Gotham – S1E3 – The Balloonman – Recap

Hi everyone! This week’s episode of Gotham was pretty boring! Let’s get to it!

We open on Penguin getting off a bus, wearing the clothes that belonged to one of the bros he killed in last week’s episode. Looking around, he sees the following: some kids taking a guy’s wallet, a cop taking a bribe, a guy stealing a lady’s purse, and another lady (?) propositioning a stranger in a car for sex. All on the same block. In daylight. Within like a one minute time span. I know that we’re being force fed the line that Gotham is a horrible place and needs a savior (a “knight,” if you will) to come clean it up, but geez Louise, why does anyone live here? Anyway, Penguin sees all of this, smirks, and says “home.” As he walks away, we see a newscast talking about a guy who stole people’s money via a pyramid scheme – we cut to the thief yelling at his lawyer, basically showing the audience that he’s a real bad guy. He walks out onto the street, where he’s confronted by a stranger in a pig mask (for a second I thought it was going to be Professor. Pyg from Grant Morrison’s Batman run) who attaches a large balloon to him, carrying him high above the city. Yeah. This is happening. Buckle up.

Gotham Pig Face

After the opening title, we see Gordon and Bullock at the crime scene, where Bullock tells Gordon that the thief deserved what he got, just in case viewers at home were not aware that everyone in Gotham City is awful. Back at the police station, we’re introduced to Lt. Cranston, whose sole purpose is to talk about beating up suspects to remind us that Gotham’s police force is awful. While Gordon and Bullock discuss the first episode of the Gotham for those at home that might have missed it, a representative from juvenile services comes in with Catgirl, and signs her over to Gordon’s custody.

They go to the alley where the Waynes were shot, and she tells him about what she saw, which is pretty much what Gordon already knew. She says she can prove what she saw, because of the wallet she stole and tossed down the sewer – because he’s a chump, Gordon agrees to climb into the sewer to see if he can find the wallet. While he’s down there, Catgirl runs off.

gotham catgirl and gordon

We cut over to Fish Mooney’s club, where detectives Montoya and Allen come in to check after Penguin’s disappearance. Mooney chews some scenery, and puts the blame on Gordon. Seriously, Jada Pinkett Smith is the only person having any kind of fun on this show. On a street somewhere, Penguin is recognized by a thug, so he kills him in broad daylight and waddles off.

At Wayne Manor, we find Alfred goading Bruce into having a sword fight (?) in an office (??) Alfred talks a lot, but honestly I’ve watched the scene like 3 times and don’t have any idea what he said. There was huffing and puffing. Alfred knocks over some files, and notices that Bruce has been looking at the crime scene photos from when his parents were killed. Bruce explains he’s looking for clues, and Alfred replies “what, so you’re a detective now?” This is foreshadowing. Because of Batman.

Back at the GCPD, Montoya and Allen come in and accuse Gordon of killing Penguin. Everyone glares, everyone grits their teeth, you don’t see anyone’s feet – it’s like a Rob Liefeld comic.

Nick with The Rob

Nick and The Rob at NYCC 2014

We jump to a random Italian restaurant, where we find Penguin applying for a job in the kitchen – except they’re all staffed up. The manager tells him he doesn’t even have the right shoes for the job, and stomps off. I wonder if this will become important later.

Back at the police station (again) Bullock comes up with some information on the balloonman (you guys, seriously. We are almost halfway through, and I’d completely forgotten about the main “villain” of the episode.) Gordon fills Bullock in on his meeting with Montoya and Allen. While they make their way to talk to a lead in the balloon case, Penguin creeps up on a guy who works at the restaurant who just so happens to wear the same shoe size as he does! What luck!

Remember earlier, when we were introduced to Lt. Cranston, who sort of came out of nowhere and only seemed to exist to fill the “bad cop” quota for the episode? Well, the Balloonman comes up to him in an alley (where Cranston was beating up a drug dealer for his money.) They tussle, and Cranston ends up floating up into the air.

So, now that a cop’s been killed, it’s a whole new ballgame. We cut to Gordon and Bullock in Essen’s office, going over the information they have on the suspect. Basically, Bullock is ready to send the guy away forever, regardless of whether or not he actually did it (Gotham City cops are bad, remember?) The weird thing is that based on all of the TV clips they show in the background, the citizens of Gotham seem to know that all the cops/public officials are bad news, and are totally on board with vigilante killings. It’s just hysterical that the public has zero faith in these guys, either. Then there’s a montage of Bullock being skeezy and violent while Gordon watches.

Back at the Italian restaurant, Penguin got a job!

gotham penguin restaurant

Gordon and Bullock end up at another random apartment building, bust in, and arrest everyone, thinking they’re responsible for the balloon murders.

After commercials, we open on Mooney and her crybaby beat-up boyfriend from last episode, and you can clearly tell she’s over him. She asks one of our thugs to kill him, in addition to Falcone’s new girlfriend.

Back at Gordon’s apartment, we find that Montoya has just straight up walked into the place (using her old key, because she used to totally make out with his girlfriend but he doesn’t know yet,) where she finds Barbara, wearing little clothes and smoking weed. Montoya (again) tells Barbara that Gordon is bad news, and then there’s some more chit chat about how she still loves her and blah blah blah. THEN THERE’S KISSING AND BARBARA GETS MAD!

gotham-barbara and montoya

There’s a brief interrogation scene, where we basically find out that the suspect didn’t actually commit the crimes. They find Cranston’s body, and he’s got the form that Gordon signed to take Catgirl out earlier, which means that Gordon now knows who Balloonman is! Which is good, because we’ve got like 10 minutes left and this episode is super boring.

Long story short, the killer ends up being someone at juvenile services, and he looks like he’s a pretty good guy, not at all like someone who’d be involved in public office in Gotham City. Bullock and Gordon go after him, and there’s a hilarious moment where Balloonman and Gordon end up floating into the air, until Bullock shoots the balloon, causing them to drop onto the top of a van. Just based on the way this was filmed, they look like they are waaaaaaaaaaay higher up than they were, based on how Gordon could still walk away (although Balloonman ends up strapped to a board with a neck brace) but since I’m sure we’re going to eventually end up with maniacal killer clown people, I can let it slide.

After a brief scene of Falcone and Mooney, filled with veiled threats and whatever, we end this episode at Barbara’s apartment, where an achy Gordon tells her that the city is corrupt and horrible and he doesn’t know what he can do. There’s a knock on the door, and OH MAN THERE’S THE PENGUIN ALL DRESSED FANCY AND LOOKING LIKE AN EXTRA FROM A MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE VIDEO AND WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT YOU GUYS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

This episode was kind of blargh, but based on the previews for next week, it looks like we might get the Gordon and Penguin super fun happy hour. So, moving up? Who knows?

Written by Nick Doyle. Follow Nick on Twitter: @nicholasdoyle.