A Look at Gotham- Season 1, Episode 7: “Penguin’s Umbrella”

The biggest question on my mind by episode’s end was what songs did “Funkytown” beat out in order to be Zsasz’s ringtone?

Penguin's Umbrella- Fish learns that Penguin is still alive

The episode begins with Gotham City learning of Oswald Cobblepot’s return. You know who isn’t happy about this? Fish Mooney. She’s more livid about James Gordon not doing his job and commands Butch to bring Gordon to her alive.

Penguin's Umbrella- Harvey confronts Jim about not killing Penguin

At GCPD, Gordon calls Barbara and warns her to leave. Perhaps Gordon should have taken his own advice, as he’s soon decked by Bullock and gets a gun pointed in his face. Well, at least he waited for Gordon to finish warning his girlfriend. Bullock isn’t pleased about Oswald being alive because it means both he and Gordon now have targets on their backs. Gordon acknowledges that he screwed up, but he has a plan. When two officers enter the locker room, Gordon gets the necessary chance he needs to overtake Bullock.

Penguin's Umbrella- Butch with Barbara

Gordon’s advice came a bit too late, though. Butch and another henchman already have Barbara under watch. They tell her that since Gordon didn’t kill Oswald Cobblepot, a certain somebody is very angry.

Penguin's Umbrella- Gordon enters Barbara's place and confronts Butch

But then Gordon enters. I assume he has a key to Barbara’s place or Butch didn’t hear the door close. Gordon is aware that he’s to be brought in alive, but Butch just wants to give him a few lumps and leave. Gordon demands that the other henchman drop his gun, which he does. This gives Gordon an opportunity to shoot the henchman in the leg and knock out Butch.

Penguin's Umbrella- Gordon needs Barbara to get on that bus

We then cut to the bus station. Gordon needs Barbara gone for a couple of days. He’ll join her after he takes care of a few things. If he knows she’s safe, there’s nothing the mob can do to him. And if he doesn’t make it, she should not come back to Gotham City. With that, Gordon watches as Barbara leaves Gotham.

These scenarios usually end up with the person on the bus returning in no time at all. Just you wait.

Penguin's Umbrella- Gordon asks for some arrest warrants

Back at GCPD, Gordon learns how few friends he has on the force as the room grows quiet upon his arrival. He loudly asks Alvarez for some blank warrants while watching other officers keep a close eye on him.

Penguin's Umbrella- Falcone and pals discuss what to do about Penguin and Gordon

At a meeting of Falcone’s Mob Squad, Fish cries for the blood of Gordon, Bullock, Penguin and even Maroni, if need be. Falcone isn’t too concerned with a nobody like Cobblepot, but Fish is concerned because Oswald knows too much about her. Falcone suggests Fish politely ask Maroni to hand over Penguin. If Maroni refuses, Falcone will consider stronger measures. Nikolai calls this a weak response. They need to show strength. Anyway, where is Gordon? Turns out that Fish’s men were supposed to bring him in, but Gordon wouldn’t go without a fight. In fact, he went to work like nothing’s wrong. No worry. Falcone will send Victor. Oh, and Falcone really loves his chickens.

When the meeting ends, Nikolai and Fish speak to themselves about Falcone. Nikolai is ready to strike. He finds Falcone too calm and relaxed, talking about chickens and such. Fish is concerned as well. Falcone hasn’t laid a hand on Liza. In fact, he likes watching her do chores. Not sure if that’s a fetish. But she thinks that Falcone knows something important that no one else knows.

Penguin's Umbrella- Gordon tells Captain Essen that he plans to arrest the mayor and Carmine Falcone

Captain Essen arrives and wants Gordon gone for his own safety. Before that, Gordon plans to arrest Mayor Aubrey James, Carmine Falcone and their close associates on charges of conspiracy and perversion of justice in the Wayne murder case. Sounds crazy, but Gordon knows the mob is coming after him. He may as well take down as many others involved as possible. Once a testimony is attached to the warrants, that will be enough to indict them on a dozen counts. Problem is the District Attorney won’t prosecute and no cop will help him. Captain Essen even admits she won’t help Gordon, but not out of spite. She wants change just as much as he does, but she has to think about her family. Gordon isn’t leaving.

Penguin's Umbrella- Enter Victor Zsasz, played by Anthony Carrigan

He won’t get a chance to, anyway. Enter Victor Zsasz, played by Anthony Carrigan. He’s been sent by Don Falcone for Jim Gordon and Jim Gordon alone. Everyone else can go about their business. The officers motion to Jim’s position and Zsasz calls him out.

Jim doesn’t hide. He faces down Zsasz, but won’t be talking to Falcone today. He’s not afraid. After all, there are 50 cops in the station. That number dwindles when Zsasz orders everyone out. Captain Essen stays by Gordon’s side, but he wants her gone as well. He can handle himself. Reluctantly, Essen leaves.

Penguin's Umbrella- Gordon hides from Zsasz in the parking garage

A shootout commences. Gordon takes a bullet in the side and retreats to the basement. He ends up in the parking garage, but Zsasz and his two henchwomen aren’t far behind. The shootout turns into hide-and-seek as the three search for Gordon.

Zsasz follows Gordon’s trail of blood and comes close to finding him, but he’s distracted by an officer who didn’t get Zsasz’s memo about every officer except Jim Gordon leaving for the day. One of Zsasz’s henchwomen shoots her in the leg. Gordon attempts to leave the garage, but Zsasz downs him.

Luckily, help has arrived in the form of Allen and Montoya. The two pick up Gordon and speed off. As for Zsasz and the wounded officer, he’s just bumped up his kill count to 28.

Penguin's Umbrella- Gordon patched up by doctor, played by Mekia Cox

Jim awakens in a university’s dissection lab. He’s met by a friend of Montoya and Allen: a doctor, played by Mekia Cox. Even though Gordon just had two bullets taken out of him and he’s only been out for a few hours, he gets up to leave and disregards Dr. Thompkins’ orders to rest.

Penguin's Umbrella- Fish speaks with Maroni and Penguin

So Fish Mooney meets face-to-face with Salvatore Maroni. She still wants Penguin, but Maroni likes him too much to give him up. Falcone won’t be pleased with that, Fish says, and keeping Penguin isn’t worth going to war. She catches herself, though. She cares nothing for Penguin. All that matters is respect.

Maroni calls Penguin to his side. He tells Penguin that Falcone and Mooney feel disrespected by him. That was never Penguin’s intention, so he gives them as sincere of an apology as he can. So bloodshed it is, Fish says. But she goes to Penguin, the scaly-faced bitch, and relishes in what she’d like to do to him. Penguin is sorry that Fish feels that way, earning him a slap across the face for calling her a name that only her friends can use.

Penguin's Umbrella- Butch and Falcone's men stop Maroni's gun truck

A group of nuns randomly decide to walk down the streets of Gotham. What made them think this was a smart or even safe idea in Gotham City of all places, I don’t know. Either way, they’re stopped by Butch and later used as a block to intercept one of Maroni’s storage trucks. Butch informs Maroni’s drivers that Falcone will not allow of Maroni’s trucks over the bridge until Penguin is returned. Butch also lets the two know they must be hurt to send a message. They have the option between a beating and a bullet. One of the henchmen doesn’t get why he must be hurt when Butch could just tell Maroni the message. This guy must be new at his job, even if he has a point. Butch shoots each of the men in the leg. Message delivered…to those guys, anyway.

Penguin's Umbrella- Maroni isn't happy about Falcone stopping his gun trucks

Maroni isn’t pleased about Falcone stopping his gun truck. That’s $3 million per week gone ($4.5 million per gross, cash, by Frankie’s math). Penguin calls it an aggressive move done to spook Maroni, but he doesn’t get why Falcone and Fish want him back so badly. Maroni figures it’s because Penguin is such a valuable prize. Frankie suggests negotiating a price for Penguin and Penguin actually agrees with this safe option. Screw safe, Maroni says. He’s ready to push back by hitting Falcone where it hurts. If that’s how he wants to play it, Penguin knows just the spot to hit them.

Penguin's Umbrella- Montoya apologizes to Gordon

That night, Montoya apologizes to Gordon for being an asshole and letting her personal feelings for Barbara cloud her judgment. That doesn’t excuse being an asshole, but fine, let’s let them be friends.

Also, Alfred got the drop on Allen. Gordon lets Alfred know that Allen is on their side. He couldn’t risk a direct approach since people are after him.

Penguin's Umbrella- Gordon introduces Bruce to Montoya and Allen

Inside Wayne Manor, Gordon introduces Bruce to Allen and Montoya. He lets Bruce know that he may not be able to fully commit to finding his parents’ killer anymore since he’s upset some powerful people. Bruce wants the patronizing to stop and the straight answers to stop. He knows that Gordon is in trouble, but wants specifics. If Gordon expects to die, Bruce at least wants to know if it’s connected to the death of his parents. It is, Gordon responds, but in the event that he can’t work things out, Montoya and Allen will take over the case. From here on forward, Gordon will have to go it alone, even though he can barely walk, as Alfred points out. You know, that’s true. Notice we haven’t seen Gordon do a lot of walking since the shooting. He’s just in scenes.

Penguin's Umbrella- Penguin leads Frankie and a squad of Maroni’s men to one of Falcone's warehouses

The next day, Penguin leads Frankie and a squad of Maroni’s men to a warehouse where Nikolai and some of Falcone’s henchmen sit. The warehouse door is blown open and Maroni’s men lay waste to everyone inside. Turns out that Penguin was right after all. Frankie still isn’t a fan of Penguin and lets him know it by socking him in the gut. In his eyes, Penguin is a snitch that has Maroni twisted. He could make Penguin disappear in a second and tell Maroni that one of Nikolai’s men shot him.

Penguin's Umbrella- Penguin ends Frankie

Sounds simple enough, but Penguin is not Frankie’s problem. Frankie is curious: just what is his problem, then? Penguin asks Frankie about his passion. When you know what a man loves, you know what can kill him. Penguin figures Frankie as a man that loves money more than power or respect. He’s a cheapskate. Then, two of Maroni’s men hold Frankie in position. Frankie isn’t the kind of man who pays his people very well. Penguin pulls out a knife and plunges it into Frankie’s stomach. Frankie’s greatest passion is also his greatest weakness. Love, however, conquers all. Mobsters, take note: always make sure your henchmen are paid well.

Penguin's Umbrella- Falcone and Maroni meet

Now it’s time for Falcone and Maroni to meet, face-to-face. Both apologize for their respective losses. Falcone is ready for the violence to stop. The Arkham Project is a gold mine and Wayne Enterprises is back in play. Why risk so much goodness to go to war over trifles? Falcone realizes that Penguin is valuable and offers to let Maroni keep him, unharmed. Consider it a gift. However, Falcone will want something in return, such as real estate. Falcone asks for a warehouse on the river, but Maroni shoots it down. After all, it’s a warehouse on the river. How often do those come around?

Penguin's Umbrella- Penguin's sidebar with Maroni

After Penguin whispers something in his ear, Maroni offers Indian Hill. Falcone isn’t familiar with the name, but Fish is: it’s a toxic waste dump on top of an Indian burial ground in Arkham. Fish calls it worthless, but Falcone doesn’t believe anything is worthless. Even nothing is worth something. Odd, but all right. Falcone accepts. Before the two part, Maroni asks about James Gordon’s whereabouts since Zsasz is looking for him.

Penguin's Umbrella- Gordon gets a visit from Bullock and his date, Marsha, the Duchess of Devonshire

As Gordon arms himself for battle, he gets an unexpected visit from a sloshed Bullock, along with his date, Marsha, the Duchess of Devonshire. That’s what he says, anyway. Bullock sends her off so he can talk with Gordon. He still thinks Gordon is a douchebag, but he has the moral high ground, so Bullock is going to back him. He’s dead anyway, so he may as well join the good guys.

Gordon’s big plan is still to arrest both Falcone and the mayor for conspiracy, the framing of Mario Pepper, POJ, Rico, the works. Bullock is less than impressed with this plan, but Gordon figures that whatever else happens, they two of them will get some attention. At least people will know the truth and they’ll have died while doing their jobs. Now then, Bullock needs a minute to take care of some business. He only needs one minute?

Penguin's Umbrella- Gordon and Bullock make their move to arrest the mayor

Next morning, Harvey and Jim make their move. First, they go after the mayor. Following this, the three pay Falcone a visit. The mayor is hauled in cuffs, but Falcone remains calm despite the threat of arrest. Gordon calls it a lawful arrest, but Falcone is convinced that neither Bullock nor Gordon will make it out alive if he’s arrested. Falcone admires the two for having nothing to lose, but what if Gordon did? What if he had a knife to Barbara’s neck? Gordon calls Falcone’s bluff, but Falcone tells him that this is the truth and that Zsasz has Barbara.

See, Barbara returned to Gotham and went straight to Falcone to plead for Gordon’s life. Barbara is loyal, if not a bit stupid. If this is all true, Gordon wants proof. Falcone, though, won’t show his hand yet. He wants Gordon to believe him. Bullock is ready to just carry out the arrest. Falcone tempts them to do just that. Gordon will die in the process and he’ll never know what happened to Barbara. All Gordon has to do is drop his gun and Barbara won’t be harmed.

Penguin's Umbrella- Barbara held hostage by Zsasz

We then cut to Barbara, who is indeed being held under watch by Zsasz and Liza. Zsasz gets a phone call- his ring tone is “Funkytown.” This needs to be canon in Batman lore from now on.

Penguin's Umbrella- Falcone returns Barbara to Gordon

Barbara is then brought out and untied. What to do with Gordon now? Realistically, Falcone should kill him and Bullock, but Falcone believes Gotham needs principled cops like them. Falcone is not the enemy. The real enemy is anarchy, which Falcone told Gordon before. He didn’t believe it then, but now he does. Perhaps there’s still hope for him, yet. Falcone wants them out. The catch? Gordon just needs to think about what Falcone said. Someday, he’ll see that Falcone was right.

Later, Barbara apologizes for trying to help, but Jim just responds with a kiss. I guess he chooses Barbara over work for the time being.

Falcone loves Liza’s cooking. He apologizes to her for what she had to see, but hey, business is business.

Penguin's Umbrella- Falcone and Penguin reunite

He goes to check on his chickens and gets a surprise visit from his friend, Oswald Cobblepot.

Penguin's Umbrella- Falcone and Penguin first meet

We then flash back to the pilot where Falcone first met Oswald. Given that condemned men are honest men in Falcone’s eyes, Oswald has one chance to talk before he dies. Oswald has a secret of great value, but he has one final request: give the job of killing him to James Gordon. He’s the only officer in the GCPD who has a conscience and may actually spare his life. Of course, Falcone wants Oswald dead, but if Falcone agrees and Gordon spares Oswald, he will become Falcone’s snitch for life. He’ll return to Gotham under a different name and work his way into the Maroni family.

Falcone agrees, but still wants to know the valuable secret. Penguin spills: Fish Mooney and Nikolai pretend to hate each other, but are lovers. Fish is pushing Nikolai to take Falcone’s place, but only so she can take it from him.

Penguin's Umbrella- Penguin tells Falcone that Gordon will soon see the light

We return to the present, where Falcone is surprised at how everything played out exactly how Oswald said it would. The minor downside is Falcone believes the two are making a mistake by letting Gordon live since he’s trouble. Oswald appreciates him being spared so he can eventually find the light.

Now that’s more like it. Gotham is struggling to establish its identity, but between “Penguin’s Umbrella” and “Spirit of the Goat,” I think the show is getting there. There are still clunky elements, but I thought this was a solid outing. Each scene felt like it had a purpose and wasn’t just there to show us certain characters, as has been the case most of the time we got an appearance of Bruce and Alfred or Selina Kyle for no real reason. Though Bruce and Alfred didn’t contribute much this week- aside from Alfred’s easy takedown of Allen- it did show Bruce that Gordon isn’t the only one trying to solve his parent’s murder case. Even if not directly involved, he’s keeping his promise because that’s the kind of man he always wants to be.

Maroni said to Falcone that there’s nothing more dangerous than an honest man and that’s very clear here with Gordon’s situation. As a straight arrow, he alienates most of the police force. The GCPD is in the mob’s pocket because folks like Maroni and Falcone have power. Gordon is one person with little to no power in the face of the mob. When he enters the police department and every officer goes quiet, Gordon knows that he has few allies. The officers all alert Zsasz to his presence and, Zsasz asks nicely, leave when Zsasz wants to deal with Gordon alone. They fear the mob and are willing to do horrible things if it means the mob will leave them alone, but not Gordon.

Penguin's Umbrella- Gordon speaks with Bruce

And as Oswald pointed out to Falcone toward the end, Gordon is the one officer on the police force who has a conscience. This episode really gave Ben McKenzie a chance to show some range. Gordon can endure making enemies of other officers. He can be the outcast. He can make the choice that few will make: the right choice. Gotham needs him. Now that I’m done quoting The Dark Knight. My point is that Gordon won’t let himself become as corrupt as the cops around him, or else he’d just be part of the problem. He’s a fighter, and a very good one if he’s ready to lock and load so soon after getting shot twice.

Penguin's Umbrella- Bullock

But he’s not alone. Though reluctant, Bullock looks to be embracing the good cop in him that we saw in “Spirit of the Goat.” Sure, he’s still pissed about Gordon not taking out Penguin, but at least he didn’t abandon Gordon when he needed help the most. Plus, at that point, not like Gordon felt he had anything to lose.

Penguin's Umbrella- Captain Essen can't help Gordon

Some people do, though. Captain Essen wants a bright future for Gotham just as much as Gordon does, but she has a family.

Penguin's Umbrella- Captain Essen refuses to leave Gordon's side

She doesn’t want any harm to come to the people she loves, but she’s also not willing to let Gotham’s criminal element walk into her department and march orders, as seen when she’s the one member on the force who remains with Gordon after Zsasz orders everyone out.

Penguin's Umbrella- Montoya and Allen

Then there’s Montoya and Allen, who look to be on Gordon’s good side now that they have egg on their faces. They will be useful allies, but it seemed like the show just brushed aside their spat when they spent the past few episodes trying to pin something on Gordon that he didn’t do. Montoya saying it had to do with her feelings for Barbara seems like a copout in my opinion. The two have to know how corrupt the GCPD is, so it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to assume that Gordon had gotten involved in a situation. Here’s hoping they actually do something.

Penguin's Umbrella- Falcone is unsure about letting Gordon live

With the mob at each other’s throats, it’s no wonder bloodshed broke out as soon as it did, with each side trying to fight harder than the other. Maroni is quick to react, but Falcone is more cunning and methodical. Yes, we know the reason why Falcone is so easygoing and takes his time, but even without the reveal at the end, Falcone is pretty much as Fish described him to Nikolai: someone who is too calm, considering the circumstances, as if he knows something that everyone else doesn’t.

Penguin's Umbrella- Penguin and Falcone

And that’s where his secret snitch comes in. It’s strange to think how Penguin mapped this out from the beginning, even though he had to assume how some situations would play out. Sure, he had Gordon pegged as a good cop, but what if Gordon decided to turn a new leaf? Penguin had to be very confident that things would go according to how he saw them. And after all this time, we see he’s been playing both sides from the very beginning. Whether working in Maroni’s restaurant or trying to play nice with Fish, Penguin is working to eliminate as many factions of the mob as possible as he works his way up. It’s masterful planning on his part, though one wonders how he could just walk out of the police department unharmed after his reveal in the last episode.

Penguin's Umbrella- Penguin tells Frankie his problem

I’m always impressed with Robin Lord Taylor’s performance and this week was no exception. He makes Oswald look so pathetic at times with how nervous he is, but there’s a cunning, sinister man behind that fragile, little man. The scene that stood out for me in particular was when he killed Frankie. There, we saw the darkness come out in full force and I get the feeling that Frankie knew something was off about how close Penguin got to Falcone. It’s brief, but there’s a moment during the plan to retaliate against Falcone that Frankie has this suspicious look on his face. He had to know that Penguin wasn’t as honest as he appeared, but Frankie’s greed got the better of him. Penguin exploited that by appealing to Frankie’s men with kindness. It’s madness, but it just shows how far ahead Penguin has plotted this and how confident he is that things will go according to plan.

Penguin's Umbrella- Zsasz says please

And for an episode that’s so serious, there were plenty of humorous moments. The fact that Zsasz’s ring tone is “Funkytown” made me laugh, as well as his exaggerated “PLEASE” when he tries to get the officers to leave. Bullock apparently only needs one minute with his lady friend and I loved the smart mouth on Maroni’s henchman that ended up with a bullet in the leg. Sometimes it’s better to just take your lumps.

Penguin's Umbrella- Barbara the hostage

The only issue I had with this episode was Barbara. Now come on, who really believed she wouldn’t return to Gotham so soon? She’s loyal, but also a tad bit stupid and could have gotten both herself and Gordon killed. If they want to make Barbara more involving, then fine, but don’t turn her into a damsel in distress.

“Penguin’s Umbrella” showed Penguin’s slow ascent up the mob crime ladder as he sets to destroy the Maroni family from within. Gotham is finding its voice in one of its strongest outings yet and I’m more than ready for next week’s installment.

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