This was the week that Gotham finally did that thing I wanted. That thing that could potentially make this show a “must see” section of TV each week. In “Spirit of the Goat”, Gotham focused primarily on one crime story, with limited characters and allowed the narrative to breathe. We got to peer back into the past and see a different side of Bullock as well as follow one case from beginning to end. I’m still not the biggest fan of the “villain of the week” approach, but i’ve also sank
hours days into Law & Order: SVU marathons, so I can’t throw too many stones here. With that said, they still have to iron out some of the forced character developments. Stop winking at us damnit, now it just looks like something’s wrong with your eye.
We got a nice story with Bullock this week, but we also got to spend more time with Edward “Soon to be The Riddle” Nygma. Man, for as great as Robin Lord Taylor is as Penguin, Cory Michael Smith is the opposite as Nygma. To be fair, it’s doesn’t seem to be his performance but more what they have him doing. A cocky know-it-all at some turns, and an awkward, socially inept, spaz in others. His interactions with his crush “Kristen Kringle” resulted in the puzzle obsessed crime scene investigator missing some obvious cues. Which would be fine if it were handled with a little more subtlety, but right now, much like some of the nods to the future of the Gotham universe, it’s shoved in our faces with the delicacy of a toddler smashing round pegs into square holes. “Look, he has a question mark on his cup, and like to play riddles while looking at dead bodies. See”.
Back to Bullock, the flashback to the original Spirit of the Goat killer was cool. Seeing a slightly younger, still optimistic Bullock taking chances on solving dangerous cases before backup could arrive. He once cared, if not for the city, for its citizens. It’s hard to tell if the way that case concluded was the catalyst for the Bullock we have now, what with his partner being permanently injured and not really arresting the killer, but it may have been a huge factor. Either way, he was able to take the return of the killer personally for several reasons and dive right in. A solo job at that since Gordon was dealing with troubles of his own.
Since MCU was still investigating him for the Cobblepot murder, Gordon was busy making sure his fiancee wouldn’t be caught in the fallout. This whole story was good, but lacked any real teeth since we all know Cobblepot is alive, well and back in Gotham. So it was only a matter of time before they figured that out, effectively ending any tension as far as the cops are concerned. Now, the mob. That’s a different story. As exhibited by Bullock’s awesome reaction, he’d rather go down for murder than admit that he didn’t kill someone like the mob wanted him to. Only in Gotham.
The misdirection with the doctors and patients were good, if only a little silly, but as Gotham nails its tone on a more consistent basis, the bad silly will subside and things will just fit. I’m glad they are establishing that people are already taking some form of justice into their own hands in order to clean up the city. Dr. Marks’ logic and execution were all wrong, but it sets a stage. Irony of ironies, that she blamed the rich for the downfall of Gotham and it’s the richest inhabitant that will truly be its savior later.
“Spirit of the Goat” was a more focused story, that saw what Gotham could do if it didn’t try to spin all of its plates at once. I left this episode truly intrigued as to how Cobblepot just popping up (he loves to do that) at the police station will play out. And once the writers figure out how to really craft a case for the guys to solve, it’ll be great to watch them unfold through real detective work instead of happenstance. I do wish we got more of a straight up Halloween episode, but hey, they can only do so much at once. Let them get those right first.