With last week’s Harvey-centric storyline through, I had been looking forward to this week’s episode of Gotham, “The Trial of Jim Gordon,” written and directed by Ben McKenzie and Erin Richards, respectively. It was the latter I was particularly excited about because this would be a new step in the career of an actress I had been following since the Fox comedy Breaking In.
“The Trial of Jim Gordon” opens on the GCPD as everyone makes preparations for a meeting with the gangs, hoping to arrange a ceasefire between the gangs and the police force, lest everyone run out of water. Lee argues with Gordon about going, saying that it’s too dangerous and that she doesn’t want to raise his baby with Barbara while he goes out to play hero. However, he wants to make sure there are people left when reunification happens. As the GCPD converges on this summit – which, at Gordon’s behest, is taking place in Penguin’s lair – Gordon tries to convey the importance of the ceasefire. Someone is about to step forward and agree when Gordon is shot. As Harvey and the others rush him back to the GCPD, Bruce is on a date with Selena where he talks about whether he should leave Gotham because of all the bad things that have happened in the city because of him. This almost harkens back to Batman Begins, where Nolan’s version of Gordon was talking about escalation. As Bruce continues talking, we see that Ivy is watching them eat their canned meal.
As Lee tries to save Gordon’s life, Gordon ends up having a nightmare that, in classic soap fashion, shows Gordon’s innermost fears and insecurities. Ivy makes herself known to Bruce and Selina, demanding that Bruce come with her and bring along the man whom Selena just so happened to have fought a few episodes back. I felt this scene was incredibly contrived, but it got the job done in making sure Bruce would carry out Ivy’s plan after she infects him. As Harvey gets a lead on who shot Gordon, the future commissioner’s trial continues, with the prosecutor – who is merely a projection of his guilt – rattling off a litany of his crimes. As the prosecutor calls Lee to the stand, Harvey gets a look at the bullets and figures out it was Zsasz, who is about to go after Gordon to finish the job. Thankfully, Alfred stops him. Meanwhile, Selena tries to reason with Ivy’s lackey; when that doesn’t work, she gets the drop on him and makes him tell her what Ivy has done with Bruce.
While Harvey questions Zsasz about the shooting and figures out he is under Ivy’s control, Alfred gives Lee a pep talk about being a mother figure to Gordon and Barbara’s child. Lee thanks Alfred and goes back to Gordon, whose trial continues, as the prosecutor questions Lee about her relationship with Gordon. It becomes clear that the captain himself is wondering that very same question. Gordon is quickly declared guilty. “The Trial of Jim Gordon” cuts back to Zsas, who is on the middle of being broken out of the GCPD by Ivy. Still under Ivy’s control, Bruce finds Lucius, who has made a filtration system to try to speed up unification. Bruce uses Ivy’s perfume to get Lucius to go along. We then rejoin Barbara at the Siren, where she is trying to do as Harvey asked in her own way. She poisons a bunch of gang members and tells them they won’t get the antidote unless they agree to a truce and brings her all of their guns. Barbara sells Penguin on the idea as a backup plan just in case Nygma’s submarine doesn’t work.
While Bruce and Lucius re-release all the toxins, Selena arrives to try to talk some sense into Bruce. Back at the GCPD, Harvey lets everyone know about Ivy as Zsasz comes back in, holding the precinct at gunpoint. Lee continues to get Gordon to wake up, but Gordon ends up watching his own wake and wonders how he can protect his child when he can’t protect everyone else. The boy from the Haven comes to him and says it’s time for him to go, just as he is crashing. Lee goes to grab the adrenaline when Ivy shows up, prepared to finish Gordon once and for all. Zsasz continues firing at the precinct, and Lee tries to fight Ivy off and ends up shooting her. Before Ivy staggers away, she breaks the adrenaline. Lee starts chest compressions. After Selena manages to snap Bruce out of Ivy’s thrall, they stop Lucius and reverse Ivy’s plan. Harvey manages to get Kevlar on and get the drop on Zsasz while Lee begs Gordon to fight as his death sentence is about to be carried out.
Gordon sees Lee again, this time carrying a baby. He tells her he’s unsure of whether he can handle being a father. Lee drops the baby, and Gordon’s begins to shout that he wants to live. Suddenly, he’s awake, holding Lee’s hand. He tells her he wants to ask her something, and then “The Trial of Jim Gordon” cut to the long-awaited wedding of Gordon and Lee before moving to Penguin and Barbara, the latter of whom truly looks crestfallen at the news of Gordon and Lee’s nuptials. As Penguin gives voice to all of Barbara’s insecurities, she vows that she will leave Gotham, even though Gordon will hunt her down.
For McKenzie’s final writing credit on Gotham, I have to say that “The Trial of Jim Gordon” could have been a little better. While there were great stories for List, Carrigan, Bruce, and Gordon, there were too many contrivances, from Ivy’s henchman to Alfred just showing up in Carrigan’s first scene to take him down. Despite this, Gordon’s scenes in “The Trial of Jim Gordon” were good, so I hope he continues writing in the future. I really enjoy Richards’ work behind the camera. The performances of Carrigan, List, Richards, and McKenzie were fantastic, and I’m impressed that she was able to perfectly match the tone of the show her first time out. I liked the performances in this episode, particularly Carrigan as Zsasz. Birds of Prey’s Chris Messina is gonna have his work cut out for him measuring up to Carrigan’s interpretation next year. I can’t wait to see what comes next when Bane and Walker go on the offensive in two weeks.