Gotham: What the Little Bird Told Him

Jim Gordon: “You’re right. I do hate to lose.”

On this week of Gotham, Jim Gordon continues his pursuit of Jack Gruber, a.k.a. The Electrocutioner. (Gotham this week goes the lengths to make its opening scene reminiscent of a twisted Forrest Gump, only instead of the iconic white feather, there’s a floating newspaper, and instead of Alan Silvestri's melodious score, it’s Johnny Cash's 'God's Gonna Cut You Down'. Not bad for an introduction at all, though.)

While this episode’s action is lackluster when compared to other stories before in Season 1, I give ‘What the Little Bird Told Him’ major props for being able to weave together most of the stories going on here in the runtime. Often, an episode of Gotham is usually divided among three small stories all running parallel to each other, but here, it could be argued that each development going on with the cast this week can be tied back to Jack Gruber's onslaught across Gotham. To summarize, Gordon, stationed back at the GCPD alongside Detective Bullock, discovers that ‘Jack Gruber’ is just an alias and that his real name is Jack Buchinsky. Not only that, Buchinsky was involved with a troupe of bank robbers in the past that all sold Buchinsky out and resulted in his incarceration at Arkham. Now, Buchinsky seeks revenge against those that betrayed him, including none other than Don Sal Maroni. Meanwhile, Fish has taken Falcone’s housekeeper Liza captive in an effort to force Falcone to leave Gotham. The urgency of the matter prompts Falcone to try and bring Oswald in, but as Oswald attempts to leave Maroni’s company, Buchinsky makes his first attack; Maroni survives but Oswald briefly goes incoherent and rambles about his meeting with Falcone, triggering new suspicions about Oswald on Maroni’s part. Everything comes back to The Electrocutioner. To quote Owen Grady in Jurassic World: “That’s good. That is damn good.”

The mob-war story arcs truly are where Gotham usually shines, chock full of surprise team-ups and unexpected double-crosses. Though this is technically a part-two to ‘Rogues’ Gallery,’ most of the runtime is devoted to Falcone’s predicament. Whereas the snippets of the mob arc shown last in ‘Rogues’ Gallery’ felt dull to me, I sense that John Doman’s performance and conviction as Carmine Falcone in ‘What the Little Bird Told Him’ inspires the other cast members around him to also go one step beyond in their performances. The best scene in this episode for me is the exchange between Falcone and Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) over whether or not Falcone should leave the city, but it doubles also as an inner dispute between Falcone’s personal feelings towards Liza and Falcone's rationality.

Like I said, the action in this episode isn’t much to be wowed at. Even after Buchinsky’s inevitable attack on the GCPD headquarters, (skyrocketing the building’s insurance against supervillain offenses once more), miraculous plot-armor sported by Gordon allows him to get the last laugh and take Buchinsky out for the count. It looks like Gordon is here to stay for good at the GCPD, while across the city, Falcone is able to turn the tables against Fish and exiles her.

Couple other plot points I feel I need to comment on; it’s so satisfying for me watching the showrunners handle the development of Edward Nygma/The Future Riddler, and never doubting for a moment that this awkward CSI will one day become one of the city’s most feared villains. While social niceties, everyday interaction with others, and making efforts to woo the girl of his dreams are all not Nygma’s strong suits, using riddles to relieve any sign of anxiety is. Most guys might take the hint and back off if their crush’s boyfriend tells them to “walk away” but because Nygma uses riddles as a method for easing his own anxiety, he believes the same principles also apply to everyone else’s troubles, and so, attempts to use a riddle here to quell the awkwardness. (“What’s greener, then red? Frogs in a blender!”)

Barbara, after breaking off her relationship with Detective Montoya, ventures off to reunite with her parents… and that’s about all I can say this week about that subplot. No, I’m serious, that’s all that happens. By the end of the forty minutes, all I’ve gathered is that these two are Barbara’s parents and they have many, many moneys. Even though I don’t agree with the notion, I sense that there’s a possibility that Barbara’s parents have only been shown to the audience so that the show can execute something dramatic involving them later down the road, and thereby get around any complaints from the viewer along the lines of “I didn’t know Barbara even had parents because Gotham hasn’t shown them to us yet!”. Well, you’ve shown them to us, Gotham. I don’t know anything about who Barbara’s parents are as individuals mind you, but you’ve shown them to us. It seems just a little shameful to me that already, the showrunners don’t seem to have much of an idea anymore as to what to do with Barbara. Considering that in the comics Barbara is the first wife of Jim Gordon, and that Gotham’s version of Barbara also clearly has a few homages here and there to the Barbara Gordon of the comics who became Batgirl and Oracle, it’s just a tad frustrating for me watching this show scratch its head in bemusement at what to do with this character.

Lastly, this episode ends with the indication that Gordon and Lee are going to become more romantically involved in the episodes going forward. Why? Search me, but I guess the notion, once more in spite of my strong disagreement, with the showrunners is that because Lee’s the only other single female lead here, she has to be paired up with Gordon now, and the crew will worry about establishing chemistry later. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with establishing romance between two characters in a comic book property, because it can and it has been done properly before: The Amazing Spider-Man, Deadpool, and the Iron Man trilogy are all go-to examples. Gordon and Lee have shared together maybe five minutes altogether of screentime since we were introduced to Lee in last week’s episode, but it’s mainly consisted of Lee voicing her own support of Gordon’s ethics along with Lee’s objective assistance in helping Gordon find Buchinsky. So when the episode ends with Gordon going in for a kiss and Lee reciprocating it, and I find myself wondering where this spark came from, perhaps that’s a sign that not only is the show rushing this relationship a little too quickly, but also, to tie in to an earlier point, intending to bump Barbara from the show altogether in favor of Lee.

Or I’m just doing that thing where I like to over-analyze too much again. In any case, what happens down the road between Gordon, Barbara and Lee remains to be seen.

Aaron Studer loves spending his time reading, writing and defending the existence of cryptids because they can’t do it themselves.

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