Warning: Spoiler Alert
This was the show I expected coming out of the gates, someone removed the training wheels off of the new Fox series “Gotham,” in its third episode and the result was a fun and exciting ride. The pace quickened, the writing seemed shaper, we met some new interesting characters and the main storyline could have emanated from a comic book. Hopefully, this episode’s where the series finds its footing and fulfills the hopes of Fanboys, Fangirls, and comic book readers as well.
The episode began at the station house as a youth services employee was giving custody of Selina Kyle to Detective Jim Gordon, as she told the young officer she had information on the murders of Martha and Thomas Wayne. She took Gordon to the alley they got shot in and schooled him not to trust juvenile delinquents, even if they’re as cute as young Miss Kyle. Selina tells the detective that she can prove she witnessed the murder as she threw the man’s wallet she stole that night down the sewer drain. Gordon handcuffs the girl to the railing of the fire escape while he raises the man-hole cover and goes into the sewer in search of the wallet.
What he didn’t bother to do was search the girl for any implements that could help her pick the lock on the cuffs. As soon as Gordon goes underground, she produces a pen and quickly picks the lock. Gordon’s naturally disgusted standing in sewage, but he quickly sees a wallet and it’s owned by the man who reported the robbery that evening. Just then Selina peers over the edge of the sewer hole, and throws the cuffs to Gordon, saying he’ll likely need them.
Gotham’s buzzing over the charges filed against a Bernie Madoff type of investment councilor named Arnold Danzer who fleeced people throughout the city. Our first view of him takes place while he’s on the phone with his lawyer, telling him to pay off who ever needs to get paid off to ensure Danzer never spends a minute in jail. He then tells his attorney, that he’s the lawyer and it’s his job to figure out how. He leaves the building and heads out into the street where a throng of reporters try to question him and he blows him off.
Suddenly a man wearing a children’s Halloween mask of a pig rolls a push-cart down the street shouting to all “Balloons, Balloons.” He rolls the cart over to Danzer and asks him if he’d like a balloon, but the investment banker ignores him. The masked man asks “Arnold Danzer?” and when he stops the masked man attached a handcuff to his hand, the other part of the cuff’s attached to a weather balloon and Danzer’s pulled into the sky by the helium balloon until he vanishes from site.
Back at the station Gordon’s appalled at the act by the vigilante, while Bullock’s amused. He tells his partner that Danzer’s a scumbag that got what he deserved, but Jim counters that citizens can’t take the law into their own hands. Harvey tells Gordon it’s a present and he should enjoy it, however Gordon does just the opposite.
Officers Allen and Montoya from the Major Crimes Unit pay Fish Mooney a visit to inquire on the whereabouts of Oswald Cobblepot and when they ask Mooney if he’s dead she admits he is, but tells them she’s not to blame. She then tells the cops that she’s heard that one of their own, Detective Jim Gordon sprayed Cobblepot’s brains all over the Gotham River. Allen asks why Gordon would do that, but Mooney tells him he’s asking the wrong question. She says what he should ask is whose powerful enough to get a young detective to kill someone for him and Montoya replies Carmine Falcone. Mooney tells the officer her deductive powers are amazing.
Of course Cobblepot’s not dead and we find out he’s back in Gotham. Unfortunately for him, so does one of Mooney’s thugs, whose ready to turn him over to her. But Oswald strikes first stabbing his assailant in the calf with his knife, then slashes him until he dies. He steals money from the corpse and asks the local food truck vendor for a tuna fish sandwich. He then heads to an Italian restaurant with a reputation for serving those who are “Connected.” He applies for a job in the kitchen, but the manager says Oswald doesn’t even have the right shoes. He then looks over at one of the kitchen staff and looks at his shoes. When the guy from the kitchen starts to head home Cobblepot approaches him at the bus stop and asks what size shoes does the man wear. The guy looks at him funny and tells him he wears size nine and Oswald smiles and says what a coincidence.
We head to Wayne Manor and witness a very peculiar site, the Wayne’s butler Alfred Pennyworth’s trying to engage young Bruce in a sword fight using a pair of canes. Bruce tells him he doesn’t want to play, but Alfred starts parrying and thrusting and Wayne reactively blocks his shots with his cane. This goes on for a bit, then Bruce yells he doesn’t want to play and his anger puts him on the offensive and backs Alfred into a corner. They both smile when they realize what happened.
That’s a twist of the legacy as Alfred never encouraged young Bruce to learn to defend himself or send him down the path that lead to him becoming Batman. Was this an isolated incident, or will this Alfred play a different role in Wayne’s upbringing in this new telling of the tale? Although his past hasn’t been revealed, he’s portrayed as someone who looks like they can defend themselves and though he gets cross with Bruce, we know he loves him dearly.
Although nobody cared when “The Balloon Man,” sent Arnold Danzer into space, the reactions far different after he disposes of his second victim. This time it’s a dirty cop Lieutenant Cranston who’s stopped by the man with the cart. Cranston perceives him as a threat and disables him, emptying the contents of “The Balloon Man’s,” pockets, but he’s able to slip the handcuff on Cranston’s ankle and he sails off into space kicking and screaming.
Allen and Montoya, confront Gordon on what Mooney told them and asks if he killed Cobblepot for money or as deference to Falcone. Gordon just tells them they’re wrong and says if they find any evidence, come find him. Montoya won’t let it lie there however, as she heads over to Jim’s fiancée, Barbara Kean’s apartment.
When Renee and Barbara talked in the first episode, the body language between the two of them suggested they had a past together and we confirm that in this conversation. Montoya and Kean were a couple, apparently a dysfunctional one as there were lies and possibly both of them were abusing alcohol and or drugs. But Montoya says that she’s telling her former lover the truth, Gordon’s a dirty cop, just ask him where he was the night Oswald Cobblepot got killed.
The distributor of the weather balloons calls the police and then comes in and meets with Harvey and Jim. the guy’s named Gerrick and he says a former employee stole four of them from him, that means two more remain. They track the former employee down and bring him into custody, he admits he stole the balloons, but says he sold them to a man who concealed his identity. Bullock then says to the kid, it’s the perfect crime, no body no evidence. The kid laughs and says that Harvey doesn’t know anything about weather balloons, they reach a certain height then the air gets cold enough to make the balloon brittle and it pops, the bodies will return.
In a nice piece of black humor, we’re outside in downtown Gotham watching an elderly woman walking her little dog, when she suddenly looks up and all she says is “Oy!” The next scene has a tarp covering both bodies, we can see the woman’s feet sticking out and Cranston’s arm. Uniforms searched Cranston’s body and he had a form on him with Gordon’s name on it. Jim knows whose responsible, it’s the child services employee Davis Lamond, that handed over Selina Kyle at the beginning of the episode.
He’s not at work and officers search his home and find no trace of him or the remaining balloon. (The third balloon got cuffed to a Catholic Church official who molested children.) The two cops try to figure out where Lamond’s storing the balloons, when Gordon figures it out, since there’s a new child services center the old one’s no longer used.
They head to the building and find the last weather balloon and start searching for Lamond, Bullock instead gets found by him and holds a gun to Harvey’s head as he goes to talk to Gordon. Davis says that Jim should work with him not against him, they’re both trying to shut down corruption in Gotham. Gordon explains that’s why we have the criminal justice system and he pledges to Lamond to make it work, but “The Balloon Man,” says the police’s time’s past and then attempts to shoot Gordon but misses badly. Bullock subdues Lamond then hooks his arm to the weather balloon and the vigilante starts to rise. Gordon jumps up and grabs his feet, but the balloon keeps rising, he tells Bullock to shoot the balloon and he does, they both drop from the sky and land on the roof of a panel truck.
Jim heads to Barbara’s apartment and he’s physically and mentally spent. He tells his fiancée, that more vigilantes will follow, that corruptions leaked into every corner of Gotham’s infrastructure and branch of government. He says there are dirty cops out there, that will gladly shoot a suspect to death rather than try them. Keane looks him in the eyes and asks him, if he’s like that and he asks her if she thinks he’s capable of that mentality. She smiles kisses him, responds he’s not and that’s why she loves him. Just then the doorbell rings and Barbara answers it, she then turns to her fiancée with a confused look on her face and calls his name. Standing in the doorway, Oswald Cobblepot who greets Gordon by saying “Hello James, old friend.”
The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 9:00pm on Fox.