TV Review: Gotham - Season 1 Episode 16 "The Blind Fortune Teller"
Episode 16: "The Blind Fortune Teller"
Synopsis: Gordon takes Dr. Leslie Thompkins to the circus, but the day turns quickly when the circus comes under attack. Then, Falcone enlists Butch Gilzean to help Penguin with the night club, while Fish Mooney is otherwise occupied. Also, Bruce Wayne schedules a meeting with the Wayne Enterprises board.
Recap: GOTHAM had a lot on it's plate this week including updates on Bruce Wayne, Selina Kyle, Oswald Cobblepot, Barbara Kean, Fish Mooney, Ivy Pepper, and of course Jim Gordon. With a brief montage of scenes catching up with the various characters, we get to see Gordon and Dr. Thompkins on thier date at the circus where they are amazed by The Flying Graysons. As the acrobats take their bow, a clown car drives into the center ring. A clown emerges and cracks a bottle over the head of one of the acrobats which prompts Gordon to step in.
Gordon and Thompkins learn of a family feud between the Graysons and the Lloyds, the uncle of one of the girls, Lyla, prompting the attack. Going to meet the snake dancer, Gordon and Thompkins meet Jerome, Lyla's son. The ringmaster hints that Lyla is a "party girl" but she didn't take any of her belongings with her. Gordon has Jerome set Lyla's snake free and they follow it to a truck where they find her corpse. The ringmaster knew about her body and shows Gordon where they found her, saying them were going to bury her after the performance that night. Gordon takes them into custody.
Questioning Jerome, Gordon learns that his mother slept with a member of the Lloyd and the Grayson families but he defends her as an imperfect person with cold comments about how sex is a healthy human behavior. Lloyd accuses the Grayson he attacked of killing Lyla and vice versa. Their feud dates back to before World War I. The younger Grayson and Lloyd, a couple, argue about how either of their relatives could have been the killer and why or why not to the chagrin of the GCPD officers.
The Captain is impressed by Gordon's use of the snake but less so that his prime suspects are a clown and an acrobat. Edward Nygma arrives with the added news that Lyla was killed by blunt force with a hatchet or another weapon. The time of death rules out booth Grayson and Lloyd but they keep them locked up until they get more on the murder. Thompkins invites Gordon over for dinner that night so they can finish their date when an old blind man arrives asking for the detective. He recognizes Dr. Thompkins and unveils himself as Paul Cicero, a psychic with the sideshow and an old friend of the deceased. He offers to share the message Lyla sent him "from the other side". While Gordon doesn't believe, Thompkins asks for the message which is "a servant of the Devil lies in the garden of the Iron Sisters".
Continuing their date, Jim enjoys Leslie's cooking but she has an epiphany about the fortune teller's riddle which she believes is about a park near Arkham Bridge. The two argue about the merits of psychics and unexplainable phenomena. Jim concedes that they can go check it out the next day, but Thompkins wants to get going right then and there. Under the bridge, Leslie calls out Jim for wanting a strong woman but not wanting her out there with him. Once again, he accepts her logic. As they look at the base of the bridge, they find a bloody hatchet with The Hellfire Club acronym in the handle. Jim calls his Sargeant to pick up some suspects.
At the GCPD, Gordon admits to Thompkins that he was a hypocrite and brings her into the first holding cell where Paul Cicero is held. Gordon explains they solved Lyla's message and found the hatchet which also makes Cicero an accessory to murder having planted the weapon. Gordon tries to indicate that Cicero planted it to protect someone close. He then brings Jerome in which forces Cicero to flinch. Gordon then accuses Jerome of killing his mother and assumes Cicero is his father. Jerome plays dumb saying his father was a sea captain but doesn't have any details. Gordon wants to give a DNA test and Cicero admits he is Jerome's father. Jerome starts to cry but begins to laugh, turning his creepy gaze and revealing a cold, hard enter. He admits that he killed his mother for being nagging and maniacally laughs. After, Thompkins and Gordon discuss the thrill of solving the case. She suggests they go home and the two kiss as Barbara Kean walks in and sees them. The two reconciled circus performers come to thank Gordon for letting their families come together and they jokingly say they will name their son Gordon. Bullock sees a smile on Gordon's face and deduces he got laid the night before.
At Oswald's, Penguin's mother performs on stage to a bored audience. When one of them dares to boo, Penguin quickly takes the guy out with a broken bottle and a spurt of blood. The next day, while the club is empty, Oswald plays piano. Another time, Oswald watches a woman play piano as Victor Zsasz arrives with a message that Falcone believes Penguin is failing and doesn't know how to run a club. Zsasz then whistles and when Penguin turns, there stand's Butch. Zsasz says he is harmless after having worked on Butch in his basement for a while. Penguin is worried, but says Butch will do anything Penguin asks and demonstrates by making him dance.
In the underground prison, Fish rallies her fellow prisoners to rise up against their captors from using them as human transplant donors. She doesn't promise to save them all but only some and delivers a rousing speech about family. The next morning, Fish prepares the prisoners when the guards arrive and demand one of them by number. Instead, Fish steps up and says she needs to talk with them. She offers the man they asked for in exchange for water, blankets, fruit, and magazines. When the guard refuses, she signals to her felllow inmates to kill the man, rendering him useless to the guards. The head guard says The Manager will be unhappy with her but Fish demands he come down to see her. When the guards return, they reveal The Manager accepts Fish's deal. She asks the guards name, which happens to be Thomas Schmidt. She then goes to meet The Manager.
At Wayne Manor, Alfred confirms Bruce's meeting with the board the next day. Alfred tells his ward he thinks it is a bad and dangerous idea but Bruce says his mind is made up. As he meets with the board, young Bruce is greeted warmly by the executives. That is until he asks about their involvement with underground elements of Gotham City and their manufacture of chemical weapons. The board goes cold. Bruce shares his deductions of Wayne Enterprises illegal activities, but the board denies them as rumors.
Review: Whether or not Jerome turns out to be The Joker, this was a disappointingly cliche introduction for the character. As far as episodes go, this is the first one to completely waste The Penguin who has proven to be the most interesting element of the story. Fish Mooney's stint in the prison chugs along but seems to be building to something significant despite the slow build feeling half-assed. The showrunners seem to feel that they have to drop Batman hints every week, leading to the introduction of a Romeo and Juliet origin for Robin's parents, The Graysons. The entire circus storyline this week felt concocted just to give Gordon and Thompkins a romantic development that itself felt pretty forced. The brief scenes featuring Bruce Wayne confronting the Wayne Enterprises board felt tacked on, just like the Barbara Kean and Penguin scenes. Sixteen episodes in and the writers still cannot balance all of their various storylines in a single episode.
Next Episode: "Red Hood" airs February 23rd: Following several bank robberies, Gordon and Bullock investigate the Red Hood gang. Selina Kyle continues to bond with Barbara, and Fish Mooney tries to reclaim her position in the underworld.