The past laid out before Bullock’s present

Ten years ago, Harvey Bullock was a bright eyed detective with aspirations of cleaning up the slowly decaying streets of his fair city. A lot can happen in ten years’ time. Our lens into the past shows Bullock and his former partner, a grizzled, disillusioned veteran by the name of Dicks, following up on the case of the Goat—aka, Randle Milkie. The murderer has abducted and killed three people and the detectives have finally trapped the lunatic. As they enter the house, Dicks reminds his earnest partner of “Gotham’s golden rule…no heroes.” A past reflection of the current golden boy, Jim Gordon, this Bullock charges into the house despite his partner’s warnings and intent on saving the latest victim. They find her too late though the Goat’s not able to escape. The ensuing fight ends with Dicks injured and Bullock putting an end to the Goat’s legacy once and for all…

..until he finds himself, ten years later, starting at a dead body that showcases the ritualistic MO as the previous Goat murders. The latest victim is Amanda Hastings, firstborn of the prominent Hastings family. He’s unable to get in touch with Gordon, who’s dealing with his own crisis. The young detective is hashing things out with Barbara Kean, who refuses to be kept in the dark. Gordon admits to being in over his head and desperately trying to protect his fiancée. “I came here to be a cop,” he tells her. “This city needs something else.” His dire mood doesn’t deter Barbara and she demands that he give her “half of what you carry.” He agrees to tell her everything and finally touches base with Bullock, who catches him up to speed on the Hastings murder. They pay a visit to victim’s parents who are both in a bad way. The family therapist, Dr. Marks, is cooperative during the questioning but admits the parents aren’t in the right frame of mind to deal with the tragedy. For his part, Bullock scoffs at the notion that anyone would be ready for something so shattering and dismisses Marks’s solution to provide her patients with a way of dealing but not dealing with the situation.

Throughout the investigation, there are small but somewhat useless filler scenes. Edward Nygma gets his biggest amount of screen time yet as he assists with the forensics side of things while also alienating Kristen Kringle, a file clerk he has a serious crush on. The ever maturing Bruce Wayne has a scene where he dismisses Alfred’s suggestion to leave the city for a bit—later getting a visit from Selina Kyle, who takes in Bruce’s wall of evidence. The only bit scene that truly carries weight, however, is Oswald Cobblepot’s interactions with his kooky mother. Though he tells a bit of a fib about being involved in illegal activity, he resolves to “be somebody in this town” and admits to having a friend, someone he can trust. A detective.

Back to the primary storyline, Bullock and Gordon are present at the autopsy when the former correctly guesses about an 1813 Liberty penny inserted into the victim’s neck. It’s consistent with the previous Goat killings, a curious thing since the information was never released. Bullock knows they have to pay a visit to Dicks, who’s confined to a wheelchair after his run-in with the first Goat. He confirms never spilling the secret of the penny to anyone and tells the detectives that they don’t have copycat killer but “a conspiracy”. After Bullock exits the room, Dicks comments to Gordon on his partner’s “loose cannon” ways, a sentiment Gordon doesn’t seen in the cynical Bullock. But there’s no time to dally on Bullock’s nature when a second woman is kidnapped. When they discover there were no signs of forced entry, thoughts lead to any maintenance workers who may have had keys to the house. A bit of digging points to Raymond Earle, a maintenance man whose last known squatting address just happened to be the same house the original Goat used for his final murder. The two detectives enter the premises moments before the Goat administers the coup de grace on his latest victim and, after a lackluster tussle, the two men apprehend the Goat killer.

Cobblepot bares his future and intentions to dear old mommy

Suspect caught, Gordon, Bullock and Captain Essen watch the unspeaking killer. He refuses to speak and, despite a history of mental illness, he never exhibited psychotic behavior,
oddly similar to Randle Milkie, the original Goat. Gordon returns home while Bullock remains at the station, watching the nearly comatose Earle. And then he wakes up, confused to his surroundings and squeezing his hand, a nervous trait shared by none other than Mr. Hastings, father of the new Goat’s first victim. Gordon doesn’t get word on this as he returns home to Barbara packing up. She tells him about her conversation with Montoya and how MCU will be knocking on his door with an arrest warrant soon enough. That “soon” comes two minutes later when Montoya and Allen show up and put the cuffs on Gordon for the murder of one Oswald Cobblepot.

Showing off his detective skills, Bullock confronts Dr. Marks about her hypnotherapy and coping anchors she teaches her patients. Seems that Earle and Milkie were both patients of the good doctor and she blatantly admits to transforming these men into killers as “an act of therapy for Gotham.” The woman’s crazier than a bag of cats, triggering Mr. Hastings to kill Bullock. The detective’s able to fight off the hypnotized man before taking down the crazy doctor. Case closed.

Except it’s not. Both he and the Captain are thrown for a loop when MCU arrives with a handcuffed Gordon. It gets even worse when they slap the irons on Bullock but no one in the room is ready for the biggest of all surprises. An alive and well Oswald Cobblepot lurching into the station with a dapper suit and knowing smile firmly in place.

Riddle Me This…

  • As hinted above, there was quite a bit of filler material present in this episode. Nearly all of Edward Nygma’s screentime was unnecessary and boring. No offense to Cory Michael Smith, whose portrayal is serviceable with plenty of opportunity to grow, but the writers have yet to do anything captivating with a very well respected character. True, these assertions may be unfairly comparing Nygma’s bland role thus far with the captivating performance of Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot, but we can only go with what we’ve been shown and, thus far, that hasn’t been much as it pertains to Nygma. Though, admittedly, the mug with the question mark, along with the goofy smirk was a nice touch.
  • Speaking of Cobblepot, his minor role in the episode was a reminder as to just how much the show depends upon his depth and portrayal to keep the villain train running. The scene where he confides in his mother about his new friend, a man he can trust—a cop—was very well done and a further examination into Cobblepot’s twisted psyche.
  • We could talk about the unnecessary appearances of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, but let’s instead return to one of the more interesting aspects of ‘Spirit of the Goat’…
  • …A younger, more hopeful Harvey Bullock. Though it has always been clear Bullock’s time on the streets of Gotham have colored his opinions on the city, on hope, and on what needs to be done, seeing the version of him that so closely aligns with his current partner, Jim Gordon, added another layer to his already complex persona.