NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of Gotham are present in this review
After the fun and engaging episode of last week, “Red Hood”, Gotham delivered an even bigger winner with “Everyone Has a Cobblepot”, a more dramatic and mysterious episode that built off of the deep-rooted corruption at the GCPD. This is great news, as it’s the last episode before the final stretch of the season, since Gotham is off for over a month now, resuming with new episodes on April 13th.
The title refers to a line spoken by Bullock, who claims that, “Everyone has a Cobblepot”, referencing the events of the pilot, where Gordon was ordered to shoot Penguin dead on a pier. Every cop and government official in Gotham City has had to do something bad that can easily be used as blackmail against them, and that includes Commissioner Loeb, who ends up in Gordon’s sights this week, after Detective Flass goes free, following his arrest for murder and corruption during the events of “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon”.
Even with the aid of Harvey Dent, Gordon is unable to even get close to Loeb, with Loeb’s old partner even setting him and Dent up to almost get killed by a gang of Chinese bookies. It was a great testament to the true power wielded by Gotham’s more corrupt peacekeepers. Loeb even shows Gordon a video of Bullock admitting that he forged evidence in the arrest against Flass (and yet somehow kept his job), with Bullock being just the latest victim of the dirty deeds that he’s been coerced to do for Gotham’s seedy underbelly of leaders.
Eventually, Bullock joins Gordon and Dent’s crusade, after bailing them out of the bookie situation, and it’s here that the episode starts getting really gripping. Left with no other options, and against Bullock’s warnings, Gordon seeks the aid of Penguin, promising Penguin one favour, and five minutes with the GCPD files, as long as he doesn’t take anything involving cops. No questions asked. This seems like it will inevitably come back into play before the end of the season, and it will be interesting to see how do-gooder Gordon must get out of another jam when he pledges himself to the city’s underworld.
Penguin points Gordon and Bullock to Loeb’s evidence stash, a hidden farm managed by a kindly old couple, with the cops forcing Penguin to tag along as insurance. When the couple is revealed to be on Loeb’s payroll (in an awesome twist that follows a nicely quiet extended dialogue scene), the group barely subdues the two, and Penguin is made to keep an eye on them.
From here, Gordon and Bullock discover Loeb’s dirty secret, a mentally challenged daughter named Miriam. Despite rumours that Loeb murdered his wife a couple of decades ago after a fall down the stairs, it was actually Miriam who did the deed, with Loeb hoarding her in an attic so that she isn’t taken to Arkham.
Seeing Gordon put the screws on Loeb with his own blackmail tactic was very satisfying afterward, rejecting Loeb’s offer of resignation, and instead demanding Bullock’s file to be expunged of corruption charges, on top of a fair trial for Flass. Since Flass is yet again imprisoned, Gordon is also given his old spot as head of the Police Officers’ Union. Yet again, Gordon toes the line between mastering Gotham City, without compromising his principles. It was very clever!
Penguin also gets a strong moment to conclude the episode, as he gets a single ticket out of the city, and demands that the couple sort out who gets it. The man refuses to do harm to his wife, but the woman strangles her husband to death for the ticket, which was incredibly chilling to see. Even better was Penguin later admitting that there was no ticket, and he simply only had one shotgun shell left, and needed a favour, before he shoots the woman dead. Damn! That was a cold scene, but it finally makes up for Penguin somehow being reduced to an incompetent nincompoop in the club scene for the past couple of episodes.
Beyond that, a big moment was had with Fish this episode as well, since she finally meets the Dollmaker, played in a guest role by The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s Colm Feore. After worming her way into Dollmaker’s good graces, and becoming his right hand, along with getting a replacement blue eye for the one she scooped out last week, Fish returns to the prison and sends Dollmaker some inmates to be dissected, reminding her crew that not everyone was going to make it out alive, as per her promise. Oh, and on another note, we get to see a glimpse of the Dollmaker’s work, after he puts his former assistant’s head on a woman’s sewn-up body. It was kind of terrifying, being reminiscent of an extra creepy version of Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Creepy stuff!
Finally, Bruce is visited by Selina, having to urge Alfred to stay in the hospital, after Alfred refuses to rat out Reginald to Gordon. Alfred believes that the problem with Reginald is his, not the cops’, but Bruce refuses to allow him to leave. Selina offers to track Reginald for him, but Bruce initially refuses. Selina reminds Bruce that she knows where to find him however, again teasing that this is something that will come back into play soon. Yes, the Bruce/Alfred scenes didn’t go far, but it’s appreciated that the whole issue of Alfred almost dying wasn’t just swept under the rug after last week.
“Everyone Has a Cobblepot” was a great episode, and likely the best that the show has yet delivered in 2015 so far. If the momentum holds, Gotham should build up to a pretty awesome season finale in a few weeks, especially now that big villains like the Dollmaker and the masterminds of Wayne Enterprises have come out of the woodwork.
Gotham delivered its best episode yet for 2015 with "Everyone Has a Cobblepot", presenting lots of intriguing mystery with plenty of effectively chilling scenes.
THE GOOD STUFF
Gordon probing Loeb's dirty secret
Penguin was finally restored to competency
We finally meet the Dollmaker
THE NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF
Alfred's stabbing was mostly overshadowed this week