Review: Gotham (S2 E16/22), Monday 2nd May, Channel 5

Jim_meeting_with_warden_Carlson_GreyOh, the irony! Jim Gordon’s in jail for a murder he didn’t commit, that of Riddler’s patsy, while we know he should be in jail for a murder he did commit, that of Theo Galavan. One way or another, he’s in for a rough ride in Blackgate Prison.  

Some reviewers have taken exception to the way in which the upright character of Jim Gordon has been eroded by the compromises he has had to make – largely in his dealings with Penguin, and in his desire to protect first Barbara, then Lee.

But we’re okay with it. By the standards of the ordinary Gotham cop – Bullock, for instance – Jim is still a pillar of moral virtue, the killing of mega-evil Galavan – oh, and that incidental vice lord – aside.

Nonetheless, perhaps a spell in Blackgate will do him some good – apart from losing Lee, his job and possibly his life, that is. There’s a well-done montage of prison life, though we do wonder what Jim’s done to deserve being segregated. Then the corrupt governor, a crony of disgraced Commissioner Loeb, transfers him in to general population, and his troubles multiply.

For Penguin, though, things were looking up; his new-found father Elijah Van Dahl promised him succour, comfort, and the use of his trademark monocle – except of course the rest of the family want only to get rid of him. Venomous Grace Van Dahl comes up with a plot to seduce Oswald, and when that fails to poison him, but the dose goes to Elijah instead.

Back in jail with Jim, and the sad news that Lee has lost the baby and moved down South (or has she? – there’s still the possibility that she could have given birth to the Barbara Gordon who becomes Batgirl). Anyway, we can’t see any way Jim could be exonerated – Bullock’s too dumb to rumble Ed Nygma. But Bullock does have the sense to make a deal with Don Falcone to bust Jim out of Blackgate.

In a tense sequence, Jim gets shivved, taken out in a body bag, and removed by ambulance – all a fake. Then he spoils the carefully worked plot by insisting on going back for victimized newbie Puck, who has been beaten up for siding with Jim.

Puck dies, his dramatic purpose having been served when he delivers an encouraging speech to Jim – perhaps Jim should have left in him that nice comfortable hospital wing rather than dragging him all over the countryside? Another death on Jim’s conscience.

Falcone is similarly supportive, offering Jim the chance to run, though he knows perfectly well that he will return to Gotham. Falcone being presented as a helpful and sympathetic figure jars a little, until you realize that in comparison to the monsters due to dominate Gotham, he at least represents a degree of order and civilized restraint.

As the sun rises over Gotham, Jim heads back to the streets where he will surely team up with errant Bruce Wayne, and Oswald begins to eye his adoptive family in a way that assures us that the good old murderous Penguin is surely about to make a comeback. He may have lost a father, but we feel he’s about to gain some beautifully dressed corpses.

Chris Jenkins

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