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Gotham - What The Little Bird Told Him - Review

Gotham is back after taking a one week break and getting a season two pick up and this week we finally get a little more than the one step forward/two steps back mob storyline happening in the background. That does not mean that the episode itself was a knockout. While it certainly had it's ups, there are a few downs that need to be addressed. I previously compared Gotham to early seasons of Person of Interest, but now I'm slowly starting to feel that it's turning into the first half of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, always on the cusp of something great, but mostly just more of the same old, same old. It's not that I'm not enjoying Gotham, or that I didn't enjoy AoS, I just always feel a bit disappointed after watching Gotham. With that being said "What the Little Bird Told Him" was surely one of Gotham's better episodes. It picks up with our villain from "Rogue's Gallery" Jack Gruber, now on the loose with a few fish he intends to fry.

File Name: What The Little Bird Told Him
Case File: Season One, Episode 12
Study Originated By: Bruno Heller & Ben Edlund
Conducted by: Eagle Egilsson

The Case: This week's case of the week was a continuation of the Arkham case from last week. Unfortunately, this week puts an end to Jim's stint in Arkham, something I can't say I'm too excited about.Stationing Jim at Arkham had all the makings of a move to change the dynamic of the show, but the writers have decided to wrap it up rather quickly. Jack Gruber has escaped Arkham, having finally perfected his shock-therapy mind control and he has some bones to pick with some people who wronged him. The citizens of Gotham are apparently in such an uproar that Police Commissioner Loeb finally decides to show his face, and Jim, like viewers, wonders where he has been all this time and puts him to task for it. Harvey, having tried to hilariously hide Jim from the Commissioner upon his entrance into the GPD station, is pulled into the fray when the rattled Commissioner calls Jim into his office. Barbs are traded and Jim brokers a deal, if he captures Gruber, he gets his rank back as Detective on the force. The Commissioner grants Jim and Harvey 24 hours since Jim seems to know where Gruber is headed next, and Harvey is a little peeved that Jim brokered a deal based on intelligence he didn't have. (Oh, these two!)

Meanwhile, Gruber has set on his revenge course, stopping off to gather his old equipment from an old friend. One who apparently betrayed him while they were on a job. After Irwin leads him to his equipment, Gruber does his little shock mind control thing on him, and he is found later doing his best Bart Simpson and writing I will not betray my friends over and over again. Just when it looks like our detectives have no idea where to go next and are being handing department issued galoshes from Nygma, enter Dr. Leslie Thompkins, or Lee as her friends call her. Turns out she has some information on Gruber from inside Arkham. One of the women in her wing is a pagan sorceress, and the inmates make dolls for her to curse. Gruber had one made for someone he called Mister M. Someone who looks an awful lot like Don Sal Maroni.

Cut to Don Maroni, sitting back, eating all good, talking bout stuff in the neighborhood, Mr. penguin gets a call Falcone who's all scared, and Penguins like hold on, I'm on my way there. (I typed that to the tune of the Fresh Prince theme song. ) Penguin, making his exit after telling Maroni his mother is ill, reaches the door but is zapped onto his back and across the floor. Then another one of gruber's brainwashed victims walks in with some sort of shock bomb he unleashes on Maroni and his men. Jim deduces that Maroni is one of the men that Gruber took the fall for, and he suggests that Maroni come into protective custody. Maroni, begrudgingly agrees, but not before Penguin wakes up and yells out a bit of information that Maroni doesn't expect to hear.

So when Penguin finally awakens and manages his way to talk himself out the mess he's in, he misses his exit once again thanks to Gruber using his shock machine to attack the station so he can get to Maroni. The one thing Gruber didn't count on though was Jim wearing those department issued boots. Gruber uses his machine to disarm Gordon and Gruber's minion attacks him. Gordon bests his minion, but Gruber turns on him, machine ready and chastises Gordon about he's not really righteous, he's just all about the win. Gordon's reply is to throw a cup of water on him and disable his machine. With Gruber in custody, Commissioner Loeb reinstates Jim, who has some choice words for him.

James Gordon: Next man who tries to take away my shield... one way or another, I'm gonna make him eat it.
Commissioner Loeb: Say again?
James Gordon: New day, Commissioner.

So that was that, Gruber's spree was put to an end and Jim has his job back, so what does Jim do? He takes a shower and makes out with Dr. Thompkins. Their makeout session is interrupted by an officer telling Jim there was a shoot-out at Fish Mooney's place. Which sets us up for next week.

Supporting Research: Who would ever thought Don Carmine Falcone was such a momma's boy? This week Falcone is truly stuck in some sort of mid-life rut. He meets with Liza and tells her she should be free of him. He's an old man, and she deserves to be happy with a man her own age and have little babies, but he can set her up with her own store or something if she would like. What Liza would like however, is to stay close to the old man, as Fish has ordered her to do. Speaking of Fish, she has Liza kidnapped shortly after because she finally feels like it's time to make her move. She stages Liza's kidnapping, and calls Falcone and says that an intermediary will contact him shortly with the terms. Falcone panics and calls Penguin, who as mentioned above was at a get together with Don Maroni. Penguin quickly makes up a lie about his mother and heads for the exit but gets detained.

Fish later calls Falcone and pretends to be the intermediary of the ransom, but Falcone calls her bluff and tells her to admit that it's her. Fish then fesses up and demands that the old man take Liza and leave town. Falcone sinks into a stupor because Fish and the others, he knows there must be others, are right. He's grown soft. Victor Zsaz tries to pep up the old man and offers to kill them all, but Falcone asks him to stand down. Falcone tells Victor his job is to just make sure that he and Liza make it out of town safe.

Meanwhile, Penguin wakes up in the middle of the Gotham City Police station with some 'splainin to do. After he was shocked during Gruber's attack he slipped into consciousness and blurts out that he had urgent business with Falcone. Maroni was just a few feet in front of him at the time and now that Penguin is awake, Maroni wants to know what all that was about. Penguin plays stupid and swears on his mother that he has no association or business with Falcone. Maroni not entirely convinced lets him leave to attend to his mother, but his exit is stalled again thanks to Gruber's second attack. Penguin eventually makes his way to Falcone, who fills him in that Fish is behind the kidnapping. (Something Penguin already knew) Penguin then reveals to Falcone that Liza works for Fish and that Fish made her win his heart by acting like Falcone's departed mother. Falcone doesn't want to believe a word of it and he heads on to get Liza from Fish.
Once Falcone arrives, Fish sends Liza over to him, but Falcone lets her know that she's been busted, she's been working for Fish. Falcone's men make their way in and hold up Fish and Butch at gunpoint. Fish wants to work it out, but Falcone wants to hear none of it. The fact that Fish chose to play him by using sweet memories he shared of his sweet saint of a mother has ignited a fire in the old man, one that won't let him forgive her betrayal. He orders that Fish and Butch be kept alive and all the others be killed and then turns to Liza. He apologizes to her for having to get caught up in all of this and then proceeds to choke her out. After Falcone finishes Liza off, he has his little bird come out to say hello to the room. Enter Penguin, essentially revealing he had been working for Falcone the whole time.

Also in the hour, Nygma tries once again to impress file clerk Kristin Kringle. This time Nygma leaves a cupcake with a bullet in it for her, which is apparently a riddle, but Kristin just finds it creepy. Ed goes back later to explain it to her, but is chased away by some man who was in earshot. He overhears Kristin thanking the man and hears her call him creepy. It wasn't much, but it was more Nygma time which I'm all here for when I can get it. I'm thinking that while this season features a more prominent Penguin, at some point a season will be dedicated to the Riddler.

Oh, Barbara went home this week and her parents are weird. This just furthers my suspicion that writers have no idea what to do with this character. (Oh, look Bi-Barbara isn't as one dimensional as you thought, she's got problems too!)

Conclusive Findings: All in all, this was a better week for the show. We finally got some move on the Falcone/Fish storyline which was great. It was good to see Falcone overcome Fish's attempt at a power play. That plot was surely the better part of the episode because it also sets up Maroni having a distrust for Penguin, which should be something to look forward to in the coming weeks. How exactly will Penguin come out of this one? How do Fish and Butch make it out of this one?
I have said before the show is at it's best when it focuses on the serialized arcs versus the procedural aspect. While the Gruber manhunt wasn't quite as procedural as it could have been, it wasn't all that exciting either. Gruber's vendetta was merely a plot device to instill suspicion in Maroni and get Jim back on the force. It felt very anti-climatic watching Jim take out Gruber with a cup of water.

I wanted so much for this episode to be another Penguin's Umbrella, but it wasn't. I'm also not sure how I felt about he Leslie-Jim kiss. It really felt like a forced development to me, like they had to have Jim with someone and since they have screwed up Barbara so bad at this point, they decide to throw these two together on only her second appearance. I just don't feel the chemistry there, in either pairing for that matter. I personally feel the show should have started with Jim and Barb apart, and we watched Jim try to woo her while always putting his job first. That seems more compelling than making her a bisexual drug addict with rigid parents. We know that Jim and Barb are going to be together at some point so why should we even be invested in him and Leslie? It just feels off and felt out of place in an otherwise decent episode. I feel like this was the episode that we should have returned from the midseason finale on. It sets up the second half of the season in terms of the mob storyline much better than Rogue's Gallery. I'm also a little sad that we have moved on from Arkham so soon. Maybe since Dr. Thompkins is around she'll bring Jim back there for a case or two. I just really hope that next week carries the momentum that show built in it's final act and the show keeps moving at this pace. I know there's another episode of Penguin's Umbrella caliber here, they just have to go for it.
So what did you think? Do you like Jim and Leslie? Did you find Gruber's capture a let down? How awesome was Falcone chocking out Liza? Where do you think the show is going now, with Fish and Butch in Falcone's custody and Penguin basically outed to Maroni? How would you fix Barbara? Sound off Below!

Read Popcultureguy's preview for next week here!

About the Author - Winston Mize
Winston is a 24 year old goofball, born in the north, and currently living in the south. He loves TV.... for some it's coffee, for him it's TV talk that gets his day going. He wants to be a screenwriter, and watches some of everything. You name it, he's probably checked it out. And he would like you to know that it is okay for a 24 year old to play with action figures... well, he does anyway
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