This episode was reserved for cementing James Gordon’s status as a badass and building the bond between him and the GCPD. Gordon has had an initially shaky beginning with the GCPD, the fact that the Police Department are afraid to help him when he needs them was compounded by the fact that they left Gordon to face Zsasz alone last episode. You also cannot forget that there is a ton of corruption in the Gotham City Police, Gordon despises Police corruption, all of this adds up to a whole lot of mistrust.
This episode put down the groundwork for fixing this, it put Gordon in a position in which for once he is completely alone and on the back foot. Although he showed that he could hold his own independently in the last act he would’ve died had it not been for the GCPD’s arrival. He did manage to best the villain of the piece in a one on one fight, however he decided not to kill him and then immediately turned his back on him. I would argue that it was the Captain’s warning that alerted Gordon to the immanent danger behind him, making him able to spin around and drop the villain with a right hook.
As for Gordon’s badass credentials, this episode solidified Gordon’s action hero status. The scene that was particularly strong for these kinds of moments was the battle royale in the abandoned office block. The tiny, crowded battleground was filled with objects that could be used by combatants, the urban battleground vibe is something that really resonates with Batman fans. McKenzie carries off scenes of action really well, there were a number of brutal and visceral moments. If there is anything that sets Gotham apart from other crime dramas, except for its links to the DC Universe it is how well its fight scenes are choreographed. They all have a lot of intensity and excitement, there is a certain brutality to them. There are occasional moments in which it actually looks like an actor has connected with the punch.
Alfred Pennyworth is once again magnetic viewing, the brilliant Sean Pertwee brings an interesting new portrayal to the iconic character. I liked that this version of Alfred is pushing Bruce to be strong and fight back, it presents him as more of an influence on the creation of the Batman persona if he was the one that pushed Bruce to fight injustice. There were some excellent scenes on that side of the story this episode. David Mazouz’s acting was a little bit irritating this episode, however I was surprised by how well he sold those punches in the payback scene. The punches he threw looked the real deal, of course they aren’t the most technically sound, they aren’t supposed to be but there looked to be a lot of power behind those shots. Stunt men clearly worked with David for a long time to get the scene right and no doubt he enjoyed filming that moment which always adds something to fight sequences.