Gotham Review: “Red Hood” (Season 1, Episode 17)

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Of course, Gotham hasn’t solved that problem entirely, which brings me to the flailing Fish Mooney and Penguin storylines. Penguin now has control of Fish’s club and is slowly driving the sad dump into the ground. Why we’re supposed to care about this is beyond me, but this is the third week in a row now that we’ve had to sit through terrible performances on his stage and deal with boring, distracting subplots involving his bar-saving side quests. This week it had to do with getting some alcohol for the bar, which is – un-coincidentally – controlled by his now-rival Maroni.

That’s about the gist of it, and it’s solved pretty easily thanks to Fish’s former right-hand man, Butch. Last we saw, Butch had somehow been brainwashed by Victor Zsasz into working for Penguin. How that happened is seemingly unimportant, and why it’s happening is a frustrating mystery that I don’t really care about solving. And worse, still, Butch actually seems totally fine. Why show him in a zombified, lobotomized state, just to have him show up this week normal as ever?

As for Fish, she’s still at the Dollmaker’s, who got a name drop this week but has yet to show his face. In the meantime, Fish got a nice hot shower and gouged out one of her eyes with a spoon.

The spoon moment was just as shocking as it sounds, and just as abrupt and out of place as you’d imagine. None of Fish’s current predicament is worthy of the screentime that keeps getting devoted to it, and this sudden spike in seriousness really took me out of the episode entirely. I highly doubt that her eyes are really that valuable to the Dollmaker, and as his assistant said, she and the rest of the basement crew could easily be killed and replaced, as inconvenient as that would be. You’d think that gouging out her eye would hurt her cause instead of help it.

Then, of course, there’s the Wayne Manor subplot. I liked the time spent there this week and wish that Fish and Penguin’s stories had been cut so that we could spend more time with Bruce, Alfred, and Alfred’s boozy army buddy. This little side story helped shed some interesting and intriguing light into Alfred’s past, and proved once more that the show is taking some heavy cues from Geoff Johns’ Batman Earth One iteration of the famous butler. I like that Reggie was revealed to be a sleazy mole for the Wayne Enterprises board, but feel that it would have had more impact if we had spent a bit more time with him swapping war stories and training Bruce in some less-than-gentlemanly fighting styles we know he’ll adopt someday.

Overall, this was a fun episode of Gotham that fared well in some areas but fumbled in some others. Ironically, Fish and Penguin are becoming the odd ducks here (no pun intended), as they used to be the high points of the show but now just hog screentime that should be spent elsewhere. Penguin is no longer an up-and-coming mob boss, but a fool who can’t get booze, and Fish is a one-eyed guppy. Perhaps taking them out of their element completely was a bad move?