Gotham: The Balloonman


By: Melissa Cavallo

Last week’s episode of Gotham opens with Oswald Cobblepot (AKA Penguin) coming back to town, even though Detective Gordon warned him against doing so. He looks around the neighborhood and sees about four crimes taking place within the three minutes that he had arrived and he knows he is home. The actor that portrays Cobblepot, Robin Lord Taylor, is such a good casting choice because he genuinely looks creepy with the way he smiles and talks; he looks like what I picture the young Penguin to be.

This episode follows the story of the vigilante called The Balloonman. He gets his exciting name from how he kills his targets: he handcuffs them to weather balloons and lets the balloon rise with them attached to it, and they eventually die from the cold as the balloon rises.

I have chosen to use the word vigilante to describe him because of the targets he chooses to kill. His first target is a con man named Ronald Danzer who has taken money from pensioners and is willing to pay off judges to not get a jail sentence. Because he was a known criminal, the station and Detective Bullock don’t really care about closing the case; however, Gordon does and wants to know who did it.

Gordon also works with Selina Kyle to get the information that she has as a witness to the Wayne murders. She tells him she saw the killer’s face for a second before he put on his mask. Gordon doesn’t believe her, but she tells him that the night of the murders, she stole someone’s wallet around the corner from the scene of the crime and dropped the wallet in the sewer. Gordon handcuffs her to the fire escape because he doesn’t trust her; he thinks she would try to escape while he goes down to the sewers to find the wallet. While he searches, Selina manages to pick the lock and leave Gordon just as he finds the wallet.

I really like Selina and the way Camren Bicondova plays her as a character. Even the way she stands and looks at others, she really looks like a little version of Michelle Pfeiffer. Actually, I think most of the casting is quite spot on: Bruce Wayne, the Riddler, … everyone really looks like how I would picture them at a young age.

Elsewhere, Detectives Montoya and Allen investigate the disappearance and supposed murder of Penguin and they go to Fish Mooney for some answers, even though she was the one that told Gordon to kill him (but of course she doesn’t tell them that). She uses her deceit to her advantage and tells the detectives that she heard Gordon killed him under Falcone’s orders.  The detectives then think they are onto a good lead and truly believe Fish’s words.

These two detectives are starting to get on my nerves. Gordon is the only true and honest cop in the department, and even though Montoya and Allen appear to also be doing the right thing, they really only get in Gordon’s way. But I’m guessing detective Montoya’s motives might be a little different than her partner’s. Anytime she finds out Gordon may be guilty of a crime, she runs to his fiancée Barbara and tells her about his supposed wrongdoing. Judging by the fact Montoya tried to kiss Barbara and still has a key to Barbara’s apartment, I’m pretty sure the two had a thing together in the past.

Meanwhile, The Balloonman targets a cop higher up in the department. As he’s about to get ballooned, the cop punches The Balloonman and grabs a piece of paper from his jacket. He gets distracted while reading it, gets handcuffed, and rises to his death. Now because one of their own has been killed, the department labels finding The Balloonman as a priority.

A third target is hit and it’s a well-known priest who has committed a lot of crimes against young people. Gordon and Bullock follow up on a lead that takes them to find out there were four weather balloons stolen, which means there is a fourth target. While following the lead, they discover that the weather balloons eventually pop and the bodies fall from the sky. When they search the body of the cop, they find the piece of paper that he took from The Balloonman. Gordon then realizes he knows who it is – when he to talked to Selina earlier in the episode, he had to sign a release for her to be put in his custody and gave it to a man named Davis Lamond.

With this piece of information, Gordon and Bullock go to the foster house where children from the streets were kept because Gordon believes that’s where Lamond would be. His theory proves to be right when they find the last balloon. Lamond doesn’t go down without a fight, though. He grabs Bullock and tries to kill him, but Gordon distracts him and Bullock manages to handcuff him to the balloon; however, Gordon doesn’t want Davis to die because he was killing people for the right reasons and feels they have failed the city with letting criminals be free. He then jumps and grabs Davis and Bullock has no other choice but to shoot the balloon before both Davis and Gordon die.

Penguin was been busy this episode not only in getting a job at one of the mob boss’ restaurants, but also in having a conversation with mobster Maroni in which Maroni paid him off. When Gordon goes home to Barbara, he tells her about what happened and how he feels responsible because he understands what Davis was trying to say – there are too much people in power that are corrupt and they don’t have Gotham’s interests at heart. While they are talking, there is a knock at the door and Barbara goes to open it. There at the door stands Penguin in a nicely brought suit and he says, “Hello James, old friend.”

I liked this episode because it didn’t introduce too many characters and it showed a fair bit of police work. I like the continued theme of the show, too: Gotham is very corrupt and Gordon believes that it is worth saving.

Even though he is bad, I really like Penguin at this moment, because I like the determination of his character. He literally got thrown out of Gotham but he believes it is his home and he will do anything to be in it. Penguin is a psychopath that would double-cross and kill anyone just because they might look at him wrong. He is definitely a major villain that Gordon will have to face but not defeat because obviously Batman will have to face him as well.

What did you think of this episode? Are you excited to see what episode four, titled “Arkham,” has in store for us?

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