Monday, October 13, 2014

Gotham - Episode 3 - The Balloonman - "Let's just hope there's never a vigilante who uses the sea as a weapon."

Life in Gotham City continues on from the events of the last episode. Will Gordon get the lead he needs on the Wayne Murders? Will Cobblepot get his golden ticket?

Let's start with how Cobblepot's scheme of ransoming frat boys is going.

I guess the golden ticket is a one way to Gotham.

Oh. I guess...I wonder what he did with the body?

Well, yes, Cobblepot is back, and broke. His scheme doesn't seem to have worked out. And off the bus, he takes in what makes Gotham City the city it is. Sex Workers. Kids in Halloween masks pickpocketing (Considering the last episode, are they homeless?). Muggers. Corrupt cops.

It all makes him smile. This is his city.


That's rough. He doesn't even have enough to buy an issue of
Batman. Not joking.
Cobblepot wanders for awhile and tries to figure out what to do next, trying to stay out of sight. But he has trouble since he has no money to get a place to sleep, or buy food.

But he does have a knife, which he prepares to use to get something to eat. That doesn't go well, as he gets grabbed by a mook who recognizes him.

He laughs at finding Cobblepot alive, but knows Mooney would pay good money to get her hands on to him. Is this the end of Oswald?!

"Hey? Do I stab like a penguin to?"
Cobblepot makes use of his knife and drops the thug. He then brutally finishes him off.

On the plus side, Cobblepot has a wad of cash to buy food. And, he's expended a little of his rage...about an hours worth.

With that narrow survive, Cobblepot decides to try and find some safety and support. He goes to a restaurant looking for work. But he finds they aren't hiring.

"I'll work hard, sir. As hard as a p...puffin."

So to rectify the issue he kills a member of the kitchen staff. And he steals his shoes, as the restaurant manager said he lacked proper shoes for the work.

While working there, he tries to get close to the restaurant's owner. Maroni, the chief challenger to Carmine Falcone. He then makes a good impression on Maroni. (He also listens in enough to get a sense that he's readying to move against Falcone, and Mooney.)

I can't also help but notice that Cobblepot once again tries to change his past to impress. This time he pretends to be Italian American.

Once Cobblepot feels secure enough near Maroni, he makes his next move.

"Sorry. I forgoy what it was you asked me to do when you let me live."

Time to talk to Gordon.

More Mooney, more trouble.

Meanwhile, Mooney is still sore at the boss, Falcone. She is looking at her lover limping around, after Falcone had him beaten. All because she started plotting Falcone's downfall. But Mooney is now biding her time, looking for the opening to go after Falcone.

Then Major Crime arrives. They have questions about Cobblepot's "murder". Mooney is happy to play the good citizen and suggest villains. She points to Gordon as the gunman. She also suggests Falcone is giving the order.

Montoya gets more confirmation of her opinion. Mooney gets some more eyes on Falcone.

Then Mooney has her goons plan an "accident" for Falcone's current girlfriend. ...And also has them get rid of her boy toy, who is all mopey now after his beating.

By the end of the episode Falcone is stopping in to check on Mooney. His girlfriend seems to have had a rough mugging. So Falcone isn't in a good mood. He doesn't seem to know it was her. But he seems a little worried it might be tied to Maroni. Falcone is definitely jumpy and nervous.

"Yeah. You just keep walking."

The Gordon and Selina Show.

Gordon finally gets to work on his Wayne Murders investigation. With Selina on hand he returns to the site of the murder. Crime Alley. (Though I think no one has called it that yet. May we see it named on this show?) Selina starts laying out what she says she saw. She adds to Gordon's knowledge by saying that the shooter's face wasn't covered before he approached the Waynes. And she saw that face.

"So you dress that way as a cop of your own choice?"

Gordon is dubious. But he is giving her a chance. He explains he can't guarantee ro get her out of child services, but he wants to give her a chance to prove herself. So he handcuffs her as he goes into a sewer hole in Crime Alley to find a wallet Selina says she threw in the night of the murders.

"I swear, if there is a large croc down here..."

Down in sewer Gordon finds the wallet, and realizes she may know something. Up above, Selina shows that she knows how to pick a lock. She says good bye to Gordon, and runs.

Not to worry, Gordon. That will not be the last time Selina Kyle escapes your custody.

Now on to the main show. Vigilantes on parade.

Seems someone has decided to target criminals in the city. And not in a casual manner. Someone walks up and attaches a weather balloon to them. Then they let them float away. ...Well that is certainly creative.

Breaking News from Exposition TV.

A rich financier is readying to buy his way out of any jail time for his shady dealings, which lost the livelihoods of many. He is annoyed at the fact he's been bothered, covered by the media, and being made to feel unwelcomed.

So, yeah. he's not a nice guy.

When he slips out of his apartment, he crosses paths with a seeming cart vendor, selling balloons and masks. As he passes, the man pushing the cart stops him. He's wearing one of his masks. A pig face.

Imagine if he'd worn the shark mask instead. How many of us would be
flipping out?

And I know in ads and here some of drawn to draw a parallel to the Batman villain Mr. Pyg. And it's hard him not to pop up in your head. At best the people making the show thought it'd be fun is by coincidence another villain appeared who happened to, even for a moment, borrow from future baddies. As it is, the mask was a convenience for hiding the Balloonman's identity and nothing more.

As our presumed vendor talks to our soon to be ex-financier,  he handcuffs the man's arm, and the balloons from the cart are released. As they fly off, only a large weather balloon is left. And it lifts our financiers up into the heavens.

"...Oh, my god! I suddenly get Karma!"

And our mysterious vigilante walks away.

This attack seems to please many Gothamites. Smiting a guy that stole money from many of them doesn't seem like a bad idea. Even the police don't really care.

Then he kills a cardinal who was accused of sexual abuse. He uses another weather balloon. And he's officially Balloonman.

Don't worry. I am sure God will save him...Any second now.

And he uses the same tactic on a corrupt cop, infamous for beating suspects. He jumps him after he's shaken down a guy for money. They get into a little fight, and the cop gets some papers from the Balloonman's pocket. In the end though, the Balloonman is triumphant.

After that, the police are far more interested in stopping the Balloonman.

But the people of Gotham aren't that mad at the Balloonman. He's getting the men that abuse them. He's enacting their animus at these figures.

Now the rich and powerful of Gotham are freaked out. They are the type that are used to abusing power. They are used to being corrupt and greedy, screwing over the rest of the city. Suddenly they no longer feel safe. And the police are forced to realize they aren't immune from this.

So Gordon and Bullock, leading the case, are pressured to stop the Balloonman quickly. While Gordon wasn't getting any help from Bullock at first, when a cop is killed, he starts caring more. But that is a common reaction in law enforcement.

Soon they track down the origin of the balloons. But it doesn't offer answers. If only a lead would fall in their laps. But it won't

And they make sure to immediately assure that the woman's dog is okay.
Does that sum up our society?

But it soon falls into the lap, and whole body, of a woman walking her dog down one of Gotham's streets. The balloons holding the cop burst high up in the atmosphere and falls. The cop ends up landing on the woman, killing her. When they investigate his body, they finally find the evidence they need.

There is paperwork in his pocket that he grabbed off of the Balloonman. It belongs to a man we see earlier in the episode from Child Services.

Gordon works out again where the baddies are. This time he made the logic jump that since Child Service (where the Balloonman works) has just moved buildings, the Balloonman may be making use of the abandoned old facility.

Wait? Is Pennywise a Gotham villain?

They spot the balloon being prepped. When they catch the Balloonman, Bullock decides to attach him to his balloon, and kill him. But Gordon isn't having that. So he jumps onto the Balloonman, and starts to rise. Bullock struggles, but decides he has to shoot the balloon and save them.

(Of interest, the Balloonman says that his tipping point was when the major decided to round up all the street kids in the last episode to send to the upstate prison.)

Severally injured, Balloonman condemns Gordon. He had his chance to change the city, but failed. But Gordon won't do it this way. He refuses to just kill people that he personally judges as bad, or evil. It's not his place. He wants to be better than that.

Then at the end of the episode, the guy he refused to kill in the pilot appears at his front door to haunt his life. (IRONY!)

Wah! Wah! Wah! Waaaa!!! (...Wait. Did I make an accidental Penguin?)

Bruce lays down his ethos.

Meanwhile, at Wayne Manor. Bruce is studying. Alfred is also drawing him into some pretend fencing. They have a little fun. Alfred is also amping up his sillier side for Bruce's benefit.

And to his credit it does bring out some smiles and laughs from Bruce.

The kid emerges from him for a minute. But we quickly see this is a diversion from his growing focuses. His somehow managed to acquire the file on his parent's murders. And he says it was easy, but I don't know how he did it...Maybe since it's considered a closed case he was able to pull it off.

The Wayne family holiday cards are grim this year.

He wants to be a detective, and figure out what happen. But he lacks the skills to pull that off.

As the episode follows the Balloonman case, Bruce watches, interested. But he also doesn't care for the vigilante. He kills people. The good guys shouldn't do that.

"Let's turn over to 'lil Gotham news. I like 'lil Vicki Vale."
Alfred has a little issue this episode. Bruce isn't eating. He may want to get used to that. It will become a habit over the years. And, no, I don't know how Bruce built up his muscle mass with his bad habits.


Overall a good episode. We have seen the first of Gotham's reactions to it's crime and corruption issues. The city is sinking and people are acting out. We'll have to see what else emerges.

I did like the Balloon man's looks. The pig mask did draw reactions. But his second outfit. It drew memories from me of old pulp crime fighters, like the Shadow. I don't know if that was their intention.

What Balloonman does is weird and showy. But it isn't really unbelievable. So it doesn't break credulity.

And we see now clearly where the fight is coming in the crime world. Arkham. When it comes to the Asylum and plans around it everyone is salivating. Falcone seems to think his plan is going ahead. Maroni seems to think he's got a plan to screw Falcone. And Mooney and Cobblepot? What will they be doing?

As we learn about Arkham it will be interesting to see what new aspects of the city and citizens is revealed.

The we have Selina. She isn't one for being under someone else's power. Will she still want to help? Or will she need to run into more trouble?

When it comes to these characters, I have known them into different incarnations for years now. One things that I enjoy as I go through these episodes of Gotham is that I have successfully separated the show's take of them from other takes. When Penguin appears at the end of the episode at Gordon's place, I don't think about...

That's because I'm focused on what is happening with the characters in the here and now of the show. What is Cobblepot planning? What will have to Gordon and Kean? I want to see the show's plans for these various characters. I am not focused on their distant futures. I've done that enough, and will again, as I read over comics and watch old shows and movies.

One other topic to hit is the other subplot of the episode. Montoya and Kean. It's largelt what we saw in the pilot again. (And Kean is still in the apartment! I thought she ran an art gallery?) Montoya accuses Gordon. Kean defends him. This is getting old. Maybe it is a rehash of the pilot for new viewers, but I hope they will be pushing out from here.

On the plus side they did escalated a little. Montoya catches Kean with some pot, and she also still has the keys to the place. (Creepy.) Then we learn that they both have a drug use history, and problem.

Now that does help me better understand their history. I can imagine now that they either met as users, or met in rehab. Not sure which is more likely. But Montoya is worried about Kean relapsing.

Then Montoya tries to kiss Kean,and that is just not cool. You sneak into your exes place, bad mouth her fiance, and then try to get romantic. Montoya really needs to move on (as does this plot), and meet another attractive Gotham socialite. Let's get the Kane family in here! (Yes, I've notice "Kean" and "Kane".)

NEXT TIME! We're sending you to Arkham.

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