I really didn’t think we’d be getting an episode like this so early in Gotham. “Penguin’s Umbrella” is easily season finale (or at least mid-season finale) material both in content and in quality, and its placement only seven episodes into the fledgling series hopefully means we’ve got a whole lot of great story, action, and character in store for the weeks ahead! The episode finally shows us the extent of Penguin’s manipulation throughout the series so far (his “umbrella” of influence, in a clever bit of titling), and without spoiling anything, it appears that he’s been even more clever than we could have imagined. We also get to see Montoya and Allen accept Jim at last, since he’s finally cleared of the crime they persecuted him for, and we get our first look at the downright terrifying Victor Zsasz.
Played excellently by Anthony Carrigan, Gotham‘s Zsasz is much more restrained than we’ve previously seen the character, but there’s plenty of room for him to devolve into the unchained serial killer that Batman fans are more familiar with (particularly once Penguin gets control of the Iceberg Lounge, given Zsasz’s infamous encounter there.)
As always, Robin Lord Taylor steals the show as Penguin, and this episode gives him ample time to shine. His speech to Maroni’s right hand man and his chat with Falcone at the end of the episode in particular are high points for the Penguin as a character (and Taylor’s acting as well!) and I hope we get plenty more of him in the rest of the season, and potentially in seasons to come. If this is where we’re at in Gotham before even the first season’s midpoint, then there’s surely a lot more excitement in store!