We all know that Gotham is full of lowlifes and bottom-feeders. Even the Gotham City Police Department is corrupt and while the addition of Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is a step in the right direction, it still doesn’t give us much hope that the police will actually do their job and protect the innocent. That leaves the door wide open for vigilantes and boy, did we get a freaky one in tonight’s episode.
One thing I can give Gotham‘s new vigilante is high marks for originality. Honestly, I don’t think I have ever heard of anyone being murdered by weather balloon. With all of the recent indictments of giants in the financial industry, it’s no surprise that our guy’s first target is a really bad seed who has been living the high life by ripping off the life savings and retirement funds of hard-working people. Wearing a pig’s mask and peddling balloons with a cart having crooked wheels (now, how cool and ironic is that), our vigilante gives the first victim a long time to think about his wrongdoings after he is handcuffed to a weather balloon and is sent on his way up to a long and agonizing death.
The incident is classified as a homicide even though there’s no body, but Bullock (Donal Logue) doesn’t want to work the case and thinks this “balloon man” just did the city a favor. Bullock is a douche most of the time, but I must say I agree with him here. But, I guess Jim Gordon has more integrity than I do because he doesn’t let the case go and insists there be an investigation.
Bullock continues to protest — at least until one of their own, Lieutenant Cranston (James Colby) — becomes the balloonman’s next victim. Cranston may have been a dirty cop, but he’s still a police officer, and that guarantees the case being given top priority. With that, Bullock goes through his usual list of tactics of getting information by sweet-talking hookers and beating up pimps. Bullock’s crooked methods actually produce a lead, but when they track down the suspect the only thing he ends up being guilty of is theft. Apparently the guy has a nasty drug habit and fencing four weather balloons at a grand a pop seemed like a good way to make a quick buck.
A real lead actually ends up coming from Cranston himself. As it turns out, weather balloons don’t just float around forever. The atmosphere eventually becomes cold enough to cause the balloon to harden, crinkle and eventually pop. This results in a poor old lady getting squashed by the dead Cranston on his return trip back down to Gotham. Wow, I think the only thing worse than death by weather balloon is death by falling corpse.
Apparently Cranston had written the suspect a ticket right before he grabbed him and handcuffed him to the balloon. That piece of paper was still in Cranston’s pocket, so now the GCPD had a name. The balloonman ends up being Davis Lamonn, a good man with a good heart who ran the local juvenile detention center. He was already getting fed up with the corruption in the city, but the final straw came in last week’s episode when the major used the child-trafficking ring as an excuse and front for gathering up all of the juveniles on the street and shipping them upstate.
I liked this case and a lot more than the arc of the child-trafficking ring from last week. The main reason is it was so freaking weird that you had to sit up and pay attention. Second, it had a very nice tieback to the child-trafficking case, which I thought was pretty cool.
Even with all of this, the real MVP of the show was the same as last week and that’s Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor). This guy takes evil and creepy to a whole new level and while Ben McKenzie always does a great job as Gordon, Robin Lord Taylor is starting to look more and more like the gem of this show.
Oswald does finally make it back to Gotham and when someone recognizes him and threatens to go to Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), he kills him and then casually walks across the street to buy a tuna sandwich with the guy’s cash. I guess killing makes you hungry, right?
But the killing spree doesn’t stop there. Oswald needs a job and has his sights on one as a dishwasher at a local Italian restaurant. The only problem is he’s told he doesn’t have the right shoes for the job. No problem, he can fix this and he does by killing one of the dishwashers at the restaurant for his shoes.
So two murders in one day for this guy. Not a bad average. It also turns out he got lucky by getting that job because Maroni — number two behind Falcone — happens to be a frequent patron at the restaurant. Oswald is already on his way back up the ranks after only one day back in Gotham.
The real surprise in the episode comes at the very end when Jim Gordon gets a visit at his home and when he opens the door, there stands Oswald Cobblepot. What the hell? Gordon did him a huge favor by sparing his life and the only thing he had to do was to stay the heck away from Gotham. So, why has he shown up on Gordon’s doorstep? Is he there to blackmail Gordon? If so, what’s his angle?
No matter what the reason or what he may be up to, if it means more of Lord Taylor and the Penguin being front and center, then I can’t wait to find out.
Gotham airs on Mondays at 8/7c on FOX.
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