"Penguin's Umbrella" (S1/E7)
Author: Richard Church (Follow @RICHARDCHURCH16)
November 4, 2014

EPISODE INFO: "Penguin's Umbrella" was written by Bruno Heller and directed by Rob Bailey. It originally aired on the FOX television network on November 3, 2014. It is based on "Batman" characters owned and published by DC Comics.

MAIN CAST: Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney, Sean Pertwee as Alfred, Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle/the future Catwoman, Zabryna Guevara as Captain Sarah Essen, Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma/the future Riddler, Victoria Cartagena as Renee Montoya, Andrew Stewart Jones as Crispus Allen, John Doman as Carmine Falcone

GUEST CAST: Richard Kind as Mayor James, Drew Powell as Butch Gilzean, Anthony Carrigan as Victor Zsaszs, Mekia Cox as Dr. Leslie Thompkins, David Zayas as Maroni, Jeremy Davidson as Nikolai, Danny Mastrogiorgio and Mackenzie Leigh as Liza

EPISODE PREVIEW: N/A

PREVIOUS EPISODE: S1/E5 "Spirit of the Goat" Review by Richard Church (10.27.14)

SYNOPSIS: As violence between Maroni (guest star David Zayas) and Falcone continues to escalate, Penguin reveals a new element of his manipulative strategy, forcing Gordon to deal with the consequences of his decision to spare Penguin’s life.

This week’s installment of Gotham, “Penguin’s Umbrella”, felt like a totally different show from the one viewers have been getting the past few weeks and lived up to the expectations this show has to offer. It was tightly paced, well written and, most of all, intense as things on the mob front heated up on both ends. The war between Falcone and Maroni escalated in a big way and Falcone sent a very familiar killer to deal with Gordon.

Picking up immediately after the ending of “Spirit of the Goat,” this episode had a strong amount of focus as Gordon faced the repercussions of sparing Penguin’s life in the premiere. His and Bullock’s issues were handled surprisingly quickly in the opening minutes as Bullock vowed to steer clear of him and stay alive. This stance would ultimately change before the episode’s conclusion, perhaps hinting that the Harvey Bullock briefly seen last week is starting to shine through once again. However, his sudden allegiance to Gordon seemed a little abrupt so it would have been nice to see this decision examined a bit more.

Gordon didn’t get time to breathe, though, as Victor Zsasz came to the GCPD with the intention of hauling Gordon away to Falcone. Unlike GOTHAM’s interpretation of The Riddler, Zsasz (played by Anthony Carrigan, who guest starred on THE FLASH not long ago) did not ham it up on screen and emanated a menacing presence throughout his scenes. Even Fish Mooney seemed nervous when Falcone said he’d send Victor to collect Gordon. The shootout between Zsasz and Gordon was very impressive from both a visual and choreographed perspective as well. As one of Falcone’s main enforcers, he is sure to pop up again – especially now that Gordon will have a personal grudge against him.

Ben McKenzie’s great acting shone through for the first time since the premiere, but it goes without saying Robin Lord Taylor was once again the highlight of the episode. He’s been killing at as Penguin as the audience is fully invested in his character, for better or for worse. The way he plays Penguin makes it totally believable how he’s able to manipulate those around him even though he’s an underling who is largely mocked both behind his back and to his face. The revelation that he and Falcone have been working together since the pilot was a genuine surprise. Now that they’ve wiped out some of the competition from Mooney and Maroni’s camps, it will be interesting to see what they do going forward.

Some stray thoughts…

* Now that Allen and Montoya know Gordon is clean, I hope they’ll be given more useful and interesting things to do

* Maroni mentioned how Wayne Enterprises is “back in play”. Does this have anything to do with the shady Wayne dealings, the Arkham deal and/or, of course, the conspiracy surrounding the murders?

* Could Penguin possibly view Gordon as a friend in his twisted mind?

GRADE: B+

Richard Church is an aspiring writer for short stories, novels and screenplays.
He is also an avid fan of the superhero genre.

Follow him on Twitter @RICHARDCHURCH16.


GOTHAM airs Mondays at 7PM CT/8PM ET on FOX.
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