“Gotham” recap (1.10): Fish Lips and First Kisses

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Welcome to the recap of the fall finale of Gotham! After last week’s lesbotastic ending, I was disappointed that Renee and Barbara didn’t show up at all in this episode. But Gotham is nothing if not overstuffed, and all supporting characters must wait their turn on the carousel of subplots. If it makes you feel better, go ahead and imagine that Keatoya is still banging it out in Renee’s apartment of candles and ladysex. It definitely makes me feel better.

We open on the grounds of Wayne Manor, where a slick lady assassin chokes out a poor gardener, guts him, and rubs his blood on her face. So, you know, typical Gotham Tuesday. She is joined by two more assassins, and together they storm Wayne Manor looking to kill Selina Kyle.

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Meanwhile, Selina is teaching Bruce to walk on railings and keep his balance. She invites him to climb bridges and maybe make out, but Bruce plays it cool. He suspects she has an ulterior motive, and I suspect he hasn’t hit puberty yet.

Alfred unwittingly lets in the assassins, but quickly realizes his mistake and springs into ass-kicking. He gets shot in the shoulder and manages to kill one of the assassins while Selina and Bruce make a run for it. This should be a tense development, but Gotham is once again hoisted by its own prequel-based petard: we know that Bruce Wayne (and for that matter, most of the cast) is never in real danger. He has to grow up and become Batman. Selina/Penguin/Nigma/Ivy/Dent have to become super villains. Gotham is locked into its future, which lets all the air out of its present.

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This may be one of the reasons why Fish Mooney is such a breath of fresh air in the world of Gotham. Because we don’t know this character, we don’t know what her fate will be. Hello, dramatic tension. Also, it doesn’t hurt that she’s played with such zeal by Jada Pinkett Smith.

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Everyone assumes that the assassins were sent by Lovecraft, looking to bump off the only eyewitness to the Wayne murders. Gordon goes after Lovecraft, while Bullock and Alfred team up to find the kids. This is the BEST THING EVER, because Alfred and Bullock are straight up delightful together. They banter, they fight, they bribe…they are everything I want Gordon and Bullock to be. And while Ben McKenzie is a more than capable actor, he’s stuck in humorless good guy mode. It’s bad news when your lead is the least interesting character on your show. Gordon needs to be less Skywalker and more Han Solo for this thing to really take off.

Meanwhile, Falcone wants to know who stole his money. He invites all his capos to lunch and shoots a guy in the head for failing him. In case you didn’t know that Falcone was a Mafioso, there’s a dead guy face down in a bowl of spaghetti. Gotham don’t deal in subtlety, y’all. Falcone knows that Fish is against him, but he still thinks he can control her. Fish rounds up disgruntled capos to launch an attack while Penguin holds onto the valued information that Liza is really the mole.

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