I didn’t time it).

  15. Cam says:

    I feel the complete opposite and thought this episode a little dull, my main problem is any scene with Barbara and Jim-that couple has no chemistry to me, and the scenes with the Gotham version of internal affairs. They go hardest after the least corrupt cop? I love Jada’s Fish Mooney character, even though she is way out there. I also agree that this was the best story of the week.

  16. Dave says:

    I totally love Nygma, best character in the show, the actor is amazing!!!!!

  17. JM says:

    Unfortunately, the writers don’t have a clue how to write women on this show. Susan Misner’s psychologist has been the most interesting character, and she had all of five minutes? Fish is portrayed as a sex-starved, power-hungry character who likes to make her minions crawl in front of her. What part of that is likeable? Or even ‘love to hateable?’ Gordon’s girlfriend is an idiot, and the IA woman, who could be a real force to be reckoned with, is busy licking her wounds by going after her previous girlfriend’s new beau.

    That said, the MALE characters are all great with phenomenal actors like Logue, RL Taylor, the actor who plays Gordon, and even the boy actor who plays Bruce Wayne (who I’ve been impressed with since ‘Touch’. So I DO hope that the show gets renewed. They just need to find a good writer for women.

  18. iris says:

    This show needs to jump ahead at least 10 years in its timeline to become really good and interesting. It hasn’t been two monyhs since it premiered and I’m already bored. Take a 10 year leap and shows us Bruce as a 22 year old training harder than ever to fulfill his destiny. Show us Selina planning her first big score and Penguin taking over a part of the city. Bring back Poison Ivy and let her have her accident and show us how she struggles with her new abilities. All in all, get to the good stuff already! The show would be better if it embraced its Batman prequel side instead of the boring procedural (the balloon man was so boring it hurt) and zero to none development of the characters we really want to see becoming who they are supposed to be. Pull a OUAT and get rid of the curse sooner than everyone expected, like, before season 2, it would help the show unleash its potential. For now it’s just a glorified slow procedural with DC characters that are barely themselves yet.

  19. spartan_Cheer says:

    hahaha i also referred to Bullock’s old partner as cher’s dad! oh and the bad guy from theaadams family…..go 90s movies!