'Gotham' recap: Is Jim Gordon too dirty for the GCPD?

Another twist, another turn, but there are no dead ends in this episode, "Strike Force."

While the first season of "Gotham" lagged — in story arcs, not in introductions to new characters that were churned out weekly — the second season has committed itself to storylines that work and character changes that fit in seamlessly to the narrative.


Last night's big character change: A new commissioner who wants to fix Gotham.

Commissioner Loeb was as corrupt as the rest of the villains they locked up, and there was never any time for Commissioner Essen to make her mark at the station before her assassination.


Now here comes Nate "Chair Throwing, Early Morning Wake-Up Call to Your Girlfriend's Place" Barnes (Michael Chiklis) ready to clean house. And, man, does he make that place squeaky clean.

So clean, in fact, that he fires a half-dozen dirty cops his first hour on the job. But he doesn't stop there: "From now on, any detective, officer, rookie or clerk who breaks the law will not just lose their job, they will go to jail."

Jim looks horrified. It's only one of many uncomfortable moments for him this episode. If only Nate Barnes had become commissioner last year when Jim was still steadfast to his idealistic ways.

Instead, Jim's now sullied himself by becoming old friends with the Penguin, collecting debts and murdering a mobster in cold blood.

But when you get dirty, you leave tracks. It won't be long until Commissioner Barnes discovers his second in command has a tainted past.

Jim's secret would likely stay under wraps, except that the Penguin's been on a recent crime spree at the behest of Theo Galvin, and they're not crimes that go unnoticed.

These crimes are all a part of Theo's grand scheme to take the "old crumbling pigsty filled with human waste" that Gotham is and "move into the future [that's] cleaner, brighter."

To do this, he plans on replacing residential buildings with big, blue, glowing skyscrapers that do what to reduce the crime and corruption, exactly? We're not sure, but they seem neat.

But before that, he must become mayor by killing his opponents. Sure, it'd be easier for a billionaire like Theo to just buy the election, but what's the fun in that if it's too similar to real life?

So, he enlists Penguin, the King of Gotham — or the "King of Garbage," as Tabitha dubs him — to carry out the murders. He resists at first, until he sees that they have his mom as a hostage. Not his momma!

First on Penguin's dirty deeds for Theo: fake an assassination attempt on Theo, who's being honored with a medal of valor for killing Jerome.

(Side note: There's a drive-by shooting on a public figure, and everyone carries on as usual. Man, Gotham's one awful city. Then, after miraculously surviving, Theo announces he's running for mayor, while everyone applauds him without finding his frequent brushes with death to be too coincidental to be orchestrated. Just how dumb are those citizens?)


Penguin then waddles into one of Theo's other contenders' headquarters and assassinates her. Oh, Penguin, why didn't you just wear a knee brace? That waddling is what gave him away when a witness described him to Jim. Again, Jim looks horrified.

So, my theory that Jim was the only one spared from GCPD's massacre to frame him has yet to transpire. But that doesn't mean that Jim will be spared from justice now that Commissioner Barnes is determined to fire any dirty cops.

Jim's friendship with Penguin is what helped him get back onto the force, and it will ultimately be what costs him his job. It's only a matter of time before the cops arrest Penguin. And when they do, he'll sing like a canary, and they'll put Jim behind bars with him.

More "Strike Force" highlights:

Best Harvey one-liner: "Gotham doesn't have straight lines. It has twists and turns and dead ends."

One-percenter problems: When your mom, err, butler picks you up at school. Ugh, so lame!

Most disappointing moment: Alfred slugging Selina. I don't care if she killed Reggie — who, let's not forget, stabbed him — and it doesn't matter if she's the future Catwoman. Right now she's still a kid, and that punch was out of line.

Mayor problem: So, Gotham's pretty much accepted that the mayor isn't coming back. Are we ever going to see him, or are we just to assume that he's still locked in that sadistic head cage in Theo's apartment?

#ThatAwkwardMomentWhen… You yell at your imaginary evil side in front of your date. But how adorable was it when Ed and Kristen's glasses clinked when they kissed? Aww!

Going green: Kristen has fallen head over heels for Ed, and her emerald dress says it all. And did you see those green plaid pants Ed was rocking? I can't wait to see what costumes "Gotham" has in store for him when he goes full Riddler.

Geek chic: I love how Ed's drinking glasses were repurposed Erlenmeyer flasks. They're the new Mason jars.

Let's do the time warp again: It makes my head spin trying to figure out what decade this show is set in. The episode starts off with '80s glam-rock criminals, then Nygma and Kringle have that whole '50s Buddy Holly look going on and who could forget Harvey's '40s Frank Sinatra fedora. Is this the costume designer's way of saying Batman is timeless?

Worst dinner topic: "So tell me about your parents' murder." - Theo to Bruce. It doesn't surprise me that he wants to know what Bruce has learned about his parents' death, especially with that creepy hooded guy in the trailer for next week's episode asking about him. But what I do find interesting is that he repeatedly said how "disappointing" it was that the police haven't been able to solve the case. Is Theo hoping that driving a wedge between Bruce and Jim will somehow help him "break" Jim? Or is the hooded creeper somehow involved in his parents' murder?

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