The most recent episode of Gotham, "Penguin's Umbrella," has been widely hailed as the best of the series thus far. Which may be faint praise depending on who you talk to. The episode revealed that Oswald "The Penguin" Cobblepot and Carmine Falcone have formed an alliance. Basically, Cobblepot has secretly been working with Falcone almost the entire time. Wait, how does that work? They devised a plan to have Gordon not-shoot Cobblepot so he could fake his death, go off the grid, and then reemerge as a double agent for the other major crime boss in Gotham, Sal Maroni. Does this reveal make much sense? No. Has the show earned these plot acrobatics? No. But, is it fun? Hell yes. The show has finally stepped up its game with this new plot line. But what does this alliance between Penguin and Falcone mean for Gotham?
What's most interesting about this alliance is how different Falcone and Cobblepot are as criminals. Falcone is a more altruistic crime boss. In his mind, his scheming is a means to benefit everyone, even though he is playing several sides against one another. Cobblepot still isn't the Penguin we are used to seeing. At this point he is an opportunistic snitch who lusts for power and only tells people what he thinks will gain him more leverage. He's becoming more and more dangerous as the show goes on. The first season is very clearly about Penguin's rise to power. As this alliance continues and Penguin gains more leverage, things will only get worse for Gotham. But most importantly, this alliance makes Fish Mooney's downfall inevitable.
I've ragged on the show before about its contradictory tone, but last week's episode found a good combination of wannabe 1970s crime drama darkness and campy fun. Mooney is, obviously, wonderfully campy. Jada Pinkett Smith's performance and wardrobe are a blast to watch in action. But the future doesn't look to bright for her. Penguin already had a hand in knocking off Nikola, who had become Mooney's right hand man. And thanks to Penguin, Falcone knows for certain Mooney is trying to overthrow him. Of course, she won't go down without a fight.
For Gordon, Penguin's return is a double-edged sword. Fellow detectives Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen think he's trustworthy now that they know he didn't kill Penguin. But Penguin's violence will only keep escalating in kind with his lust for power. How will Gordon be able to live with knowing he had a hand in this gangster's rise to power? Penguin's power grab will no doubt create more murder cases for Gordon and his partner, Harvey Bullock.
In an interview with Glamour, Robin Lord Taylor, who plays Penguin, hinted at what's to come thanks to the reveal of his alliance with Falcone. "He's not afraid of Fish anymore. He's got all of his ducks lined up in a row and he's ready to make his move. But Fish is there and he's got his eyes set on what she has. He's comin' for her," he said.
It's only a matter of time before Penguin completely destabilizes Mooney's place in the criminal food chain. Knowing how shady Penguin is, he will probably double-cross Falcone soon after. While this alliance isn't great for the city of Gotham, it is definitely doing wonders for the show.
Images: Jessica Miglio/FOX; Giphy