After what we’ve seen thus far in Gotham (three consecutive C grades), you can imagine the considerable eye-rolling that took place when we saw that this week’s episode was titled “Spirit of the Goat.” We immediately counted the episode out as being cheesy, ridiculous, and any other adjectives you’ve read in our last three reviews. I am happy to admit that we were sorely wrong; “Spirit of the Goat,” although still containing traces of the superfluous nature of episodes past, was exactly what we were expecting from a show like this (ya know, when expectations were high).
This episode is a complete overhaul in terms of character development and storyline. Sure, The Spirit of the Goat is kinda lame, and Satanic sacrifices have been quite overdone in supernatural-type shows, but the way Harvey Bullock store the show here has undeniably been the missing link. I was honestly as confused as Gordon was when Bullocks’ old partner “Bag-O” Dix explained to Gordon how Bullock tried to be Gotham’s “white knight” (a term the Joker used to describe Harvey Dent in Nolan’s The Dark Knight). we have always been under the impression that Bullock doesn’t care about his job or the people of Gotham, a characteristic that really deviated from the way he has been portrayed since his first appearance in the 1970’s (Detective Comics #441). After this episode, it would seem that he at least cares very much about this case. Whether this would translate into an ongoing personality change, we have no idea, but it sure would be great to see this transform into a Starsky and Hutch-like relationship.
The way the series has been playing out, with Gordon unable to keep himself from tripping over Bullock’s inadequacies, is severely hampering to any relative police work being done. When it comes to inadequacies, though, nobody has the Gotham City Major Crimes Unit beat. These two bumbling morons have assumedly spent the better part of the series thus far chasing around James Gordon to pin him for the murder of Oswald Cobblepot based off solely the words of criminals and drunkards. Even if they were catching the right guy, and the city wasn’t full of officials that were in Falcone’s pocket, there is no way that would ever do anything more than detain him for a few days. Idiots. It could be poor writing, but I’m more convinced that the entire Justice Department of Gotham is really that ill-equipped to deal with the corruption that has befallen it. Or maybe they’re just too afraid to act competently.
When Bullock suppresses the evidence that The Goat plants pennies under the victims’ scalps as a trademark, Gordon immediately jumps to the conclusion that this was does as a shady way to keep officials from knowing that evidence was obtained immediately. However, Harvey’s retort, that the evidence was kept quiet to determine whether or not any would-be copy-cats would be recognized immediately, is nothing short of brilliance. In fact, in this new spirit of crime-solving that Harvey has just found, he needs very little help from Gordon to complete the case. There was something very vintage murder mystery-esque that I loved about the episode. The clues were laid out and it took the work of a real gumshoe in Harvey Bullock to solve it. We’re even treated to the Bond villain-like confession and a final struggle, all before Bullock goes Wild Wild West on the bad guy, shooting her without probable cause and getting her goat (Ha!) in the nicest part of town. Now that’s the Harvey Bullock I know!
Hush Comics gives Gotham‘s “The Spirit of the Goat” an A- for it’s return to the roots that made it so special in the first place. Instead of a crazy meta-human mish-mash, we actually get a crime drama with a Batman-twist; Ed Brubaker proved it could work on paper with Gotham Central, and with more episodes like this, the producers of Gotham can make it work for television, too. With the skeleton (Penguin) finally out of the closet, this should make things plenty more interesting. There are some kinks that need to be worked out, such as: Selina Kyle’s useless cameos, Penguin’s mom and her demon purse, and Nygma’s obvious scream for attention (he needs himself an Amy Farrah Fowler). When you get right down to it, though, this week’s Gotham was very enjoyable, and it made me want to watch it again and review it, a feeling I haven’t had since the pilot.
No Fish Mooney = Best Gotham episode yet… Coincidence?
All photos belong to FOX and DC Entertainment. They are credited to Jessica Miglio.