Gotham Episode 7 Review: “Penguin’s Umbrella”
***As always, this review will contain spoilers. You have been warned.***
Last week’s episode of Gotham ended with a massive cliffhanger, as The Penguin casually strolled into a room filled with police officers who previously believed he was dead. Rather than pick up where the last episode left off, this week’s Gotham barely even mentions the dramatic ending. Instead, we’re treated to an equally intense scene between Gordon and his partner, Harvey Bullock. Let’s just say Bullock is none too happen about Gordon letting Oswald Cobblepot live. Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue play off each other so effortlessly, even when one of them has a gun pointed in the other’s face. Their love/hate relationship continues to be a highlight of the show and Logue never fails to bring the laughs as the scummy detective.
Although the title of this episode is “Penguin’s Umbrella,” it takes awhile before we get a glimpse of the fan favorite character. Instead, we’re introduced to Victor Zsasz. Zsasz is a fairly underrated Batman villain, but this portrayal left me feeling a bit conflicted. At first, Anthony Carrigan seems utterly intimidating in the role, but eventually it starts to seem borderline cartoonish. It doesn’t help that his leather-clad henchwomen look like they’d be more at home in one of Schumacher’s Batman films. However, all is forgiven when we get to see Zsasz carve a fresh tally mark into his arm after another kill. I have a feeling this isn’t the last time we’ll be seeing the bald headed baddie.
Eventually, our beloved Penguin does make an appearance and he does not disappoint. Robin Lord Taylor gets more impressive each week as the flamboyantly wicked supervillain. Oswald is slowly gaining more power in Gotham, as it was revealed this week that he’s been playing both sides. Basically, he has both Maroni and Falcone in the palm of his hand. It’s only a matter of time before he starts to move up the ranks and become a mob boss himself. Until then, it’s still fun to watch poor Oswald get slapped around by Fish Mooney and the others. We’ll see how much longer that lasts.
Maroni and Falcone are also given plenty to do in this episode, with both David Zayas and John Doman delivering excellent performances. Doman is extremely convincing as the seasoned Falcone, while Zayas continues to provide a few laughs as Maroni. Both actors have the surprising ability to make these vicious crime lords seem oddly likable, whether it’s Falcone enjoying some time with his chickens or Maroni expressing confusion over Cobblepot’s “honking.” When the two powerhouses finally meet up, it makes for great TV.
With so many larger-than-life characters, it’s easy to forget that Jim Gordon is the glue that holds Gotham together. Ben McKenzie has the under appreciated job of being the straight man to all of the crazies that inhabit the city and he does it with gusto. With his every-man charm and occasional dry humor, it’s impossible not to root for him. His girlfriend, Barbara Kean, is given much more to work with in this episode as well. In previous episodes, we’ve mostly seen her walk around the apartment with a coffee mug, but tonight she gets to play the damsel in distress. I hope her character will get a chance to really blossom somewhere down the line, but Erin Richards makes the best of every scene she’s in. We now know she has no trouble trying to negotiate with someone as frightening as Carmine Falcone, so that’s definitely a start.
It seems like every Gotham review I’ve written has been overwhelmingly positive, which lets you know that this show is unbelievably consistent. Each episode leaves you feeling even more excited for the next and that’s exactly what good TV should do. With so many wonderfully talented actors and incredible production value, it’s not hard to see why each episode of Gotham is more like a big budget short film than an hour-long crime drama.