Gotham S2, E1: Good Cop Gone Bad?

Gotham Season 2 Premiere

The opening montage reveals how the main characters are handling life one month after the bloody events in Gotham’s season 1 finale ushered in the violent departures of Gotham’s three main mob bosses – Maroni, Falcone and Fish Mooney:

Jim and Dr. Pretty

Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Dr. Pretty aka Lee Tompkins are still going strong (Morena Baccarin was promoted to series regular). Nice to see Jim upgraded his love life  but his career took a tumble. He’s been demoted from a detective to a uniformed traffic cop.

Bullock the Sober Bartender

Displayed courtesy of Corina Tu

Displayed courtesy of Corina Tu

Bullock (Donal Logue) traded his badge for a bartender’s apron and a low-key civilian life “with a woman who actually likes him.” How many episodes before Bullock is back in action with his buddy, Jim, seeking out snacks?  My guess – one or two episodes, tops.

Penguin Is a Big Bird; So, Why Are People Still Treating Him Like a “Fruitcake Leprechaun”?

With Falcone and Maroni gone, Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) is the new boss in town. He’s added Fish’s former allies –  Selena (Camren Bicondova) and Butch (Drew Powell) – to his crew. But, some of his fellow mobsters are not quite ready to kiss the ring, including one who is refusing to pay debts previously owed to Falcone.

Barbara – “I’m not a brilliant outlaw. I just have . .  . issues.”

After killing her parents in the season finale, Barbara (Erin Richards) struts into Arkham like Naomi werking a runway. No, that’s not right. Barbara walked into Arkham with the same swagger Peggy Olsen had her most gif-able scene from the final season of Mad Men.

Barbara attracts the attention of fellow Arkham-ite red-haired Jerome (Carmen Monaghan), the carnival mother murder from last season. Jerome, who many believe eventually will be revealed to be the Joker, single-handedly could have created the “gingers are creepy” phenomenon, if South Park and Cartman hadn’t already done so in one of the all-time best South Park episodes, “Ginger Kids.” Barbara and Ginger Jerome potentially forming an alliance in Arkham! Gotham, you have my full attention!

Some Gotham fans are criticizing Barbara’s transformation, reminding everyone that in the Batman comics, Barbara Kean is Jim Gordon’s wife and they have a daughter also named Barbara who becomes Bat Girl. This new crazy, evil Barbara makes no sense to them. Others think it’s possible an evil Barbara Kean in Fox’s Gotham does not necessarily preclude a Barbara Gordon who becomes Bat Girl,eventually.

As for me, I don’t care if the show sticks strictly to principles from the comic book universe, as long as the show I’m watching is entertaining.  Barbara’s character was a bit of a mess last season. Just the two brief scenes with Barbara in this episode tell us that Barbara will be much more entertaining as a villain than when she was introduced this time last year as Jim’s rich, Barbie dream girl.

Lil Bruce Wayne

After blasting their way into it, Bruce (David Mazouz) and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) explore Bruce’s dad’s hidden sanctuary, where they find a post-mortem letter addressed to Bruce, advising him that he can’t have truth and happiness. His father encourages Lil Bruce Wayne to choose happiness, “unless you feel a calling, a true calling.”

The Man in the Mirror Bullies Nygma

Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) is having a hard time getting along with the man in the mirror, literally. In Nygma’s defense that dude is a bit of a jerk. Nygma’s slow-moving courtship with insanity will be interesting to watch as the season unfolds.

Good Cop Gone Bad as the Rise of the Villains Begins

Now that we know where things stand with our characters, the plot of the premiere sets the stage for what’s to come more than anything else.

Traffic cop Jim arrests a creepy guy with a black cape who calls himself Saar-don and warns Jim that “dark days are coming.” During the arrest, Jim, gave his current lunch-loving partner a shove. Police Commissioner Loeb used this as an excuse to demote Jim from traffic cop to unemployed traffic cop.

Jim goes to Penguin for help getting back on the police force. Penguin agrees to help IF Jim agrees to go all “*itch, Better Have Penguin’s Money” on a rival gangster who’s been refusing to pay.

“Sometimes the Right Way Is Also Ugly”

While roaming the streets of Gotham pondering Penguin’s request, Jim pays a visit to Lil Bruce Wayne. Jim tells Bruce that now that he’s no longer a member of the GCPD, he won’t be able to catch the people who murdered Bruce’s parents and generally fight the good fight for justice.

Bruce challenges Jim, in a very polite way, to become more of a moral relativist, to put aside his personal moral code  – i.e., break a few rules, crack a few heads, and do what it takes to get back on the police force so that he can fight larger battles. Bruce warns that if Jim slinks away into civilian life and let’s evil triumph in Gotham that he’s “sacrificing the greater good for your dignity.”

Lil Bruce Wayne is hard core. As it turns out, so is Jim. Jim kills the gangster and gets the money for Penguin. Where is that straight-laced cop from Season 1?

True to his word, Penguin persuades Commissioner Loeb to retire. By “persuade,” I mean Penguin’s goons decapitate the Commissioner’s security guard to scare Commissioner Loeb into resigning.  This clears the way for Jim’s ally, Sarah Essen (Zabryna Guevera), to be promoted to commissioner and for Jim to be reinstated to the GCPD.

The new Commissioner Essen proclaims, “it’s a new day.” Her pleasure is short-lived, because soon she learns about what’s going on at Arkham.

Saar-don, the weird guy from early in the episode who warned Jim of “dark days ahead,” is doing his part to bring those days to fruition. Saar-don’s explosive indigestion (brought on by a “dragon’s blood” given to him by Theo Galavan (James Frain)) enables Galavan to kidnap several Arkham-ites, including Barbara and the Ginger Joker.

Why would anyone kidnap a group of “criminal lunatics”? To form a gang of super villains, who together . . . We’ll learn more about Galavan’s evil plans in next week’s episode!

GOTHAM

Mondays 8 pm/7 pm on Fox

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Harvard-trained attorney and long-time TV super fan, Terri James (TV Juriste) has worked at E!, NBCUniversal, BBC and for a TV personality, for television shows including, E! News, The Daily Ten, Live From the Red Carpet, Life in the Fab Lane, The Soup, Americans in Bed, Chicago PD, and Royal Pains, among others.Terri's All-Time Favorite TV Shows: The Wire, Seinfeld, Colbert Report, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sex and the City, 30 Rock, SNL, Homeland (first season), Breaking Bad (final season), My So Called Life, Meet the Press (Tim Russert Years), and Lil Bush.

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