I’m pretty convinced that the writers of Gotham can’t multitask. They can’t ever have an episode that has both a story and character growth at the same time. Because, really, there isn’t much story to ‘Welcome Back, Jim Gordon’ besides a run of the mill murder and drugs case. In fact, I’d argue that we took a step back story-wise because Fish Mooney basically erased the entire end of last week’s episode by immediately escaping Falcone. Not even in a clever way, either. Basically, Falcone’s henchmen are the worst and Fish’s one henchmen is the best. That’s it.
But I can’t even say this was a bad episode. A little boring, for sure, but not bad. Because if it’s one thing Gotham‘s been lacking its any sort of growth in its characters and this episode actually had that in spades.
Take, for example, Jim Gordon. Good old Jim Gordon, who refuses to break any rules whatsoever while making claims that he’s going to take down all of crime. All of it. But no rule-breaking. This week, Jim tried the whole “get a gangster to hold your suspect’s wife’s head underwater” tactic and boom, instant results. Now to be fair, he didn’t exactly ask for that specifically, and he looked pretty damn shaken up about it at the end of the episode, but the very act of walking into Penguin’s new digs and asking for help was a big step. Welcome to Gotham, Jim. Now, start beating people with your pistol more often and grow out that damn mustache.
Speaking of Penguin, yes Penguin! This whole time he’s been smart and conniving and all that but he never actually showed any balls whatsoever. Not this episode though. Even at baseball bat-point, he managed to say to Fish: “I was working for Falcone the whole time, and you didn’t even have the sense to see it.” That’s good. This is good. His Oedi-Penguin relationship with his mother and obvious lust for Jim Gordon are another story for another day, though.
Perhaps the best example this week of a character actually taking some steps forward is everyone’s favorite baby-Batman, who showed his face after two episodes in Switzerland. He has a house there. Or, sorry, a chalet. God, this kid sucks. Or so I thought. Because after Selina Kyle comes and snaps his heart in half like she’s Bane with a spinal cord, Alfred finds him crying and staring at a fire. Then, in this week’s episode, Alfred tells him, in so many words, STOP CRYING YOU ARE EVENTUALLY GOING TO BE BATMAN. I love tough-love yet borderline-abusive Alfred so much. He’s the character that says all the lines that I’m screaming at my television screen. No, I don’t want to watch Batman crying over Catwoman, I don’t care if he hasn’t exactly reached puberty yet. Grab a broom, clean up that snow globe you bought in Switzerland for your homeless girlfriend, then use that broom to smack a criminal in the face.
Finally, we’re one step closer to Edward Nygma going over the edge and murdering everyone via riddles. That is nothing but good news.
As always, let’s run down every reference, fact, and nugget of Bat-history brought up in episode thirteen,“Welcome Back, Jim Gordon.”
Does the Square Diner have a location in Gotham City AND New York?
Yes, apparently it does.
This name already appeared on a pile of blank warrants back in episode seven, but it’s mentioned again this week and it’s just kind of unusual enough to dicsuss. Like, whoever it is actually signs official documents with the name Bam-Bam. That’s kind of badass.
Most people think it’s a reference to fight coordinator/resident badass on the show Arrow, James “Bam-Bam” Bamford. But did you know there’s a real Judge Bam-Bam? Richard Ambrose was a linebacker for the Cleveland Browns from 1975 to 1983, where he got the nickname Bam-Bam after the Flinstones character but also over the fact that he tackled the shit out of people for eight years. After retiring, Ambrose went into law and has served as the judge of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas since 2004. So technically, though I wouldn’t recommend calling him this if you’re actually in his courtroom, he is Judge Bam-Bam.
Which is all a long-winded way of saying that if next week on Gotham Jim Gordon says “Isn’t that right, Judge Bam-Bam?” and it cuts to a guy at a desk wearing a Browns jersey and helmet giving the thumbs up, I wouldn’t be shocked.
Funny enough, in the comics detective Flass is Jim Gordon’s first partner. He’s also just as much of a corrupt dick as he is on the show. The most recognizable version of Flass is probably the one from the Christopher Nolan movies, where he drops this line that I still reference in 92% of all conversations.
Was he going to say Iceberg Lounge? He was totally going to say Iceberg Lounge.
When Oswald goes on his weird solo champagne binge, he drunkenly debuts his new nightclub to an empty room. His words: “My name is Oswald Cobblepot. Here we are at last. It is with deep and sincere pleasure that I bid you to the official grand opening of my newest night spot, The…” And then Fish and Butch show up to smack him with a baseball bat a couple times.
What I know, and you know, and I bet all the writers know we know, is that The Penguin eventually opens up a Gotham City night club called the Iceberg Lounge, later the Iceberg Casino. It’s the spot you head to on the weekends if you want to gamble, drink, party, get into insurmountable debt, get dragged into the back and beaten without mercy, murdered, etc etc. Oh, and there’s usually a real iceberg. Cool!