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'Gotham' recap, 'Welcome Back, Jim Gordon'

'Gotham' recap, 'Welcome Back, Jim Gordon'
Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie, L) and Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith, C) investigate a crime scene in "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon." (Jessica Miglio/FOX)

Good to have you back, Jim, even if your coworkers don't agree.

Jim's on a mission to put every bad guy behind bars. But the bad guy this time isn't the predictable super-villain or a mafia crony. Instead, it's the most insidious and hardest to catch: a corrupt cop.

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From start to finish, the fast-paced "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon" traces the deep-seated roots of corruption in the GCPD precinct.

Jim and Harvey arrive at a crime scene in a warehouse with a body hanging from a machine. Arnold Flass, a narcotics cop you know is up to no good, is there to tell them that the victim is a low-level drug dealer.

It's a "public service homicide," Harvey quips.

Jim, as always, is determined to find justice, even when Harvey's given up. As he's searching the body, he finds mini blue drug bags in the heel of the victim's shoes. Even more promising for their case is a witness who can ID the killer.

Don't celebrate just yet. The informant is stabbed in the back with an ice pick as he's waiting for the sketch artist at the precinct. That's what you get for being a good guy in Gotham — not even the police will protect you in their own house.

Because he has a brain and a conscience, Jim immediately suspects the murderer was a cop. Harvey and Captain Essen tell him he's nuts for thinking that. Like that stops him. He questions most of the precinct to find out who was on log duty.

He gets a name and races after Derek Delaware (I can't get with that name) in the garage, cuffs him and then opens his trunk… without a warrant. For being such a chest-thumping "good cop," Jim sure does bend the law whenever he wants.

There, he finds the same blue drug bags that were in the murdered drug dealer's shoes. It's all coming together now! He then drags in Derek to the GCPD and throws him into lockup. The precinct is pissed.

"You making some kind of statement?" Harvey asks Jim. "God damn right, I am!" Jim shoots back.

Since he had no warrant and it turns out Derek was a part of a "sting operation" (major air quotes there), everything gets swept under the rug.

To add insult to injury, the murder of a guy stabbed in the back with an ice pick gets ruled as a suicide. A suicide. Yup, that's how corrupt GCPD is, and it goes all the way to the commissioner.

Jim's insistent on solving the case, but Captain Essen tells him to move on

"Going forward with this puts all of our jobs at risk," she tells him.

Geez, Jim, you're back in the office for less than a week and you're already pissing off your boss? Take it easy.

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Of course, whenever he hears from someone to back down, Jim presses forward even more. He convinces Harvey to pull some strings to find the stash house where Derek was keeping his drugs.

When they arrive at the stash house, Derek is collecting and relocating his stash — all thanks to a warrant signed by the commissioner. Another dead end.

So, Jim asks Penguin to use his connections to get Derek to confess. Just one condition: no one can get hurt. But does he listen? Of course not.

Later, Jim triumphantly brings the bloody ice pick, along with a recorded confession from Derek pointing the finger at Arnold. For once, the precinct has Jim's back and Arnold is arrested.

It all comes together like a neatly wrapped "Law & Order" package -- until the final scene, in a dark, damp alley.

Derek, terrified for his life, is on his knees, begging Jim to call the mafia thugs who forced him to confess. Not even for himself, but for his innocent wife and children.

That's when it hits Jim: to get anything done in Gotham, even if it's for the right reason, you have to mingle with the bad. Jim can't be completely incorruptible — not at that police station and not in that city.

In Gotham, the city is just as bad as the villains, and you're always at war to keep yourself untainted. This is what separates "Gotham" from the typical cop shows. That scene was a brilliant ending to a great episode.

Law enforcement was far from the only topic skewered in "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon." Love's name was also sliced, diced and pulverized into oblivion.

Ed Nygma, Bruce Wayne and even Harvey (yes, that drunken buffoon) were all victims of femme fatales. Anything's better than the ho-hum Jim/Barb/Detective Montoya/Dr. Tompkins love triangle (quadrilateral?) that's been dragging on lately.

Poor Ed. Sure, he's obnoxiously obsessed with riddles (ugh), gives off serious stalker vibes (cringe) and surgically removes onions from his takeout (heh). But having his love poem mocked by his brutish coworkers? Harsh.

To add another blow to his ego, Kris Kringle doesn't tell those jerks to knock it off. Rude. But snaps to her for apologizing to Ed later.

With all this humiliation, Ed's a super villain in the making. But Bruce, even with his heartache, is a hero in the making.

Poor Bruce. He has his trusty chauffer circle around the block — twice! — to find Selina Kyle to ask her to stay with him. He says it's to find out where his parents are, but you know the promise of another kiss doesn't hurt.

Selina slinks into his house after she hears he's looking for her. Being the gentleman he is, he gives her a gift (a snow globe from his recent trip to his Swiss chalet) and asks her to stay with him to work on his parents' murder case.

She gives him back the snow globe and turns him down. "I came here to tell you to stop hassling me." Ouch.

She says she lied about seeing the man who murdered his parents just to stay out of juvey. I wouldn't put it past her, but the way her eyes filled with terror when he said he wanted to keep working on the case makes me suspicious.

Maybe she's a commitment-phobe. Maybe she was insulted when he said living at his fancy mansion would be "better." Maybe she's terrified of running into those henchmen who chased after her earlier.

Or maybe she really did lie to stay out of juvey.

Doesn't matter. Bruce is crushed. He smashes the snow globe into the fireplace and cries it out.

Alfred won't have any of that. "Shall I get a broom?" he asks, "Or shall I let you continue crying over the broken fragments of your shattered childhood dream?"

Tough love, but it works. Bruce pulls himself together, focusing on finding new leads for his parents' murder case.

Poor Harvey. Wait, Harvey has … feelings? I always sensed he had a thing for Fish, but I thought he wasn't interested in any woman unless she has a price and leaves before the sun comes up.

Still, it's endearing. That's why it was such a shame Jada Pinkett Smith and Donald Logue's kiss had absolutely zero chemistry.

I hope to see this Fish/Harvey backstory better explained later when she returns to Gotham. I wonder where she's heading in the meantime. Maybe Metropolis?

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS FROM "WELCOME BACK, JIM GORDON":

BEST HARVEY ONE-LINER: "I don't got a thing for nobody. My thing is for me." – Harvey to Jim about Fish's disappearance. Ha, right. You're not fooling anyone with that tough guy act.

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BEST FISH ONE-LINER: "That's all you got?! You are going to bore me to death, fella!" – Fish to her torturer. Girl was on fire tonight!

BEST BURN: "I bet you have some ugly creatures." – Fish about her torturer's daughters.

MOST INTENSE LINE: "I'm not going anywhere until I cut Penguin's throat." – Who else but Fish.

BEST RESPONSE TO SOMEONE INSULTING YOU: "Rodger, Dodger!" – Ed to his bully coworkers.

MOST IMPRACTICAL GIFT: The snow globe Bruce gave to Selina. Where's a street kid who hides in alleys and scales buildings going to keep a something as fragile as a snow globe?

WORST MOTTO TO LIVE BY IN GOTHAM: "If you have something to say, step forward. If you have nothing to say, step back." And look what happened to the informant — at the precinct filled with cops. If only he had stuck to Baltimore's "snitches get stitches" motto.

WORST CHARACTER: Gertrude Kapelput. I do not need to see that creepy Oedipal spinster prance around her son's bar. She does nothing for the show. Sure, she shows how her son got to be so twisted, but we got the message loud and clear after the sponge-bath incident. Enough is enough! More Penguin, less Momma Penguin. Speaking of Penguin…

BEST CHARACTER: Penguin, clearly. I loved seeing him break loose at the bar, chugging champagne straight from the bottle only to spit on Fish's logo. It's over-the-top done right. I want more! Those behind-the-scenes ads with Robin Lord Taylor aren't enough. Fact: I don't even know what car they're selling, or mind that the setups for those ads are incredibly rehearsed and cheesy — I just love Robin. When is he getting his spinoff?

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