Who knew that the been-there-done-that mayor storyline would end its first act on such a high note? The bromance between Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) has been one of the highlights of Gotham's story from the moment those two psychos met and serves as an effective reminder that for as awful as the plot itself can get, this series maintains fascinating interpersonal relationships between its characters — something that can really only help a series in the long run.

Gotham's monsters are, overwhelmingly, people. Just people. (That's why Batman > Superman in every possible incarnation.) Even those who barely resemble a human these days were created by and continue to be driven by largely human problems. Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) just wants to live. Yeah, yeah she wants an army of mind-controlling megalomaniacs to do super-villain stuff for her, but problemo numero uno, at this writing, is that her own super special monster powers are slowly killing her with every demonstration of their might. Fish wants to live. Jervis Tetch (Benedict Samuel) wants to bang his sister. Oswald Cobblepot wants to be loved.


<p>Cory Michael Smith and Robin Lord Taylor, <em>Gotham</em> </p>

Cory Michael Smith and Robin Lord Taylor, Gotham

More Batman properties than not embrace the plight of his Rogues as the terrible circumstances of gifted, flawed and largely unlucky people with damaged coping mechanisms. I'm delighted to see Gotham carrying that tradition onward, even as it continues to struggle with Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) being The Worst and, now, with Chief Barnes (Michael Chiklis) turning into a threat after wandering into a faceful of poor dead Alice Tetch's cursed blood.

I give you reason number 101,148 why the GCPD is hilariously incompetent: Knowing full well that Alice's blood was basically a bioweapon, and after such a grisly death, knowing that it could be anywhere in that creepy carnival facility, WHY WAS THAT SITE NOT GUARDED TO THE NINES BY PEOPLE IN HAZMAT SUITS, GETTING SCRUBBED DOWN IN A POP-UP CHEMICAL SHOWER BEFORE BEING ALLOWED BACK AMONG THE REST OF GOTHAM'S MISERABLE POPULATION?

I mean, really.

Gotham wants you to recycle

Whatever, I was so delighted by Oswald Cobblepot getting a Saturday morning cartoon lesson about having faith in yourself that I'm willing to overlook the Barnes thing until it rears its awful head at some predictably inconvenient time. "New Day Rising" also gave us a truce on the Jim/Lee/Mario love triangle front and a surprisingly sweet resolution to the Bruce/Fake Bruce/Selina drama. They are far from over, given that we've barely scratched the surface of Mario's (James Carpinello) mob connections and Fake Bruce was conveniently picked up by Bruce's nemesis on the board of directors/secret Court of Owls loony, to most likely be programmed in whatever crime against humanity popped up to replace Indian Hill.

Remember though, on Gotham, no one gets a happy ending, or even a bittersweet ending. Enjoy these good times while we have them, because another round of angst with a side order of angst is always just around the corner.

Gotham airs Monday nights at 9/8c on Fox.