|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Dermott Downs|
|Written by||John Stephens|
|Original air date||October 6, 2014|
"The Balloonman" is the third episode of the television series Gotham. It premiered on FOX on October 6, 2014 and was written by John Stephens and directed by Dermott Downs. In the episode, detectives Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bullock (Donal Logue) track down a vigilante who is killing corrupt Gotham citizens by attaching them to weather balloons. Meanwhile, Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) returns to Gotham and gets a new job close to an influential figure in the underworld.
The episode was watched by 6.36 million viewers but received mixed reviews, with criticism aimed at the pace.
Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) returns to Gotham City. A breaking news report on a nearby TV reports that a businessman Ronald Danzer (Jack Koenig), is out on bail awaiting trial for a Ponzi scheme bilked a half a billion dollars. He tries to escape when he is intercepted outside the building by a man with a pig mask. The man ties Danzer to a weather balloon and Danzer floats in the sky.
As Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bullock (Donal Logue) investigates the "Balloonman" case (where he kills corrupt citizens), Gordon works with Selina (Camren Bicondova) to solve the Waynes' killer. He takes her to the alley but Selina begins to give no good details in the information. When she reveals she stole a man's wallet before going to the alley and recalling when the man reported it, she says the wallet fell in the sewers. Gordon handcuffs her and goes down the sewers to look for the wallet. He finds it but Selina frees herself and flees.
Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) is questioned by Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) and Allen (Andrew Stewart-Jones) about Cobblepot's whereabouts. She suggests it was Gordon who killed him, which makes them realize it was Falcone (John Doman) who ordered the hit. While practicing fencing with Alfred (Sean Pertwee), Bruce (David Mazouz) decides to lead his own investigation of the murder of his parents.
Cobblepot gets a job at Bamonte's Restaurant as a dishwasher under the alias of Paolo, after having killed one of the employees. He is surprised when he sees Mob Boss Salvatore Maroni (David Zayas) using the restaurant as a base of operations for his businesses. Maroni notices him and befriends him as Maroni sees Cobblepott as a younger version of himself. Lt. Bill Cranston (James Colby) is the next victim of the Balloonman. Barbara (Erin Richards) is visited by Montoya, both were lovers in the past. Montoya tries to tell Barbara of Gordon's involvement in Cobblepot's disappearance but she denies it.
Gordon and Bullock arrest Carl Smikers, the manufacturer of the balloons for questioning. They realize Davis Lamond (Dan Bakkedahl) is the Balloonman and they get orders to arrest him. Arriving at a facility, Gordon and Bullock ambush him. However, Lamond holds Bullock at gunpoint, confessing to having become The Balloonman to stop the corruption at the city. After a battle in which Gordon and Lamond fly in the weather balloon, Bullock shoots the balloon and both fall. Lamond is then arrested.
Bruce and Alfred watch the arrest of Lamond with Alfred praising The Balloonman's actions, but Bruce says that as he killed people, he's a criminal as well. In the Gordon's Penthouse, Barbara opens the door to reveal Cobblepot outside, asking for Gordon.
The pilot was watched by 6.36 million viewers, with a 2.5 rating among 18-49 adults. With Live+7 DVR viewing factored in, the episode had an overall rating of 10.88 million viewers, and a 4.5 in the 18–49 demographic.
|The A.V. Club||C-|
|New York Magazine|||
"The Balloonman" was generally well received by critics. The episode received a rating of 60% on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes based on 24 reviews, with the site's consensus stating: "The shakiest episode of Gotham so far, 'The Balloonman' is tonally inconsistent but benefits from a welcome dose of pitch-black humor."
Matt Fowler of IGN gave the episode a "good" 7.2 out of 10 and wrote in his verdict, "'The Balloonman' was okay, but the more and more Gotham is shown as a cesspool from every perceivable angle, the harder it is to care about anything or anyone. It might be why the villains already represent the most interesting parts of the show. All Gordon can do right now is intensely nag and then try to solve cases no one wants solved. And even though the show never skips a moment to foreshadow things to come (on a show that we'll never see), it's weird to think that by the time Batman hits the scene, he may not even seem like a big deal. The city's already escalating things and going nuts way ahead of schedule."
The A.V. Club's Oliver Sava gave the episode a "C-" grade and wrote, "Remember last week's cliffhanger with Selina Kyle telling Gordon that she knew who really killed the Waynes? Tonight's episode starts to follow-up on that dangling thread before literally taking a detour through shit, and then Selina disappears for the rest of the story. That's not necessarily a bad thing because Camren Bicondova isn't the strongest actor, but it's frustrating from a plot perspective. Gordon takes Selina back to Crime Alley, then immediately starts wondering why he should believe her instead of getting information he could use to track down the Waynes' killer. I'm no expert on police procedure, so maybe it's regular practice to make sure a witness was actually at the scene before getting information, but it all feels like a way to delay the resolution of last week's cliffhanger for a few more weeks. The Wayne murder investigation is the driving force of this show's narrative, but the baby steps taken in this episode make that essential aspect of the story feel like an afterthought."
- Bibel, Sara (October 16, 2014). "Revised Monday, October 6 Final Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory', 'The Voice', 'Scorpion', 'NCIS: Los Angeles' Adjusted Up; 'Dancing With The Stars' & 'Castle' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
- Bibel, Sara (October 27, 2014). "'How to Get Away With Murder' and 'Modern Family' Have Biggest Adults 18-49 Ratings Increase; 'Red Band Society' Tops Percentage Gains & 'The Blacklist' Tops Viewer Gains in Live +7 Ratings for Week Ending October 12". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
- "The Balloonman". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
- Sava, Oliver. "Gotham gets its first vigilante: The Balloonman. Feel free to laugh". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
- "Gotham Review: "The Balloonman"". pastemagazine.com.
- "Gotham". TV Fanatic.
- Fowler, Matt (October 6, 2014). "Gotham: "The Balloonman" Review". IGN. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
- "Gotham Recap: Up, Up, and Away". Vulture.