By: Darryl Frisbie
The story unfolds with Penguin revealing himself at the Gotham city police station and the blood feud begins. There are a lot of intricate plot details to this episode and if I tried to make a summary, there would not be much room for my actual review of this episode. So I’ll hit basic plot points and then give my thoughts on each one. Jim Gordon has a bounty on his head now that Penguin has entered the public eye. Falcone sends out a hit man, Victor Zsasz, to put an end to Gordon. An intense gun fight ensues at the police station between Gordon and Victor. You may recognize the actor who plays Zsasz because he is also the green smoke villain from “The Flash.” Each victim that Zsasz kills he makes a tally of it by cutting himself. The altercation is probably the most intense sequence I’ve seen on “Gotham” thus far. Gordon is eventually rescued by Montoya.
The great focus of this episode is the maniacal Penguin. He understands the system of organized crime and works his devious way up the power ladder. We have a showdown between the Maroni family and Falcone’s men. There is a bloody shootout in which a group of Falcone’s men are killed by Maroni’s gang. When they begin to collect Falcone’s leftover money, there is a confrontation between Oswald and one of Maroni’s top men. While Oswald is being chided by one of the top henchman, the tables turn in Penguin’s favor. Oswald reveals that these men for hire are not being paid enough by Maroni’s top man and that he has offered them a better deal. It’s quite convincing to see these men turn on one of their own, when they know they’ve been robbed of their share of money. Penguin whips out a knife and stabs the man in the stomach. Oswald confesses his twisted motive and that he’s driven by love and loyalty. This may be true in his case but he’s always ready to cut down his closest alliance if it means more power. There are some definite parallels between the Penguin and the Joker. Especially in this sequence it reminded me of the disturbing scene where Joker has a knife to Gamble’s mouth ready to give him a Glasgow smile. They both derive sympathy from their victims before killing them and they always have men turn against each other. Joker thrives on chaos and the corruption of men but The Penguin essentially weasels his way to the top. Both characters are fascinating because there is more depth to them than a handful of Marvel villains. Not to say Marvel doesn’t have its share of good villains like Magneto, but Batman has a hallway of the best and most complex villains to date.
We eventually see how cunning Penguin is and how he was the man behind the curtain pulling the strings the entire time. He gained the sympathy and respect needed from Falcone but in the same breadth was the very man behind sparing Jim Gordon’s life. A brilliant and complex storyline that truly delivered.
Overall Grade: 10/10