If you have yet to catch the premiere, beware! This review is chock-full of spoilers.
I decided to call this Sharmake's Shimmydown
instead of Shakedown
because Shakedowns are for special things and Shimmydowns will be the lighter, softer version in recaps; i.e. less pictures, less sass, more actual recap.
This show is already fucktastically awesome. Don't expect so much sass and commentary on this one, though; it's late and I've got class in about six hours. *cries*
It started off with the girl who would become Catwoman, Selina Kyle, stealing some milk and a wallet off the street to feed stray cats. She ran up an alleyway fire escape to rid herself of her pursuers, and happened to be in the right place at the right time to witness a young Bruce Wayne coming out of the movie theater with his mother Martha and father Thomas... where, a la the comic's mythos, they were gunned down by a mysterious stranger after being robbed of their wallet and pearl necklace. Boom; now that's an intro.
A young Jim Gordon, fresh from the army and a war, is shown to be newly introduced to the Gotham City Police Department, and meets his new partner, Harvey Bullock. Jim defuses a situation where a mentally unstable individual in the police district took a gun and held a female cop as a hostage; he talked the guy down, assured him that his pills (which were actually just aspirin) were right there, and when the man realized the pills weren't his, Jim knocked him out and disarmed him. Soon after, Bullock and Gordon are assigned the case of Thomas and Martha Wayne's murder by their asshole superior, even though Bullock's shift was almost done. Fuck that manager, for real.
Bullock tries to pawn off the case to the cops that responded, but they explained to him that since his partner Gordon got involved by talking to the young Bruce, it was now his problem. Shortly after, the admittedly irrelevant Alfred (seeing as he isn't Michael Caine) arrives to sweep Bruce away from what is probably more years of therapy and money than even the Waynes could afford.
Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen try to snag the case from Bullock and Gordon, but they go about it the wrong way, sass him at the wrong time, and he tells 'em to fuck off. Subsequently, Bullock and Gordon go rough up some thugs in that cliche "we need answers from these low-lives who are nigh-omniscient" scene.
Edward Nygma, aka the Riddler, is seen at the police district as a ballistics expert or something with guns; Harvey doesn't have time for his riddles, but Jim easily solves one, leaving the Riddler surprised. ("What's nowhere, but everywhere, except where something is?" "Nothing. Like your GPA and social life, Sharmake.")
Harvey goes to see Fish Mooney (played by Jada Pinkett Smith) and brings along Jim Gordon. She greets Harvey like an old friend, casual and likeable in her actions, like she hadn't (or because!)
been beating up a thieving worker of hers with a baseball bat, surrounded by her henchmen and thugs. Among those henchmen was the pitiably timid yet adorkably deranged Oswald Cobblepot, who gets a turn with the bat against the thief.
Harvey asks Fish whether or not she knows anything about the Wayne murders. Gordon doesn't feel right about the beating going on outside, so he goes to put a stop to it, before even the beaten party, a man named Raul, "confirms" that it was all in good fun. Probably because the GCPD is in the mob's back pocket, and there was no trouble.
On a tip from Fish Mooney, they go to Mario Pepper's house; he had apparently been caught trying to sell an antique four-strand pearl, much like the one stolen from Martha Wayne before her murder. Ivy Pepper (Poison Ivy) answers door, alludes to father being abusive by stating he's "mean" and that they don't want to meet with him. Mario's wife , who is battered and sporting a black eye, "verifies" her husband's claim that he was there last night and that he did nothing wrong.
Bullock says then it'll be no problem if they look around. When Mario protests, saying they need a warrant, he's shut down because a felon on parole can have his property searched if the officers have "reasonable cause". For some inexplicable reason Mario runs, chased by Jim Gordon, tries to start a knife-to-hand fight with Gordon, and is shot dead by a bullet straight through the heart by Bullock. An inspection of his apartment reveals that Martha Wayne's pearl necklace was in a bag of cocaine or some other illicit substance. Oh...so that's
why he ran.
Fast forward to the funeral for Waynes; Selina Kyle is creeping on statues. Already I don't like her character. She just pops up randomly, never says a word, and just creeps/perches on high places like she's a feline. We get it, she's going to grow up to become Catwoman, but there's little to no justification for why she is like that now.
Oswald Cobblepot, Fish Mooney's lackey who has a passionate hatred for his nickname 'Penguin', snitched on Fish's involvement in the murder, which was a joint effort between the GCPD and the mob. He told this to Montoya and Allen, in hopes of ousting Fish Mooney from power -- something Montoya deduced, before he brushed it off as besides the point.
Montoya in turn tells this to Barbara, Jim's wife or fiance or significant other or something. And, lesbihonest, there's some major
sexual tension going on between Montoya and Barbara.
Barbara (Shout-out to Barbara Gordon, Jim's daughter? Will they have a child who is named after her? Will she be murdered?) wanted to confirm if it was true or not with Jim. He confirmed it wasn't true, as far as he knew. Jim confronts Harvey about corruption of GCPD and potential cover up/framing of Mario Pepper, and Harvey says to disregard Montoya because if she is right, he killed someone innocent and this will ruin them, or get them fired at the very least.
Jim Gordon, of course, is incapable of doing something so ignoble.
He goes to confront Fish Mooney (like a fool), and when asked why he didn't ask Bullock about his conversation with Fish instead of her, he says he doesn't believe Harvey would be honest; Fish asks him if she would be/tell him, and he says she already did.
She comments she sees a spark of danger in his eyes, and wonders what he would do it with. He says she'll have to wait and see, and she replies she doesn't like surprises before siccing her henchmen on him. Jim fends them off for a bit before Fish knocks him out with a blow to the back of the head with a lamp.
Fish has him dragged to a slaughterhouse and strung up like a pig (or a fish out of water? irony? intentional?) and is about to be murdered before Harvey comes in and demands to speak with Fish, so her right hand man Gilzean calls her and they have a pleasant chat like old friends. He tips her off that someone must have snitched to Montoya. And while at first she insists that it's not on her end, she concedes that everyone else who had been betrayed before also said the same thing. She looks at Oswald when saying such, hinting she had deduced it was him.
After Harvey tells her that he needs his partner Jim to be let go, lest Harvey have to come after Fish (his long-time friend), she "agrees" politely on the condition that he keeps his partner Gordon in check and asks him to hand the phone over to Gilzean. Then in what we have now learned as classic Fish style, she then instructs Gilzean to hang him up with his partner for having the audacity to threaten her.
Fish praises Oswald, saying he's like a son to her, and she has him rub her feet. He agrees, saying he thinks of her as a mother, prompting Fish to question why a son would betray a mother like Oswald betrayed her. He tries to act dumb, but she calls him out on his shit and says she knows it was him because he was the only one who saw her with the necklace.
Oswald says he's completely loyal, willing to even cut a vein open for her, and Fish takes him up on it, handing him a knife and insisting he do it. He tries to back out and claim he was being poetic, but she demands he proves his loyalty to her. She turns her back and calls him "my little Penguin", knowing it would antagonize him. He begs for mercy before lunging at her to stab her with the knife, but she straight up fodderizes him with a chair, breaks off the leg, and beats him with it until he's limping and broken.
Harvey is strung up with Jim, but Fish's superior Carmine Falcone shows up, has his men butcher all of Fish's, and then tells Gilzean to remind Fish that in order to do something so bold as murdering cops, she needs his permission. He frees Jim and Harvey.
Falcone explains how Gotham works to Jim, saying that though it's corrupt, he loves the city dearly and he'll be damned if it goes to hell. Even if Jim reveals the corruption in the city, and takes down city hall, will it be any better for Gotham? Or will it be worse?
Harvey drives down to the docks and apologizes to Jim about how he didn't tell him the truth; Jim deduces that Harvey was ashamed (about how the GCPD and Gotham worked).
To prove his loyalty, he is forced to kill Oswald, who is in the trunk. If he doesn't, Harvey will be forced to kill him, and Barbara will probably be killed as well, as Falcone doesn't know what he told her, and he doesn't care. If Harvey refuses, Jim will be killed by someone else, he will be killed by the mob and Barbara will probably be too.
He takes Oswald to the edge of the dock while Harvey watches. The bruised and battered boy limping like a penguin now that his leg is broken (no doubt intentional; I like the attention to detail) pleads for mercy. Jim tells him to shut up and never come back to Gotham, before making it seem like he shot him in the head and tossed him into the water.
Jim reunites with Barbara, who had been told by Bullock that he was on a stakeout after she came to him and questioned where he was when he didn't come home one night; Bullock covered for him and lied to reassure Barbara and bring her ease, and it's left ambiguous as to whether or not she believed him -- I personally think she didn't. Bullock went looking for Gordon, which led him to the aforementioned slaughterhouse.
Gordon drives to the Wayne estate and lets Bruce know that the GCPD is corrupt and that an innocent man was killed, and that Mario Pepper was not the killer. Bruce says he's glad, because he wants to see his again. Even though he never truly saw him, what with the mask and black get-up. Fridge logic moment, anyone?
Jim reveals he wants to better Gotham, destroy the corruption, but to do so he needs to be close to it, he needs to make it an inside job, and asks Bruce to keep quiet about it. Bruce accepts, and hands Gordon his badge back that the latter had placed on the table when he let the boy decide his fate. I wonder if the handing over of the badge will be symbolic, or referenced or become important in the future?
Finally, Penguin swims to shore just opposite of the Gotham city limits (seriously, how did he swim with a broken leg?), takes the knife of a homeless man who was fishing's and slits his throat before stealing his sandwich and ravenously eating it, proving just how far he's gone and is broken. Poor baby. He's my second favourite, right after Fish Mooney.
What are your thoughts on this, Poppets? I personally feel as though this was a great episode to premiere the series, and I'm very interested in its potential: Gotham
holds a lot of promise.
Mondays just became a little less of a suckfest!
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