**Spoilers Contained Below**
This Week on Gotham…
Ten years ago, Detective Bullock and his then partner Detective Dix (Dan Hedaya) help to take down a serial killer calling himself ‘The Spirit of the Goat’. Ten years later, an identical killing spree occurs, and he and Gordon are sent to investigate. It soon becomes clear that this is neither a copycat, nor an accomplice – both killers were seen by the same psychotherapist, Dr. Marks (Susan Misner). Bullock deduces that she has hypnotised the men into becoming killers, which she later admits is because she wants to strike fear in Gotham’s elite upper class.
– Edward Nygma has his first set of extended scenes. We see his rather inept social skills as he attempts to impress Kristen Kringle by re-sorting her filing system for her while she was away from her desk.
– Cobblepot visits his mother for a quick bath.
– The Barbara/James/Renee love triangle is furthered a little.
Well, this was something special. After weeks of us pointing out that Donal Logue’s Bullock was one of the shows bright spots, he gets to be the lead this week – and absolutely nails it.
The main plot was given a significantly larger portion of screen time than other ‘main plots’ in previous weeks, and it really helped. It enabled enough time to be allocated to the flashbacks (whilst retaining plenty for the current investigation) so as to not feel superfluous.
Spirit of the Goat was shot magnificently too. At times throughout the series, the city of Gotham doesn’t hasn’t special or unique, moreso just New York shot through a greyscale lense. That is not the case here. Evoking a vision of Tim Burton’s Gotham, the city (particularly in the flashbacks) feels dark, gothic and menacing.
Ben Edlund (Firefly, Angel, The Tick, Supernatural) wrote an excellent all around story too. Possibly for the first time, Gotham felt like a proper police show. Previous episodes drew criticism in some quarters for the ‘detecting’ part of each episode being a little… easy. Either the clues would be too obvious, or there wouldn’t be any at all and a leap in logic gets the characters to their goal. That is not the case here. Whilst it is not difficult to deduce that Dr. Marks is the culprit, the show doesn’t insult your intelligence with it, giving you relatively subtle clues as Bullock discovers them.
Speaking of Bullock, Donal Logue is great this week. We’ve been singing his praises throughout the series, and now he’s finally been promoted from ‘light relief’ to a major player. We have long suspected that the guy isn’t quite as morally corrupt as the early episodes portrayed, and we can now see why. It was his decision to go after the original ‘Goat’ with no back up that got his partner severely injured. It was also a nice touch to have him pay for his ex-partner’s treatment.
What little time there was in the rest of the episode was spent on only a few characters. The Barbara/James/Renee triangle was furthered ever so slightly, and Bruce was shown wondering why someone would use a goat as symbol of fear (Batman foreshadowing of the week!). However, the bulk of the remaining time was split between Nygma and Cobblepot.
Nygma was shown asking for some information from records clerk Kristen Kringle (seemingly an original character created just for the show, like Fish Mooney). Instantly smitten, he spends the rest of the time re-ordering her files for her, much to her chagrin. These small segments went a long way to helping to establish Nygma, and hopefully he’ll have more screen time before long.
Cobblepot only had a few scenes where he drops in on his mother. Aside from the fact his mother doesn’t seem surprised to see him (the Major Crimes Unit were questioning her with regards his disappearance previously… did they never mention it was a murder inquiry?), the few moments we get with them are bizarre fun. I’ve mentioned before that the show feels Burton-esque, and what is more so than the scene of Cobblepot spewing out his vitriolic speech whilst his mother bathes him?
Cobblepot revealing that he is alive by sauntering into the police station just as Gordon was about to be arrested by the Major Crimes Unit was a great ending. Where does this leave him, and Bullock for that matter?
There was no Fish, Falcone or Maroni this week, which is fine. They are obviously part of a major plotline towards the mid/end of the season so giving them a week off helps keep them fresh.
Overall, this was the best episode of Gotham to date. It was dark, creepy and actually had a strong standalone storyline. More of this please.