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Gotham: Everyone Has a Cobblepot

Oswald: “Five minutes with the files and a favor from Jim Gordon? Done!”

I never would have thought that Gotham would attempt to deliver an equally-as-superb sequel to ‘Welcome Back, Jim Gordon’. And if I’m being honest, ‘Everyone Has a Cobblepot’ isn’t quite equally as superb, but holy moly, does it come close!

To put a neat little bow on it, ‘Everyone Has a Cobblepot’ has it all. It’s got a Penguin team-up, deception, corruption, good twists, detectives doing detective work, Harvey Dent, a creepy house, creepy old people, creepy girl, and creepy music to accompany it all.

Gordon learns that Flass, the corrupt cop he took down in ‘Welcome Back, Jim Gordon’, has been cleared of all charges and is now being backed by Commissioner Loeb to become head of the police union. Naturally, this doesn’t sit right at all with Gordon and he becomes determined to find something, anything, he can use as leverage on Loeb in order to change his mind – even if he’s the only cop willing to do so.

I mentioned once how ‘Welcome Back, Jim Gordon’ didn’t stay coy in its many references and allusions to Batman: Year One. In ‘Everyone Has a Cobblepot’, not only do those allusions persist, but there’s a nice modicum of Batman: The Long Halloween shining through here as well. In the latter, Batman, Gordon and Harvey Dent made an agreement that they would employ whatever means necessary to bring down organized crime, so long as they bent the law instead of breaking it. Bats is a no-show for this episode unfortunately, but seeing Gordon and Dent team up again, using a few less-than-ethical means to get information out of their targets, was a delight, and I think they’re another pair that works really well off of each other. It isn’t long before Gordon convinces Bullock that this is a war worth waging, and Bullock gets it on all the action.

In any other show, characters as polarizing as Gordon and Bullock might have remained at each other’s throat until the curtain call of the season, clashing with morality and ethics, kicking and screaming all the way. What I appreciate about Gotham is how much they want to progress Gordon and Bullock’s working relationship in the opposite direction. By the end of this episode, Bullock is learning more and more that Gordon being Mr. Goody Two-Shoes has its perks, and in this case, Gordon’s war against Loeb (and subsequently learning that Loeb has a daughter locked away who is guilty of murdering her mother) won him the privilege of destroying everything Loeb could potentially use as leverage against Bullock in the future, meaning that for now, Bullock can breathe a little easier at the precinct.

Elsewhere in the city, Bruce watches over Alfred’s slow recovery after his near-death experience. A concerned Selina drops by and seemingly is looking to amend her relationship with Bruce. Still intent on figuring out just who is conducting shady shenanigans within his company, Bruce quietly rebuffs Selina’s offer to help him avenge Alfred. Whether this is because Bruce is still hurt over Selina’s rejection in the past, or because he wants her safe and to not end up like Alfred, I’m afraid I’m not sure. I do like the parallel though between Bruce and Gordon in this episode, that despite everyone else around them saying they’re out of their depth and in over their head for trying to solve one case, they still have the will and guts to basically say “screw that noise, I’m gonna solve it anyway.” I know that sounds like a big ‘well duh’ when we think about what mindsets go into being a hero, but I think Gotham does a well enough job of not being too unsubtle about the fact that Bruce and Gordon are going to go far in this city’s legacy.

Meanwhile, after a much-anticipated buildup, Fish finally is met face-to-face by the Dollmaker. Oh sorry, actually, Gotham is going the extra mile to call him Francis Dulmacher. Because play-on-words.

In a series soon to be showcasing a man dressed in green spandex with question marks plastered all over, a man with physical features that all seem to resemble those seen on a penguin, and a boy that grows up to wear the outline of a bat on his chest, is it really so bad, Gotham, to show that there’s a dude out there, a dude who steals people’s organs and mixes-and-matches limbs, who appropriately has taken on the moniker of ‘Dollmaker’?

Anyway, I will say though that it makes for an interesting dynamic to have Fish play against such an eerie and unwavering character as Dulmacher, played brilliantly by Colm Feore. I think the actor has had his fair share of stellar performances (House of Cards, Chicago, Thor, 24) and his presence here spices things up for Fish’s subplot. The character actually gives me something compelling to watch whenever Fish’s subplot rolls around. Fish spends a majority of her time this week attempting to negotiate a new deal with Dulmacher and essentially become his latest subordinate. Unfortunately for Dulmacher’s prisoners, this means that if Fish wins over his trust, she’s going to have to convince the inmates to relinquish their hostage and try to ease off the animosity for the guards harvesting their organs. Pretty reasonable request.

All the inmates have my sincerest sympathy though for being double-crossed by Fish like that. Fish claims that if any group, any organization whatsoever is to survive, it must be built on trust, but I’m afraid I don’t buy that at all when it’s coming from her. It’s been pretty clear since day one of this series that Fish is really only out to save her own skin, and she’ll throw anyone under the bus if need be. I already can’t help but theorize as to how she’s going to hoodwink Dulmacher and make her return to Gotham by the season finale, because it’s that obvious. For all her hatred of Oswald, the thing that, for the time being at least, will separate her and Oswald is that Oswald has people in his life he’s willing to stick his neck out for. His mother no doubt, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Jim Gordon too falls into that category.

How long that buddy-buddy relationship with Gordon will last is something else though. I seem to recall Oswald once telling Gordon that friends don’t owe friends favors. That was also in ‘Welcome Back, Jim Gordon’ I believe. In this episode, however, Oswald seems to have gone back on that statement, and this time, now wants a favor down the road from Gordon in exchange for giving up some juicy tidbits about Loeb. Part of me wants to think that Oswald’s just getting a little cranky at Gordon for giving him the cold shoulder lately instead of this just being a case where the writer (it’s the same writer for both episodes) contradicted themselves accidentally.

In the end, Gordon does win his battle against Loeb and Flass (I was honestly surprised at how quickly Loeb budged in the end though) and even takes over from Flass to become a prime candidate for being elected president of the police union. Bullock warns Gordon that even though he may think that all the good things he does can make up for one bad mistake, it will never truly be enough to put Gordon at ease. That’s some ominous foreshadowing if I ever heard it, leading me to add to my list of zany speculations the possibility that someone might get to Gordon and corrupt him quite heavily by the end of Season One’s finale…

Other Thoughts:

• True character development is someone saying that Oswald looks like a bird and him not getting all riled up because of it.

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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