And it’s not even close.
Last night’s season four premiere was, for Gotham, oddly sedate. The reveal that the Penguin has taken over all crime in the city—and been issuing licenses to commit crimes—doesn’t even crack the top 20 of the show’s most bananas ideas. In fact, for Gotham City, it might be the best idea anyone has ever had: By controlling who gets to break to the law, Penguin has brought crime rates down to historic lows. The “Pax Penguina,” as Penguin smugly dubs it, is so effective that the mayor and the police commissioner and 99 percent of the GCPD wholeheartedly, albeit tacitly, support it.
Oh, also? These licenses don’t include the power to commit murder. So Penguin has lowered Gotham City’s insane murder rates to almost nothing, except for the few criminal gangs who are trying to operate outside his system and for those who his minion Zsasz are sent to convince to enter the fold.
There are two people in Gotham thst don’t support Penguin’s licenses. The first is Bruce Wayne, who even notes that if Penguin’s licenses had been around three years ago, his parents probably wouldn’t have been murdered. The other is Jim Gordon, because he’s irritated that people like Penguin’s effective plan more than the GCPD, who—as we have seen over the last three seasons—have never come close to being an effective deterrent against crime. So Gordon goads one of those few remaining gangs to attack the grand opening of Penguin’s new club, the Iceberg Lounge, specifically so he can stop them and show people the GCPD can stop crimes, too.
Let me reiterate: In hopes of ending Gotham’s historically low crime rates, Jim Gordon sends murderous thugs to a crowded club opening full of god knows how many innocent people. He sets a crime in motion solely to give himself a chance to look good at stopping crime.
Because he’s beaten up by fellow police officers who know he’s being an imbecile, Gordon arrives too late to stop the gang. Penguin stops them. At least until Poison Ivy turns off some of the club lights and the very mild darkness allows the gang to break free, shooting Penguin in the face with Scarecrow’s dad’s fear toxin, which gives Jim and Bullock their chance to punch them in the face.
Of course, the next day a terrified Penguin is on the cover of Gotham’s newspaper, which will undoubtedly cause everyone to lose faith in Penguin’s control of crime, thus ending his licenses, and returning Gotham City’s crime rates to normal, which is like eight crimes committed every second.
Dammit, I love this show.