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"Pilot" (Aired September 21, 2014)

Samantha Wessel

When Fox announced the development of “Gotham,” the skeptic in me thought the show would be shit, a weak competitor to ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Part of me also worried the oversaturation of the comic book worlds. Look, I love all things comic book and graphic novel, but I know that the rest of the population doesn’t necessarily feel that way. I was fearful that “Gotham,” “The Flash,” and “Constantine,” may be too much and that the good sentiment and support for DC and Marvel properties may wane.


After watching “Gotham,” I think my worries are unfounded. I’m very excited for the rest of the season. I like the dark ambience of the show, which is a complete contrast to “S.H.I.E.L.D.” (And in actuality, demonstrating the differences between Marvel and DC). I’m excited about the Ben McKenzie/Donal Logue team of James Gordon and Harvey Bullock. And Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot (the future Penguin) is freaking amazing. So with all that, let’s get into the world of “Gotham” shall we?


The show opens with a young Selina Kyle, the future (and sorta present) Catwoman, making her way through the streets of Gotham, stealing milk (appropriate) and wallets. We know that young Bruce Wayne isn’t going to be the focal point of this show, and as of right now, it looks like Selina Kyle may be our way into the seedy underworld of Gotham City. I like this technique, allowing the viewers an eye into the happenings of the rougher parts of Gotham with a character we’re going to have mixed emotions about.


Anyway, Selina Kyle is hanging out in an alley when she hears Thomas, Martha, and Bruce Wayne walking through. It’s the scene we’re all familiar with where Thomas and Martha are killed in front of Bruce. And Selina sees it all happen.


Meanwhile, at the Gotham City Policy Department, Jim Gordon defuses a hostile inmate situation. Much to the disdain of his partner Harvey Bullock, Jim kept the inmate alive. As they’re arguing, they’re called to the scene of the Wayne murders. After arrive, Bullock realizes the victims are Thomas and Martha Wayne. Knowing this is going to bring a shit ton of pressure on him, he wants to transfer the case to the Major Crimes Unit. However, Jim has already made his way over to Bruce, officially making the Wayne case the business of Jim and Bullock.


After opening up about his own father’s death, Jim is able to get Bruce to tell him what happened. He tells Jim that the killer was wearing a black mask and shiny shoes. Jim promises Bruce he’ll find who killed his parents. During Jim and Bruce’s conversation, Alfred Pennyworth, the Wayne butler, shows up to take Bruce home. Jim makes the same promise to Alfred. Alfred realizes this promise is one of a new, naïve officer, and whisks Bruce away.


At a diner, Jim and Bullock start talking about the case. Bullock tells Jim that talking to Bruce means they’re stuck with the case and the press is going to come down hard on them if they don’t solve the case quickly. Then Montoya and Allen from Major Crimes Unit show up and offer to take the case from Jim and Bullock. Montoya throws an insult at Bullock, and he refuses to give them the case.


Bullock and Jim go to see the police Captain who tells them to use the resources need to solve the case. Bullock then asks the Captain for a new partner, but she tells him that he’s stuck with Jim. Jim’s father was a DA back in the day, so he’s a favorite. Bullock tells Jim he seems like a nice guy and Gotham isn’t a city for nice guys.


Jim and Bullock gather up some muggers and question them, but they aren’t able to get anywhere. After a montage of questioning, we see Edward Nygma (the future Riddler) tell Jim and Bullock that the bullet used is an expensive one and came from a gun not in Gotham’s database. There are no prints on the gun that may help track down the killer. Nygma throws out a riddle, much to Bullock’s chagrin, but Jim is able to figure it out. Jim’s riddle solving clearly takes Nygma by surprise. Perhaps Jim is going to be a good foil for the future Riddler


After receiving the information from Nygma, Jim hypothesizes that the killer may not actually be from the streets. Perhaps someone was sent to specifically kill the Waynes. Since they haven’t found out anything in the first 48 hours, Bullock and Jim are off to see Fish Mooney. Fish Mooney works for mob boss Carmine Falcone. The theater district where the Waynes were murdered happened in her “area.”


Fish Mooney is introduced to us by beating the crap out of one of her henchmen for stealing money from her. We are also introduced to Oswald Cobblepot (the future Penguin) who is one of Fish’s lackeys. When Fish goes inside to meet with Bullock and Jim, Oswald takes over for Fish and starts beating the dishonest henchmen. When Oswald’s fellow lackey refers to him as Penguin because of his walk, he expresses his great displeasure in this nickname.


Inside Fish’s place, Bullock and Fish show a familiarity that seems to bother Jim. Jim hears the beating of the henchman and goes to check it out. When he comes back, Bullock and Fish are laughing together. Fish kisses Bullock goodbye and it seems like this questioning was a bust.


At home that night, we meet Jim’s fiancé Barbara. Jim fills her in on the lack of progress on the Wayne case. Really, the scene is there to establish the supportive nature of the relationship between Barbara and Jim. A few hours later, Jim receives a call from Bullock telling Jim to meet him about a lead from Fish.


The two meet up and Bullock tells Jim that a known street criminal, Mario Pepper, was trying to sell a pearl necklace fitting the description of the one Martha Wayne was wearing when she was killed. When they knock on the door, Pepper’s daughter Ivy answers (oh hey Poison Ivy). Bullock and Jim question Pepper and when they say they’re going to look around the place, Pepper runs out of the apartment with Jim chasing him. After a few minutes, Pepper is about to stab Jim, but Bullock kills him. Afterward, when the police are combing through Peppers place, they find Martha Wayne’s necklace, and Bullock and Jim are proclaimed as heroes for finding and killing the Wayne’s murderer.   


After Pepper’s death, Oswald meets up with Montoya and Allen of the Major Crimes Unit to tell them that Pepper was set up by Fish Mooney, Harvey, and Jim. Allen realizes that Oswald is revealing this information as Oswald wants to push Fish out. After meeting with Oswald, Montoya shows up to Barbara’s apartment to tell her that Jim framed Pepper. There’s some kind of history between Montoya and Barbara – perhaps they were a couple? Or perhaps Barbara used to be part of some criminal element herself. It’s unclear at the moment. Barbara refuses to believe that Jim would frame Pepper.


That night Barbara asks Jim straight out if he famed Pepper. He immediately denies it and asks who told her that. The next day Jim confronts Montoya about the evidence she has that Pepper was framed, but she refuses to share. Jim tells Montoya and Allen that he’ll find out if Pepper was framed and find the real killer.


So Jim makes a visit to Peppers wife and daughter. His wife says that while Pepper had demons he wasn’t a murderer. Jim asks to see Pepper’s shoes. When he looks in the closet, he realizes that Pepper doesn’t have the shiny shoes that Bruce described. Jim then takes this information to Bullock. Bullock tells Jim that even if Pepper was innocent, they killed him and they would lose their jobs. He tells Jim to let it go.


Jim refuses to give up, obviously, so he’s off to see Fish. He asks Fish what she and Bullock talked about during their meeting while Jim was outside. Jim starts to beat up Fish’s henchmen, but she knocks him out. Fish’s henchmen drag Jim to a meat locker where they hang up and prepare to kill him.


The next morning, Barbara shows up to the police station to ask Bullock if he knows where Jim is. Bullock lies and tells Barbara that Jim is on a stake out. Bullock realizes that Jim couldn’t let it go, so he’s off to Fish’s to save Jim. Bullock tries to convince Fish to let Jim go. He tells Fish that Major Crimes knows she planted the necklace on Pepper. She realizes that Oswald sold her out, and she tells her henchmen to kill both Bullock and Jim.


After her phone call with Bullock, Fish tells Oswald that Falcone is taking over, and she may as well take over. She then tells Oswald that she knows he betrayed her to the Major Crimes Unit. When Fish tests Oswald’s loyalty, he’s not able to prove it, and she begins beating him.


As Harvey and Jim are hanging upside down in the meat locker and about to be killed, Carmine Bullock shows up and tells Fish’s henchmen that Fish has overstepped her boundaries by trying to kill police officers without speaking to him first.


Falcone then has a little chit-chat with Jim. He tells Jim that he knew Jim’s father and that Jim’s father and Falcone had a friendship. Jim tells Falcone that when he leaves, he’s going to tell that Falcone owns the police department and that he thought Falcone had the Waynes killed, but if he did, he wouldn’t let Jim live. Falcone confesses to Jim that the necklace they found in Pepper’s apartment was a replica, and that Falcone framed Pepper to let the people of Gotham see justice so they would feel safe and secure. He tells Jim “You can’t have organized crime without law and order.” Falcone tells Jim that bringing down City Hall and the Police department would make the problems in Gotham even worse.


Bullock then drives Jim to the docks and opens up the trunk to reveal Oswald. Bullock tells Jim that Falcone demanded that Jim kill Oswald to show that Jim is on board with everything. Bullock tells Jim that if he doesn’t kill Oswald, then Harvey will have to kill Jim, and they may even go after Barbara. Obviously, Jim isn’t going to kill him. So Jim walks Oswald down to the end of the pier and tells Oswald to never come back to Gotham. He pushes Oswald off the pier right as he shoots the gun. I can’t tell if Bullock knows Jim didn’t actually kill Oswald, but he either way, he seemed pleased with Jim.


Jim arrives at the Wayne manor to find Bruce standing on the roof. Bruce explains to Jim that he’s trying to conquer his fear. Jim then tells Bruce that Pepper was framed, and he didn’t keep his promise. Jim hands his badge over to Bruce, telling Bruce he believes he can fight the corruption but that he should do it from the inside. Bruce hands Jim back his badge as a sign of approval and forgiveness. As Jim drives away, we see Selina Kyle on the walls of the Wayne property, gazing upon the manor.


The episode ends with Oswald emerging from the river. He kills a lonely fisherman and eats the fisherman’s sandwich. He’s not quite the Penguin yet, but he’s well on his way.