Gotham: The Spirit of the Goat (1×06)
Synopsis: Bullock takes center stage in this episode after a ghost from his past comes back to terrorize Gotham. Jim has other problems to deal with, however, as Montoya and Allen tighten the noose. And Cobblepott? Well, he’s going to throw a wrench into everything by the end o the episode.
This week we got to explore a little bit more of the history of Gotham and the backstory of one character in particular – Donal Logue’s Harvey Bullock. One of the main reasons I watch this show is Donal Logue. His Harvey Bullock is hilarious and he makes the show enjoyable. Sure, he’s not exactly the best cop in the city. But this episode takes a little bit of time to really give us some insight into why Harvey is, well, Harvey.
The whole episode starts up with a flashback to an earlier time in Harvey’s career. He’s working as as a detective with his partner, Dix, as they investigate a series of murders by a serial killer called ‘The Spirit of the Goat.” He’s been going around abducting, posing, and murdering the firstborn children of Gotham’s elite families. They pull up hoping to save the latest victim. Well, at last Harvey has that in mind. The whole thing seems a bit familiar. Dix is practical and not at all gung-ho. Meanwhile Harvey is biting at the bit to save the day. Instead of waiting for back up he rushes in only to find the girl dead. But as luck would have it the killer has stuck around and even though Dix gets hurt, Harvey manages to kill the guy.
Fast forward ten years and things have taken a real turn for the worst. We find Harvey on an overpass looking up at a murdered woman whose been abducted, staged, and murdered. Edward Nygma is there rattling off facts and Harvey wants nothing to do with his shenanigans. Because he’s already solved this case and he put the killer in the ground. This shouldn’t be happening.
Of course, while Harvey is dealing with all of this Jim is trying to pull his relationship with Barbara back together which at least, you know, he seems to manage to do. (She just doesn’t realize what she’s getting in to by demanding he trust her more and bring her in on what’s going on. Oh, Barbara…)
But c’mon, Jim. Harvey deals with your crap all the time. Why weren’t you there for him?
Jim shows up but things stay Bullock’s show. It’s nice to see the guy be a real cop for once. He’s so connected to this case that I guess he just has to make sure it gets closed again and hopefully for good. For the longest time they seem to labor under the impression that this is a copycat killer – or copy-goat as they keep saying – but then something else pops up. Turns out that during the first series of murders the cops held back a piece of evidence from the press. The original killer used to sew a particular type of penny into the heads of the victims. And guess what. This killer does, too.
Harvey kinda freaks out and starts saying it’s not a copycat but the same killer. Even though he killed the man that comes to mind and perhaps if this were the comics’ Gotham that wouldn’t be unreasonable. But so far people aren’t coming back from the dead. At least, not yet. Not like that.
They go to talk to Dix, Harvey’s old partner and it’s a really great scene. It shows us yet another side to Harvey. While talking to Jim, Dix warns him about Harvey’s tendency to have something of a white knight complex which Jim obviously can’t believe. But Dix apparently labors under that assumption that his old partner is just who he used to be. Which isn’t surprising. It turns out that Harvey is taking care of him, paying for his care, and also sending him girly mags which, you know, the latter is totally Harvey but the rest? It’s nice to see that side of him again. It’s nice to see that he cares. We saw it a bit in the pilot when he was trying to explain to Jim how things worked and that he had to play by the books because he didn’t want to have to kill him.
Throughout all of this, there’s a bit of a fear that’s risen up among the elite in Gotham. The Goat only goes after the firstborns so, predictably, quite a number of them start taking off for holiday properties and the like. Except, you know, Bruce Wayne who sees no reason to run because he has no family to miss him if he was murdered anyway. Of course, then he goes and leaves a window to his mansion open through which Selina Kyle comes through briefly. I don’t know if it’s because he’s unhealthily self destructive or we just needed out weekly reminder that these characters exist.
While investigating the elite, Harvey and Jim meet up with Dr. Marks, a psychiatrist who treats the Gotham elite. She also apparently does a lot of pro bono work with the poor of Gotham. She might seem unremarkable but as it turns out she’s actually important. See, fast forward a bit into the episode and our boys manage to catch the new Spirit of the Goat back at the same place where Harvey shot the first one. It turns out to be pretty shady when Harvey recognizes that the perp has a few unusual tics. He puts two and two together, recognizes the behavior as something to do with hypnotism – a practice of the formerly presumed to be good Dr. Marks, and he goes to confront her.
Because, you know, that’s apparently what you do with someone who has tried to systematically take out Gotham’s elite one at a time through some creepy, psychotic mythos she’s developed. She seems to think she’s some kind of vigilante in her own right and the whole episode sort of harkens back to the Balloon Man. It’s another series of vigilantes doing the wrong thing as opposed to the future of Gotham where – for the most part – the vigilantes learn to live by a code of conduct.
The episode follows up with a few other storylines as well.
The MCU finds a witness at the docks who saw Jim presumably shoot Cobblepott. Montoya tips off Barbara that shit’s about to go down and at the conclusion of the case she begs Jim to run away with her until things can be sorted out. But, of course, Jim isn’t going to run and he’s arrested. Some how Cobblepott – who has been reuniting with his mother – finds out about it and shows up at the last minute to keep him out of the clink.
Except, you know, he’s supposed to be dead. So Bullock gets pissed off at Jim for keeping that from him and shit will hit the fan next episode. No, seriously, check out the promo for next week. It’s intense.
But before you do that let’s take like two seconds talk about the weirdest, most unnecessary part of this episode: Edward Nygma’s stalking of some file girl. Like, seriously. I don’t know what the hell was going on but it was awkward. I mean, it was kind of adorable but… also kind of stalkerish. I’m not sure what the point of her character was or why we really needed multiple scenes with Ed chasing after her. His time will come, Gotham. Stop trying to force it and stop trying to rush into it.
Anyway. That bothered me. You know what doesn’t bother me?
VICTOR ZSASZ IN THE NEXT EPISODE. I AM SO PUMPED.