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    Five Thoughts on Gotham‘s “Penguin, Our Hero”

    By | January 18th, 2019
    Posted in Television | % Comments

    Welcome back to our installment of “Multiversity Writers Watch This Show That Makes No Sense and Write Hilarious Things About It,” (MWWTSTMNSWHTAI for short but you all knew that). I am your gracious host for this installment, Kevin Gregory of Make Mine Multiversity fame and you’ll be joining me as we voyage into the oddities that is Gotham as the show rounds out its final, wacky season. I clearly stepped away for entirely too long because Gotham City is now a dystopian wasteland and we’ve plunged into some odd-post-apocalyptic territory that continues to make the costumes in this show clash. Why’s Gordon wearing a suit to the end of the world? Anyway that’s neither here nor there.

    This week, Selina is apparently back from grave after being shot by Jeremiah Joker (seriously what’d I miss?), Bruce is brooding, Gordon’s navigating leading refugees, Penguin learns a little something about leadership, and, as per usual, people die. Let’s dive in!

    1. Choirs in hell

    Oswald would have a choir in dystopia. He would. That’s this show. That’s Gotham. In the middle of this ‘No Man’s Land’ inspired hellscape, months after being abandoned by the federal government, Penguin is of course being extravagant. He’s the savior of his servants, hoarding food, bullets, water, and opera singers. I am so glad this show reminded me in the first five minutes exactly what it is. We get Penguin being hit by assassins sent to him because apparently he spray painted a wall that said “Penguin did this,” next to some dead bodies. Not suspicious at all. Anyway Penguin shoots and tortures his assassins, later accidentally killing one of them.

    We get stabbity stab moments this episode, police bluffing without bullets, some weird child who ends up being a hero, and Selina actually acting like a cat. And like not even just in the “This is my look so let me do some cat themed things,” way. I think she might actually think she’s a cat? Someone please tell me I’m wrong….Either way, this show reminded me quickly that some of the people I knew have died, and that Bruce is on the way to be Batman in the most roundabout way possible. Welcome back to Gotham.

    2. Slice and dice

    Speaking of reminders of the journey to Batman, we get some cameos here of characters that show up in one of the more famous stories of the end of Bruce’s life. If you guessed that the Mutants from “The Dark Knight Returns” would show up in the last season of this show, well you are clearly a clairvoyant. Selina and Bruce wade into the “Dark Zone” of Gotham City to try to find Jeremiah (who is apparently different than the other Joker guy) cause he almost killed Selina. They encounter the mutants in all their Frank Miller/Klaus Janson/Lynn Varley glory and its off to the races. When did these teens learn to fight this well?

    Selina takes on the biggest of the gang, which had just exploded a man and was beating bits of his corpse (cause this show), and then apparently is able to beat him down just like Old Man Bruce did in the comics. She almost kills him cause she’s a cat now and is scratching his face til he almost dies, but Bruce pulls her off of him. (Sidenote: Bruce is trying to talk low and growly in this episode like you’d think he would in the comics and it just sounds like David Mazouz is trying to do his best Christian Bale impression and it’s really funny). They continue off on their mission, the Bat and Cat teens together taking on crime.

    3. Penguins and slaves

    Meanwhile, Penguin tries to attack Gordon and the GCPD’s Haven to get the folks back that defected after Penguin was rude to them. Least that’s what he thinks. They probably also don’t want to be slaves anymore. Anyway, he takes over with the help of the gang who tried to kill him, and then they take over from him after he’s taken over Haven. Classic. Then Penguin and Gordon go all “enemy of my enemy is my friend” and bada bing bada boom everything is good (since Gordon’s kid friend helps out).

    Continued below

    The question that comes to mind watching all this unfold is: how are these two men are still in power at all? I remember watching the first couple seasons of this show and Gordon was a self-righteous asshole who wasn’t any better than the criminals, and Penguin was a weasel who had aspirations of glory. Clearly a lot has happened since then, but Gordon seems to be top good guy in Gotham, while Penguin appears to be the biggest crime lord in the city. They’re at the top of their game. People like them. Why? Who knows, but the more I think about it, it’s fitting that it seems this show began with them two and will end there, soon, with them as well.

    4. Russian Roulette with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

    Oh boy. None of y’all predicted that Selina was gonna be in a Russian Roulette circle with people dressed like they’re going door to door giving out Bibles all the while a Harley Quinn lookalike gets them to shoot at each other. But here we are, and that’s what happens. Again, gotta love that this show shows its cards to you, and that it gives you comicbookiness in live-action.

    Speaking of that, there’s something odd or offputting to me about seeing some of the insanities that seems less foreign in a comic, translated to the small screen like this. Theres’s at least a disconnect. It happens in this show when there’s the delving into the darker things and practices that happen in comics.  Most of those actions you can partially imply or show happening off-panel or from different perspectives in comics, which gives you the gravitas of the action without seeing the action. In television or movies you have to show everything up front, because that’s how things are better conveyed to the audience or viewer. It might just be me, and I might just be averse to seeing this show be goofy and gleeful, but I have a hard time doing anything other than shaking my head or cringing.

    5. Oh no this is still hell

    Alright so Selina is going full cat and striking out alone. She’s left Bruce handcuffed in enemy territory. So that’s not good. At least Gordon and Penguin could put aside their differences and save all the people of Haven. Even Barbara, who Harvey grabbed to help kill Penguin, was tampered by Gordon getting between her and Oswald when she showed up at the end. All is well on that fr…oh wait no the whole compound blew up. Classic. Well, I just met the people of Haven, and now I will probably never meet them again. Yikes. So much violence, so many reversals. Until next time then.

    That’s all folks for this week. Sound off in the comments below and check back in next Friday where another one of us will be forced to endure this.


    //TAGS | Gotham

    Kevin Gregory

    Host of the Make Mine Multiversity Marvel podcast, Kevin is a displaced Texan currently in graduate school at The University of Chicago Divinity School. Feel free to email him about history, philosophy, theology, and politics (you know all those things people want out of comics). He's on Twitter @kbgregory13.

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